On 4th December 2017, UAR hosted the fourth annual Openness Awards and 81st Stephen Paget Memorial Lecture.
Dr Judy MacArthur Clark presented the Internal or Sector Engagement Award to the Babraham Institute for its partnership with the Sophianum School in Netherlands. Students had to design and create solutions to challenging problems, such as creating more effective mouse cages.
Professor Clare Stanford presented the Public Engagement Activity Award to MRC Harwell, The Pirbright Institute, University of Bristol, and University of Oxford for opening their labs to 360 cameras so the virtual Lab Animal Tour could be made. Tony Davidge, from Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, was highly commended for his role in introducing local school children to the ethical and practical issues associated with animal research.
Professor David Webb presented the Media Engagement or Media Stories Award to King’s College London for its eager involvement in the BBC3 documentary ‘The Monkey Lab’, allowing cameras into to see its marmosets. Harry Dayantis, previously of UCL, was highly commended for his role in bringing ten universities together to press release their 2015 animal numbers.
Professor David Eisner presented the Website or Use of New Media Award to University of Cambridge for its videos explaining how animals, including non-human primates, are used to understand and treat OCD.
Professor Clive Page presented UAR’s Individual Award for Outstanding Contribution to Openness in Animal Research to the BBC’s Rachael Buchanan and Fergus Walsh for their time and persistence in getting access and filming laboratory animals and subsequent balanced reporting at a time when ‘animal research’ evoked a knee-jerk response from much of the public and media.
Following the awards, Professor Clive Page, Head of Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, King’s College London, delivered the 81st Stephen Paget Memorial Lecture ‘How animals have helped with the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of asthma and COPD’.
To coincide with the event, UAR has published the third annual Concordat report. The report focuses on the impacts of the Concordat since its launch, three years ago. The Concordat has been a huge success, both internally amongst organisations, and externally in the public domain.
Within organisations, the Concordat has raised the profile of animal research and welfare, enabling more open conversations to take place and giving research staff and technicians greater confidence to speak about what they do. Within the life-science sector the Concordat has inspired collaborations between institutions, and challenged the fears associated with speaking about animal research, to reflect a society where the voices against using animals in science are becoming more reasoned and less aggressive. For wider-society, the Concordat has provided better access to information about animals in research. This has led to a greater understanding of the role of animal care staff, enabling interested public to see inside facilities, and more considered news stories on the use of animals in research.
Looking forward, the Concordat will continue to improve public access to information about the use of animals in research, raise the expectations of openness and transparency, and provide better quality and more accurate information to the media.