NHMRC provides national leadership on the ethical, humane and responsible care and use of animals in research. We have developed the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the code), and help researchers comply with the Code by providing a variety of other guidance.
We acknowledge that the use of animals in research raises important ethical questions, and we are committed to ensuring that all animals used in research we fund are used ethically and humanely.
Any research we fund that involves the use of animals must be scientifically valid, and reviewed and approved by an animal ethics committee before it begins. It must also be conducted in accordance with relevant legislation, the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (the Code) and other relevant NHMRC animal welfare guidelines. These requirements apply to any institution and researcher that receives NHMRC funding, as part of the funding agreement between the institution and NHMRC.
What NHMRC requires
- All applications for NHMRC funding are subject to rigorous peer review of their scientific merit. We do not fund research involving animals unless the work is of high quality and significance.
- All research we fund that involves animals must be reviewed and approved by an animal ethics committee (AEC) before the work begins. Read the Relationship between NHMRC peer review and ethical review by institutional ethics committees (available below) for more information.
- Our funding agreements require the conduct of research to comply with Commonwealth and state and territory legislation, the Code and relevant NHMRC standards and guidelines.
- Under the Code:
- Researchers must obtain approval from an AEC before the research can begin.
- In all cases, the researcher must justify the use of the animals to the AEC.
- At all stages during the planning, ethical review and conduct of a project, consideration must be given to the 3Rs - Replacement of animals with other methods, Reduction of the number of animals used, and Refinement of methods used to minimise any adverse effects on the animals and enhance their wellbeing.
- Researchers must strive to ensure that the use of animals in research is justified and continues to be relevant and useful to humans and that alternatives to the use of animals are adopted wherever possible.