Institute maintains Leadership in Openness status
- The Institute has been successful in maintaining its Leader in Openness status with regard to open communication about the use of animals in research under the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research.
- The award recognises continued progress in demonstrating good practice after the Institute was first awarded the status in 2019.
- Initiatives developed through 2020 and 2021 include public virtual tours of the Institute’s animal facility and a video overview of the work of the facility.
The Institute is delighted to see its commitment to openness around the use of animals in research recognised by the continuation of its Leadership in Openness status awarded by Understanding Animal Research (UAR).
The Leader in Openness status recognises organisations who demonstrate continued commitment to following best practice, embedding openness, and working to make the goals of the Concordat a reality. The current Leaders in Openness awardees were announced by UAR at their 2022 Concordat on Openness Signatories Workshop, which celebrated the eight anniversary of the Concordat and also coordinates with UAR’s annual social media campaign #MiceInResearch.
Bella Williams, Head of Engagement at Understanding Animal Research, said: “The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK was created eight years ago to provide organisations using animals as part of their scientific research with clear guidance for talking openly about their work. Openness around how and why animals are used allows everyone to consider the potential harms and benefits of research and make up their own minds about it.
“Each year, the Concordat recognises institutions which consistently meet best-practice standards for openness and transparency in communicating about their animal research. These organisations have shown excellence in their use of internal communications, public-facing websites and social media, media communications and public engagement practices, setting a high standard for all research organisations that use animals, and leading by example.”
Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications at the Institute, commented: “We’re delighted to maintain the Leader in Openness status and stand alongside the existing and new Leaders as organisations demonstrating the importance of openness and communication about the use of animals in research. In reflecting on the progression reported for our re-nomination, it’s hugely satisfying to recognise that these efforts are the result of coordinated activities and sustained dedication from teams across the Institute. As such, we’re proud to say that openness is very much a shared commitment across the Institute and that this award is a shared achievement.”
The Institute is a founding signatory of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research which was launched in 2014. After being part of the first set of Concordat signatories to be recognised by the Leadership status in 2019, the renewal required the demonstration of continued commitment to openness in communicating about animal research. Leaders in Openness are reassessed after a period of three years.
Highlights of new initiatives in openness achieved during the period of 2019 onwards include:
- the Institute publishing its animal use statistics, including supporting information on how animal use and severity limits are categorised.
- reporting on new practices and refinements that work towards the goals of Reduction, Refinement and Replacement (the 3Rs), including methods improve animal welfare, such as non-aversive handling techniques.
- wider insights into careers in animal research provided via the Institute’s blog and in role descriptions explaining dedicated animal welfare roles within our animal facility.
- providing a remote virtual tour of the Institute’s animal facility as part of the Cambridge Festival in 2021 and 2022 (see our blog round up)
- production of a video providing an introduction to the animal facility and different units within it.
In addition to the Institute, eleven other research organisations were recognised as outstanding across the areas considered in the criteria for the Leadership status: Agenda Life Sciences; The Francis Crick Institute; Imperial College London; The Institute of Cancer Research; Newcastle University; The Pirbright Institute; Royal Veterinary College; University of Bath; University of Cambridge; University of Leicester; and University of Manchester.
Since becoming a founding signatory of the Concordat in 2014, the Institute has received commendations and awards for its approach to openness around the use of animals (mice and rats) in the Institute’s research.
You can find out more about why and how animals (mice and rats) are used in the Institute’s research on our animal research pages, find out about research involving animals in our latest news stories, and learn more about our animal facility in the video overview.
Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
background image: An animal technician inspects a mouse box in the Institute's animal facility.
News: Institute achieves Leadership in Openness status, May 2019
News: Institute wins national Openness Award, December 2017
News: Institute commended at BBSRC Excellence with Impact competition, May 2016
News: Commitment to outreach and public engagement around animal research recognised, December 2015