Training and teaching resources to underpin implementation of refinement of in vivo studies


This project aims to provide training through web-based tutorials and other resources on best practice in the refinement of animal experiments.


Over the last decade there has been a substantial increase in the understanding of the factors that can cause pain and distress in laboratory animals. There are new methods available for assessing animal welfare, and a better understanding of how procedures can be refined to prevent suffering.

In order for this knowledge to have a real impact, the information needs to be disseminated to researchers and animal care staff as widely as possible and in an easily accessible format. However, effective dissemination and implementation has so far been difficult to achieve.

This project will develop web resources to underpin effective initial and continued training of individuals involved in animal research, enhancing uptake of refinements and improving animal welfare across many scientific disciplines.

A strong evidence base for best practice in refinement has been developing over the last decade. However, effective dissemination and implementation of this information is difficult to achieve. This project will develop the infrastructure to underpin effective initial and continued training of individuals involved in animal-based research. We will build on the success of our current web-based materials and significantly expand this resource and provide a single internet portal to access training materials and other relevant information.

We will:

a) Update these existing resources to reflect current best practice and to incorporate new data from the peer-reviewed literature.

b) Extend the delivery system to incorporate e-learning modules.

c) Incorporate the resources into training materials provided on UK Home Office training modules, and elsewhere and integrate the new material into our specialist training courses in anaesthesia and pain and distress

d) Provide a new (webinar-based) method of delivery of these courses.

Training resources will be provided in two specific areas; the assessment and alleviation of pain and distress, and anaesthesia and perioperative care. We will also integrate the existing NC3Rs blood sampling microsite into the new website architecture. The combination of web-based information and e-learning tutorials, downloadable content for trainers, incorporation of support material for UK Home Office modular courses, and delivery via webinars and in "conventional" seminars and workshops will provide more effective dissemination of best practice in these areas. This will assist in the rapid introduction of refinements into many areas of research, and provide a framework for longer-term development of educational and training resources in laboratory animal science.

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Infrastructure grant



Principal investigator

Professor Paul Flecknell


Newcastle University


Professor Megan Quentin-Baxter

Grant reference number


Award date

Oct 2013 - Sep 2016

Grant amount