Openness in animal research among UK’s best

The University of Leicester has once again been named as one of the UK’s ‘Leaders in Openness’ by national body Understanding Animal Research.

Leicester’s Division of Biomedical Services (DBS) enables researchers to translate scientific findings into improvements in the health of individuals, society and the environment.

The unit, which houses various small animal species including rodents, fish and rabbits, focuses on compassion and care for the animals while supporting transformative research outcomes.

Now, the team of animal care and technician staff have again been recognised by major UK body Understanding Animal Research for their transparency in enabling this work.

The ‘Leader in Openness’ accreditation was last granted in 2019 and this new award will run to 2025.

Bella Williams, Head of Engagement at Understanding Animal Research, said: “The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK was created eight years ago to provide organisations using animals as part of their scientific research with clear guidance for talking openly about their work. Openness around how and why animals are used allows everyone to consider the potential harms and benefits of research and make up their own minds about it.

“Each year, the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK recognises institutions which consistently meet best-practice standards for openness and transparency in communicating about their animal research. These organisations have shown excellence in their use of internal communications, public-facing websites and social media, media communications and public engagement practices, setting a high standard for all research organisations that use animals, and leading by example.

“The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK aims to remove the legacy of real and perceived secrecy around the use of animals in scientific research and create greater trust through an established code of practice for life-science research communications. Signatories work to explain why animal research is important to nature and society, while acknowledging that there are costs to this approach that must be minimised. Openness is an opportunity to explain these benefits and costs and what is done to mitigate harms in the face of widespread misinformation on the topic amongst the public.”

As well as providing a series of online resources and public engagement opportunities – including an online 360° tour of the DBS’ Preclinical Research Facility (PRF) – members of the DBS also deliver workshops on the ethics of animal research and its place in medical research.

The unit supports world-changing research in respiratory and cardiovascular sciences, cancer research, and both genetic and molecular biology.

Geoff Green, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted to be given a Leader in Openness award. Leicester Division of Biomedical Services continues to have openness and transparency at the heart of its strategy for the facility.

“We are passionate about talking about the excellent work we do, and how we strive to improve welfare daily, alongside educating the next generation of animal technicians and scientists.”

Find out more about the work of Leicester’s Division of Biomedical Services at