Our commitments, regulation and review

Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK

Concordat logoIn an enhancement of our commitment to the highest standards of animal care and welfare, the University is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, pledging to uphold its key principles by abiding by the following commitments:

  1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research.
  2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals.
  3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals.
  4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences.

All of our activities in line with these commitments are reviewed annually.

Replacement, reduction and refinement

Underpinning all animal research is our commitment to maintaining a rigorous regulatory system which ensures that animal research is carried out only where no practicable alternative exists and under refinement controls which maximise animal welfare. This is achieved through applying the principles of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animal in Research (NC3Rs) to all our research involving the use of animals.

University Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB)

All research involving animals (as defined by the ASPA 1986) at the University is reviewed by the University AWERB which includes scientists, veterinary surgeons, animal carers, Home Office project licence holders, a training and competency officer, members of the University senior management team, together with lay members, some of whom are independent of the University.

The AWERB ensures that all research involving animals is scientifically and ethically justified, considers the scientific progress made in each project and looks at how the use of animals in that project has been replaced, reduced and refined in order to keep the use of animals in research to a minimum.

Research informed teaching

The University endorses the national British Pharmacological Society curriculum for undergraduate education in the use of animals for research and teaching in the UK.

We also train undergraduate and graduate scientists on debating the principles of the NC3Rs and good experimental design as well as teaching practical aspects using animal-free training aids, providing an ethical and realistic alternative to the use of live animals.

In recent years, our researchers have secured Animal-free UK funded summer studentships, enabling undergraduate students to develop animal replacement research methods.