Oxford’s Primate Neuroscience research group and Biomedical Services team have been recognised for their openness and public engagement at Understanding Animal Research’s (UAR) fourth annual Openness Awards and the 81st Stephen Paget memorial lecture.
The Award for a Public Engagement Activity was presented jointly to the University of Oxford, MRC Harwell Institute, The Pirbright Institute and the University of Bristol, for coming together to open their labs to 3D cameras in order that the 360 degree Virtual Lab Animal Tour could be made.
Maria Martinez, the Primate Welfare Officer from the Biomedical Services Department said: ‘While animal research is necessary, is it essential for scientific, veterinary and animal care staff to continue to work closely together to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare. The virtual tour has been a great opportunity for Oxford to openly share the type research conducted in primates and the welfare standards that we maintain for our animals.'
UAR’s Individual Award for Outstanding Contribution to Openness in Animal Research was presented to 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. Fergus Walsh was given extensive access to the Oxford Biomedical Sciences facility in 2014 to film a report for the BBC on the role of animals in research.
Following the awards, Professor Clive Page, Head of Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology, KCL, 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’.
The Paget Lecture was first delivered in 1927 and has subsequently been presented by scientific luminaries including Sir Henry Dale (Nobel Prize, 1936), Sir Howard Florey (Nobel Prize, 1945) and Sir John Boyd Orr (Nobel Peace Prize, 1949). Last year the lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor.
To coincide with the Openness Awards and Paget Lecture, UAR has published the third annual report on the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK. The report details how signatories to the Concordat are fulfilling their commitments to improve openness and transparency, as well as discussing the impacts of the Concordat since it was launched.