Investigators have personal responsibility for all matters that relate to the wellbeing of animals that they use, including their housing, husbandry and care. This responsibility extends throughout the period of use approved by the AEC until provisions are made for the animal at the conclusion of their use' [Animal Code 2.4.1].

Ethics approval must be obtained before any work can commence (Animal Code, 1.32 (ii)). Retrospective approvals cannot be granted.

Below are some useful links and information on the application process.

Sign in to IRMA

Application process

Plan ahead

Consider ethics as part of the design and implementation of the project or activity. Allow 6-8 weeks for all new applications. Plan well to facilitate efficient approvals.

Seek advice

Read the Animal Code and all relevant Murdoch University policies and procedures on Legislation and links before proceeding.

Complete the online module to obtain your animal ethics certification, as a prerequisite to the Animal Care and Ethics workshop, which is necessary before any animal work may commence.​​​​​​​


The application is now made online via IRMA. A step-by-step submission guide is above. All forms must be submitted by the document deadline.

The Chief Investigator must be a Murdoch University staff member who is able to take ultimate responsibility for the project or activity.

Ethics review and approval

The Chief Investigator and the research team will receive a response following the AEC meeting. Once the ethics approval is obtained, your research can begin, and full funding may be released.

The care and use of animals must be conducted as outlined in the application and AEC-approved conditions. Changes or amendments must be approved before they are implemented.

Approval is usually granted for 3 calendar years for research applications and 4-5 years for teaching applications, conditional on the submission and approval of the Annual Report.​​​​​​​

Your animal ethics permit, with its allocated unique identification number, must be:

  • displayed wherever animals are used for scientific purposes e.g. in the laboratory;
  • carried in the field e.g. in the car or boat; and/or
  • used in all correspondence related to that permit.

What makes a good application?

These tips, informed by the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (Animal Code) guide staff and students through the Murdoch University animal ethics application. Writing a good application balances adequate substance with succinct detail for a diverse Animal Ethics Committee (AEC).

A good application assists with efficient approval and should:

  • explain the expected value of the knowledge to be obtained;
  • address all ethical and animal welfare aspects; and
  • demonstrate consideration of the 3 R's.

A good application also considers the following:​​​​​​​

  • Audience: The AEC is diverse with lay and scientific members. Write your application in plain English. Avoid the use of scientific language, jargon, and acronyms.
  • Succinct, self-explanatory, and sufficient: Include everything necessary to assess your application - evidence of your competence and experience to assess animal wellbeing, justification of animal use. Illustrations, figures, diagrams, and charts can be uploaded on IRMA.
  • Professionalism: Formal documents and letters on Murdoch letterhead must be professional - no typographical errors or grammatical mistakes. Proofread your application. Seek help if English is not your first language.

Other considerations

Have you considered these other aspects in your application?

  • Animal ethics certification via the online module
  • Other permits and licences
  • Activities of special ethical concern
  • Statistical evaluation
  • Animal requirements
  • Cadavers and animal tissue
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
  • Use of privately owned animals
  • Collaborative projects or activities
  • Trapping and netting in wildlife projects
  • Observational studies.

Cadaver and tissue notification

The use of cadavers and animal tissues helps Murdoch University's developing record of efforts to reduce the use of live animals. The AEC's central concern in the use of cadavers or tissue samples is their provenance.

Where animals are obtained as cadavers or where only animal tissue samples are obtained from third parties (for example, samples from abattoirs, tissues from another use, fish frames from fishers), investigators must notify the AEC as part of their animal ethics application via the  Cadaver and Tissue Notification Form in IRMA before the use of the cadaver or tissue samples commences.

Details required are:

  • source of animal (include AEC permit number, if known)
  • proposed use
  • samples or procedures to be done
  • learning outcome and student ratio (if used for teaching)
  • storage and disposal.
This notification includes the use of cadavers or tissue samples on campus or by personnel off campus and includes those engaging in teaching activities. Please contact the Animal Ethics Advisor on to ensure that the exemption applies to the work being considered.

If any of the investigators had a part in humanely killing the animal, or deciding which animal was to be killed to obtain the cadaver or tissue sample, then a full ethics application is usually required.



To avoid delays, ensure the correct IRMA application form is used and adequate details are provided for an informed AEC decision.
Proofread formal material, especially those on Murdoch University letterhead, for grammatical, spelling and punctuation, and ensure the researcher’s contact details are up-to-date.
The attachments have been clearly labelled for easy reference.
Animal numbers add up.
The application fully explains what happens with the animals - from sourcing them all the way through to their ultimate fate. Include a flowchart outlining the processes.


All material in support of applications is confidential and treated accordingly. Confidentiality extends to all items sent to AEC members electronically.