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Openness Awards 2023

4 December 2023, Royal College of Physicians, London

The first Openness Award was presented by James Bussell, Director of Biomedical and Veterinary Services at the University of Oxford to Imperial College London for its technician-led ‘Mice in Research’ Instagram takeover.

Imperial College London has used social media to raise awareness of laboratory animal welfare and to amplify the voices of the technologists responsible for it. As part of IAT’s Tech Month, Imperial developed a series of content for Twitter, giving voice to animal technologists through quotes describing their experiences and feelings about working in animal research, and their pride in working within the industry. The success of this campaign was followed by a takeover of the UAR Instagram account for ‘Mice in Research Week’. A team that combined animal unit staff, a PhD student and a senior researcher opened the door to the university’s breeding unit, explaining how mice are cared for, how they are used in research at the university, and how the research is regulated.

While the Openness Award judges have previously recognised an Instagram takeover, what made this takeover stand out was that it was technician-led and brought in people from different roles. The takeover showed a variety of content and clearly required a lot of effort to put together.

The second Openness Award was presented by Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Biology to the University of Hertfordshire for a survey done with students to better understand openness.

The University of Hertfordshire recognised the need for internal engagement through a variety of approaches, particularly through efforts made to survey students to understand their perspective on openness and what the university can do better to support this.

The university ran a survey of its student population to discover where its openness programme was in need of improvement and how that could be achieved. The survey delivered clear recommendations on how to enhance openness in webpages, tutorials and practicals in the biosciences. The survey responses were highlighted in a poster presentation at a dedicated 3Rs openness event held at the university’s annual research conference.

The judges felt that this was not only a learning opportunity for how the university can improve, but also an opportunity that other signatories can learn from.

Many thanks to all our presenters and a huge congratulations to all the Openness Award winners!

View the programme here