The Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) is holding its 2024 Congress in Scotland. NC3Rs Programme Managers Dr Ellen Forty and Dr Stephen Turnock will be attending and sharing information and practical resources to support animal technicians.
Workshop: Practical advice on performing animal technician-led welfare trials
Dr Ellen Forty and Dr Stephen Turnock
Animal technicians often wish to conduct their own welfare trials, for example to evaluate a new enrichment item or other refinement. A good understanding of how to plan and execute a well-designed experiment is needed to increase the success of welfare trials within the sector and obtain meaningful and reliable data. Even when good quality data is obtained, analysing and presenting the information properly is a barrier to animal technicians disseminating their observations and promoting their refinements.
This workshop will:
- Take participants through the key steps required to conduct a high-quality study, from how to set up a welfare trial to how to process and present the data.
- Share useful resources to support technicians in their future welfare trials.
- Include small group discussions and practical real-life examples.
Although we will focus on the most common laboratory animals such as mice and fish, the principles apply across all species.
Poster: Maximising the study plan: Adopting the ARRIVE Guidelines and including key experimental design information
Dr Stephen Turnock
Study plans are becoming commonplace in the animal unit to compliance-check and quality-check experiments before they begin. However, the amount of information requested in these study plans varies across institutions. As well as welfare management, the experimental design of a study should be provided upfront to ensure that the results obtained from the work are high-quality, reliable and can be reported transparently. Details of the experimental plan can also be reviewed to ensure best practice and the 3Rs are fully implemented.
The ARRIVE guidelines provide a checklist with detailed explanations on the necessary detail to include in publications, but this resource should also be used from the study outset to ensure that obtained results deliver robust scientific benefits. The ARRIVE Study Plan aims to set out the necessary information for animal technicians, Named persons, AWERBs and researchers to achieve a high-quality study – maximising experimental outputs whilst ensuring compliance is met.
Talk: Supporting the Named Information Officer role
Dr Ellen Forty
The NC3Rs and the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA) Home Office Liaison, Training and Information Forum (HOLTIF) have collaborated to survey Named Information Officers (NIO) working across the UK to provide a national picture on the NIO role. The NIO was established as a new role under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act as amended in 2013 to ensure that those dealing with animals in an establishment have access to the information they need about the species held and procedures being performed. With limited guidance on how to carry out this role and the often-additional responsibility of other named roles being undertaken by the same individual, we were interested to better understand how those in this important role can be supported.
This presentation will report on the results of the survey. Topics will include:
- How the NIO role operates in practice on a local level, including time allocated to the role, which groups/individuals interact with the NIO and what topics and activities are typically covered.
- Existing support that is accessed by NIOs within and outside the establishment.
- Anonymous quotes from individuals across the NIO community on their successes and challenges in the NIO role.
- Further support this community would find most beneficial to the role and NC3Rs plans for NIO-focused resources and opportunities.