Animal research

Awards for animal welfare innovations

Innovations that improve the experience of animals involved in research at the University have been commended at the seventh annual 3Rs Symposium

Around a hundred people attended the event, which was set up to help scientists and technicians share best practice in efforts to reduce, replace and refine the use of animals in research – known as the 3Rs.

In addition to talks from experts working in the field, prizes were awarded to scientific and technical staff. There were a record 21 entries for the awards, showcasing a range of novel approaches to positively impact the use of animals in research

First prize

First prize in the scientist category was awarded for research at Edinburgh to develop a new method of studying a painful women’s condition in mice called endometriosis. The new technique removes the need for any surgery and is a significant refinement over existing methods.

A study at the University to improve environmental enrichment for rats using tubes suspended in the cage was the overall winner in the category for technical staff.

Research benefits

Development of a cell-based system for studying Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the laboratory was awarded second prize in the research category. The approach is expected to notably reduce – and in many instances, replace – the use of animals in studies of human prion diseases.

An alternative approach to deliver chemical agents used in generating genetically modified animals was awarded third prize. Researchers have shown that the technique improves survival rates and is significantly safer than previous methods.

Technical innovations

Second prize in the technical category was awarded for further innovations at Edinburgh that improve welfare for animals during the creation of GM animals.

This symposium has become an important annual event at which to showcase some of the excellent contributions made by Edinburgh University staff to the 3Rs of refinement, reduction and replacement. The quality of the submissions this year was excellent and should inspire others in future to recognise that even apparently small things can make a significant difference to the animals that we work with.

Dr Lesley PennyDirector of Veterinary Scientific Services

Key principles

The University is committed to the principles of the 3Rs – replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in research to minimise the effects on the animals concerned.

Related links

3Rs at the University of Edinburgh