Position statement on research and innovation involving animals

Close up of the structure of a butterfly wing

New position statement harmonises expectations for the involvement of animals in research and innovation across the whole of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

UKRI has a responsibility to ensure that our activities, and the activities of those we fund, are aligned with UK legislation and other guiding principles.

Covered activities

UKRI’s expectations now cover funding for all research and innovation that involves or may impact upon animals and a full policy with a wider remit will follow later this year.

Activity now covered includes:

  • behavioural observation studies
  • studies of artistic, religious, or cultural practices involving animals
  • development of technologies or approaches that impact on managed animals or non-invasive wildlife surveys

The full statement can be found alongside a range of additional guidance on the good research resource hub: involving animals in research.

Key principles

The new statement and imminent policy are driven by the principles of the 3Rs (replacement, refinement and reduction), which provide a framework for humane and high-quality research and innovation.

It also demonstrates UKRI’s commitment to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare throughout research and innovation we fund.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) worked with UKRI on the writing of the policy and statement.

NC3Rs provide an overview of the 3Rs principles, and why it is important that the scientific community considers them when planning and carrying out work that uses animals in research.

Transparency and communication

The statement will also support UKRI’s commitment, as signatory to the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research, to transparency and clear public communication about the involvement of animals in research.

The concordat is overseen by Understanding Animal Research (UAR).

UAR is an organisation supported by UKRI whose aim is to achieve a broad understanding of the humane use of animals in research in the UK.

Consistent expectations and approach

This statement creates consistent expectations for research and innovation involving animals across UKRI’s remit and will be followed later this year by the publication of a full UKRI policy.

The statement, together with the forthcoming policy, will support research integrity, best practice and a consistent approach throughout the research and innovation activities funded by UKRI.

This harmonised approach will also be integrated into the developing functionality of the UKRI Funding Service, offering the potential for improved efficiency of the application process.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the position statement and forthcoming policy, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us at animal.policy@ukri.org

Top image:  Credit: JodiJacobson, E+ via Getty Images

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