Animal research

Research training aims to boost quest for cures

Experts have launched an online course to train scientists in robust experimental research to help optimise the chances of finding new treatments for human and animal diseases.

The course aims to improve the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of research using animals.

It was developed in response to the so-called reproducibility crisis. This is where scientists around the world struggle to replicate results from experiments that were carried out in other laboratories.

Reproducibility is a sector-wide issue and has been a particular challenge for medical research. Reliable and reproducible data from animal studies is vital to reduce the risk of drugs failing when they go to human clinical trials.

This course was developed not because we believe that research at our university is of low quality – in fact, the contrary is true – but because, as world leaders in biomedical research, we want to continue to improve and to lead the way in best research practice in the pursuit of scientific breakthroughs. We recognise that we have the potential to get better, and to lead others to get better.

Professor Malcolm MacleodAcademic Lead for Research Integrity and Improvement

Edinburgh University Research Optimisation Course (EUROC) aims to provide all researchers and personnel working with animals in their research with the tools to increase the rigour of their studies.

By optimising experimental design, researchers hope to improve the reliability of their results and boost the chances of success for potential treatments that are taken forward into human clinical trials.

The course is freely available online for University of Edinburgh staff and is relevant for people at the start of their research career and also those who have been conducting research using animals for some time.

The EUROC course will be launched as part of the University’s annual 3Rs Symposium, which brings together scientists and technicians to share best practice on efforts to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in research.

This course represents several years of work and collaboration between Professor Macleod’s group, CAMARADES, and the University's Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB). It is a significant addition to our 3Rs (reduce, refine, replace) toolkit and we are excited about the contribution it might make both locally and in the wider animal research sector. 

Dr Lesley PennyDirector of Bioresearch and Veterinary Services

Access EUROC

University of Edinburgh staff and students can access EUROC via Learn under the ‘self-enrol’ tab at the top right of your screen. Click on 'Browse Course Catalogue' and search for ‘Edinburgh University Research Optimisation Course’.

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EUROC will be available to external users soon. This web page will be updated with details of how to access.