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Animal Research

Collage banner with rat, fish, baboon and seals

Any research involving animals at Durham University, whether lab based, observational, on site or in the field is strictly regulated and appropriately licensed. Our research activities can be split into two areas:

  • Licensed Work: This is activity covered by the Animal Scientific Procedures Act within the UK. Most licensed work at Durham is lab based and involves carrying out research on amphibians, small mammals and fish. A small amount of licensed work takes place outside the laboratory; this generally involves the temporary capture of wild animals for purposes such as fitting trackers or monitors. The sites, the projects and the project teams are all licensed by the Home Office.

  • Unlicensed Work: The majority of this work is generally observational and non-invasive such as studying animals in the laboratory, in their natural environment and in controlled environments (e.g. farms and zoos). Unlicensed work also includes work which takes place outside the UK. Where this work involves research which would need a licence in the UK, the University requires that this is subject to high standards equivalent to those for licensed work.

In all our work, we strive for the very highest standards of care and wellbeing for all animals, to minimise the use of animals, and to be open about animal research.

We are signatories to the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research in the UK. As signatories we strive to uphold the four main commitments of the Concordat:

  1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research;
  2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals;
  3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals;
  4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences.

We endorse the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines from the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), and the PREPARE (Planning Research and Experimental Procedures on Animals: Recommendations for Excellence) guidelines. Together, these guidelines ensure that all reporting of animal research is high-quality, transparent and that no unnecessary animal research is conducted.

With the concordat commitments in mind we also provide opportunities for students to visit the animal facilities, have spokespeople to answer questions about our work with animals and submit our progress report on animal research activities annually. More information about animal research at Durham can be found in this Q&A.

Professor Stefan Przyborski

Acting Executive Dean of Science & Dean of Infrastructure

Durham University