HKSTP Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)


HKSTP believes in the care of animals used for scientific research that benefits the public by following the highest animal welfare standards. In line with this philosophy, the HKSTP IACUC is tasked to ensure ethical standards and guidelines on animal care and use are followed.1,2,3,4

In general, the HKSTP IACUC is responsible for:

  • Reviewing and approving/rejecting animal use applications, modifications and extensions
  • Conducting monitoring visits of approved projects
  • Investigating reported animal welfare concerns


What animals are subject to HKSTP IACUC review?

  • Live non-human vertebrates2, including
    • independently feeding larval forms3, and
    • embryos and foetal forms of mammals and non-mammals
  • Live cephalopods 3


What projects must obtain HKSTP IACUC approval prior to commencement?

  • A project that will use any of the above types of animals is required to submit an application to HKSTP IACUC for ethics review, and obtain ethics approval before project commencement / revision / extension, if the project is to be conducted:
    • on HKSTP premises, or
    • by HKSTP tenants, incubatees or licensees outside HKSTP premises
  • An exemption can be granted for projects that have already obtained ethics approval from another independent IACUC or animal research ethics committee(AEC) that meets the ethics principles and standards acknowledged by HKSTP IACUC. 
    • Please see “Projects with external ethics approval” section below.


How long is an approval valid for? Will there be post-approval inspections?

  • An approval is valid for up to 2 years, or for the duration of the corresponding license issued by the HKSAR Department of Health5, whichever is shorter.  
  • The HKSTP IACUC will conduct semi-annual inspections, as well as random spot checks on the care and use of live animals at the locations of the approved projects.


How to apply for a HKSTP IACUC animal use ethics review?

Submit the following documents in one email to, indicating the name of your company in the email subject:

  • Completed application form
  • Completed application checklist
  • The required supporting documents stated in the application checklist**

**All the project personnel in any animal-use project should be in full compliance with HKSAR’s law, including (if applicable) but not limited to obtaining the corresponding license issued by the HKSAR Department of Health5. If any personnel’s license is still pending as of the HKSTP IACUC application deadline, the principal investigator may still submit an application set for the project before the deadline to HKSTP IACUC for initial review, and submit the outstanding license copy to HKSTP IACUC once available.  However, the HKSTP IACUC will only grant a decision for the project after all the required documents have been reviewed.




Application Deadline:

  • Applications are reviewed by HKSTP IACUC every three months.
  • The application deadlines are January 31, April 30, July 31 and October 30.
  • Submissions received after each deadline will be reviewed in the next cycle.


Projects with external ethics approval:

Projects with ethics approval from another independent IACUC or AEC that meets the ethics principles and standards acknowledged by HKSTP IACUC will not need to submit a new full application to HKSTP IACUC. 

For such projects that will be conducted on HKSTP premises, please submit the following documents in one email to, indicating the company name in the email subject, before the project is commenced / revised / extended:

(i) Completed application form (with external ethics approval)
(ii) A copy of the external ethics approval letter #
(iii) A copy of the animal use protocol that was submitted to the external IACUC/AEC for review #
(iv) A copy of the valid license of all the personnel that will handle the live animals in the project, which was issued by the HKSAR Department of Health under Animals (Control of Experiments) Ordinance (Cap. 340) 
(v) A list that shows the maximum estimated number of animals that will be used for the project in HKSTP premises at any time, as well as the total number of animals

# Either (ii) or (iii) shall indicate the specific location(s) of the use of animals in HKSTP.



For enquiries or reporting of animal welfare concerns, please email



  1. International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals (2012)

  2. HK Code of Practice for Care & Use of Animals for Experimental Purposes (2004)

  3. EU Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes

  4. Online training on 3R principles

  5. HKSAR Department of Health “Application for Animal Experiment License” webpage
Contact Us
Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required fields.