Animal Research: Critical, Challenging & Creative Thinking (Animal Research: Critical, Challenging & Creative Thinking)
Owner/Developer: Responsible Research in Practice Ltd
01 December 2016
University College London
This 2 day course is funded to run once a semester as part of the Doctoral Skills Development Programme at UCL. It is a great introduction for anyone starting a research project involving the use of animals, animal-derived materials or animal-derived data. It has been designed to complement compulsory Home Office modular training for licence holders, and developed in collaboration with Biological Services and UCL’s Research Integrity Office, to cover everything you need to know about the responsible conduct of animal research at UCL.
We will consider how animals are used in research both within the UK and at UCL, as well as the broad spectrum of societal opinions regarding animal use in research and how research is communicated to society. The 3Rs principles of humane experimental technique will be discussed and illustrative examples given of how the 3Rs are being implemented in practice by researchers at UCL. Students will become aware of the ‘Concordat to Support Research Integrity’ and ‘Concordat on Openness on Animal Research’ as well as current trends in good research practice, and how they apply to animal research. The relationship between good practice and issues regarding the quality, reproducibility and reliability of bioscience research will also be discussed as well as research funders’ expectations regarding the “Responsible use of animals in bioscience research”. The ‘Culture of scientific research within the UK’ report and potential tensions, pressures and other conflicting factors that can influence individuals’ research conduct will also be discussed. A basic overview of good experimental design and planning will be given, including aspects such as how to turn a research question into a testable hypothesis, identifying the experimental unit, plus common errors in experimental design and tips for avoiding them. An introduction to systematic reviews and meta-analysis will be included along with research reporting standards, such as the ARRIVE guidelines, and free tools/resources that are available to help improve the robustness of the research activities. Good animal welfare will also be introduced as a means of reducing uncontrolled variables and confounding factors before exploring what this means in practice for the lives of animals used in research at UCL.
Optional / Voluntary
Four half day (3 hour) sessions
Must be registered for an MPhil, PhD at UCL or allied institutions.
University (Master), University (Doctoral education)
Refinement, Reduction, Replacement
Models of animals (e.g. mannequins, simulators, cadavers), Carrying out procedures on animals, Designing procedures and projects, Taking care of animals, Killing animals, Computational methods, In vitro methods, Ethics, Legislative aspects
Substantial coverage (e.g. multiple modules)
Rodents, Mice (Mus musculus), Rats (Rattus norvegicus), Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Cats (Felis catus), Dogs (Canis familiaris), Ferrets (Mustela putorius furo), Pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), Goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), Sheep (Ovis aries), Cattle (Bos primigenius), Quail (Coturnix coturnix), Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus), Xenopus (Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis), Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
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Session one introduces the 3Rs and goes through each R in turn describing illustrative examples of models, methods & techniques as well as signposting specific expertise locally or within the organisation. Session 2 embeds the 3Rs as a non-negotiable aspect of responsible conduct in animal research and associates implementation of the 3Rs with fulfilling expectations with regards research integrity. Session 3 establishes implementation of the 3Rs as a critical aspect of good experimental design and an animal researchers best weapon against reproducibility and reliability issues attributed to confounding factors and uncontrolled variables. Session 4 walks students through 3Rs considerations at every step from converting their research question into a testable hypothesis, through selecting their research method/model/technique (animal or alternative), planning & designing their experiments, the lifetime experience of experimental animals, conducting experiments, analysing the results and reflecting on what it means, what went well, adverse effects and what could be improved including the concept of marginal and the refinement loop.
Directive 2010/63/EU or equivalent
By the end of this course you will be able to:
• communicate your research in an open and transparent manner, with an informed understanding of how animals are used for scientific purposes within the UK and of the range of societal opinions that exist on this issue.
• recognise what responsible, ethical, good practice research conduct means in the context of your individual research project, and why it is important for the quality, reproducibility and reliability of your research data.
• write a testable hypothesis and plan your experiments using a range of tools and resources that are available to support you to design and report your research well.
• understand what good animal welfare means, consider what factors can impact on the welfare of the animals used in research, and reflect on how the 3Rs can be effectively implemented during the course of your own research project/activities.
4 points towards internal CPD scheme.
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