Selection criteria for membership
The Animal Ethics Committee is made up of 4 categories of membership with expertise in veterinary medicine, wildlife research, animal welfare and lay members who represent the views of the broader community and a chairperson. Appointments to the department's Animal Ethics Committee are for a 3-year term with an option for a second 3-year term.
Membership criteria are set down by Section 2.2.4 of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013 (NHMRC 2013) (the code). The criteria for Category D membership is:
A person who is not employed by or otherwise associated with the department and who has never been involved in the use of animals in scientific or teaching activities, either in their employment or beyond their undergraduate education. Category D members should be viewed by the wider community as bringing a completely independent view to the committee and must not fit the requirements of any other category.
In addition to the above, the Animal Research Review Panel, who are the statutory body under the Animal Research Act 1985, makes the following recommendations:
As well as being independent of animal research and teaching, Category D members should bring an 'independence of thinking' to the Animal Ethics Committee. The members of this category should therefore be people who do not have a background of biological scientific training and who can thus contribute a different perspective to the deliberations of the Animal Ethics Committee.
The code does not define what constitutes 'otherwise associated with' the establishment, and a judgement on this may be required to be made. As a guide, any possible association, such as previous employment by the establishment, or a relative employed by the establishment, would be considered to preclude a person from Category D membership for that establishment.
Meeting schedule and workload
Meeting dates are set on an annual basis. There are 8 scheduled Animal Ethics Committee meetings of the committee each year. An executive committee meeting may be held one week before an Animal Ethics Committee meeting. It is important that members can commit to attending most meetings, as a quorum is required for decisions to be enacted.
Animal Ethics Committee meetings are held on Tuesdays commencing at 10 am online or at the government offices in Parramatta. Meetings usually conclude by 3 pm, but occasionally may take longer.
Additional meetings are occasionally held and travel to research locations in regional New South Wales is sometimes offered.
Members must become familiar with the relevant animal research legislation and guidelines. The department provides support to assist this process. Members are expected to fully familiarise themselves with all project applications and other reading material before each meeting.
Occasionally, reviewing material outside of scheduled meetings may be necessary, so an email response may be required at short notice.
A meeting preparation and sitting fee of $440 (2 days) is paid for Animal Ethics Committee meetings. A sitting fee of $120 (half day) is paid for executive meetings.
For any meetings or inspections requiring travel, a sitting fee of $220 is paid plus transport to and come to meetings, flights, or accommodation costs. The department will provide catering for these meetings or inspections.
How to apply
Members of the public are invited to submit a short Expression of Interest and CV by email to the Senior Team Leader, Animal Research Ethics team (details below) by 4 September 2023. This is to demonstrate how you fulfil the requirements set out above.
All applications are subject to review, which may take several months. All applicants will be advised of the outcome once the review and appointment have been finalised.
For more information about the Animal Ethics Committee or to submit an Expression of Interest and CV contact: email@example.com
You can also apply at these locations: