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Open letter from the UK funding bodies to improve design and reporting of animal research

22 May 2012

The Chief Executives of the three main funding bodies for bioscience research in the United Kingdom have today (22 May 2012) written an open letter to the Vice-Chancellors, Principals of universities and Heads of research institutes urging them to ensure that their scientists observe guidelines designed to improve the reporting of animal research.

BBSRC, MRC, and the Wellcome Trust have all signed up to the ARRIVE guidelines which were developed by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). Previous studies, by the NC3Rs and others, have highlighted significant flaws in the design, analysis and reporting of animal experiments, which undermine the reliability and utility of the research conducted. The ARRIVE guidelines are intended to help address this.

The guidelines include a checklist of information which should be included in scientific publications describing animal research and have already been adopted by close to 100 journals. The UK funders are committed to high standards in the research that they sponsor and this latest move is intended to reinforce the importance of ensuring that animal studies are properly designed, analysed and reported so that the information obtained fully contributes to the knowledge base.

Dr Vicky Robinson, NC3Rs Chief Executive said "The open letter from the bioscience community's big hitters will serve as a useful reminder that there is an expectation that scientists will use the ARRIVE guidelines and this can only be good news in terms of ensuring that animal studies are better designed, analysed and reported."

Open letter from the funders (PDF 52KB)

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BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

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