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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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A Proposed Higher Education Institution-based Three Rs Advisory Service


Manuel Berdoy and Catherine R. Repp

The University of Oxford’s Ethical Review Process (ERP) is promoting a pilot scheme for a collaborative UK higher education institution-based Three Rs advisory service. It is believed that there is scope for UK academia to make a significant contribution, through the spread of its science base and the availability of high-quality library and IT services. A collaborative approach based on the concept of the critically appraised topic is envisaged, to minimise duplication and to ensure that limited resources are used to good effect. The initial objective is to identify, research, and validate refinement and replacement alternatives, drawing on both the skills of the information professional and the analogy of evidence-based health care. The results would be disseminated among member institutions by way of web-based systems, which could also offer on-line training in search strategies. The service would provide assistance to university-based project licence applicants, and would contribute to achieving the aims of the ERP, as an initiative “leading to the widest possible application of the Three Rs”. It is hoped to develop the scheme in partnership with research council initiatives now under way, as the councils play a key role as funders, not only of research, but also of research student training. Universities are uniquely positioned, as centres of scientific education and, through continuing education, of continuing professional development, to provide a base for training in good practice. A successful pilot project could provide a foundation for a similar approach to reduction strategies and experimental design.