1st December 2014, Wellcome Collection, London
Four awards were presented to people and organisations who have paved the way for the Concordat by showing the sector that openness was possible, even when faced with significant opposition.
Long-time openness advocate Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, presented the first award to Professor Sir Colin Blakemore. At a time when to ‘come out’ about animal research in public could lead to significant threats and acts of extremism, Sir Colin was a vocal public advocate for the benefits of animal research.
Dr Domenico Spina from the British Pharmacological Society presented the second award to the Medical Research Council in recognition of their constant willingness to work with the press. This work has included the first live radio broadcast from inside the animal facility at MRC Harwell, during which BBC 5 Live journalist Victoria Derbyshire witnessed a mouse being euthanized live on air.
Huntingdon Life Sciences were presented with the third award by Bernadette Kelly of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Despite significant pressure from extremists, including attacks on its staff and suppliers, HLS has always sought to work openly with the media.
Finally, the council of Understanding Animal Research chose to give the final Openness Award to UAR CEO Wendy Jarrett, in recognition of her work to develop the Concordat on Openness, and for acting as a champion of the openness agenda.