Research Involving Animals – Division of Biomedical Services

Home Office project licence review

The University AWERB conduct an ethical review of all projects prior to submission to the Home Office.

The AWERB will also conduct a mid-term and retrospective review of all projects to follow the development and outcome of the project in addition to advising on the implementation of the 3Rs.

The reviews conducted during the application and assessment process consist of:

  1. batesons cube diagramEthical Assessment of the Project prior to being submitted to the Home Office for approval. The University AWERB uses Bateson’s Cube which is a tool proposed by Sir Patrick Bateson to assist in assessing whether biomedical research using animals should be carried out. The Cube has 3 axes:
    • Quality of the research.
    • Likelihood of an outcome that will advance human health or advance scientific knowledge of benefit to humans.
    • The amount of suffering experienced by the animal.

There are numerous criteria used for each of these axes to assess where the research falls in the Cube. The research should only proceed if the value for all three axes falls in the transparent part of the Cube. The Cube was developed at the time when the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was being implemented and this was one of many of Pat’s significant contributions to research ethics.

  1. Mid-term Review assessment is carried out by the AWERB around 2.5 years in to the project. The Committee will review whether the objectives are being achieved, how the 3Rs are being applied, whether any adverse effects had been experienced and whether any learning points had resulted to the project being amended at that stage.
  2. Retrospective Review assessment is carried out by the AWERB after the project has expired. The Committee will review whether the programme of work had been carried out and whether the aims and objectives had been met. An assessment of the species used and number of animals used would be carried out in addition to how the 3Rs were applied during the project. A list of publications resulting from the work carried out would be supplied and forward on to the Home Office.

The AWERB would also review all requests to amend a project licence and provide recommendations prior to approval before being submitted to the Home Office.

Back to top