3R. As part of ensuring the quality of research involving animal testing, the University of Gothenburg’s Animal Welfare Body invited Professor Adrian Smith from Norwegian Norecopa to this year’s 3R seminar to give a lecture on the PREPARE and ARRIVE guidelines. These guidelines serve as a checklist for planning, implementation and analysis of a research project, and facilitate reporting when projects are completed. Both guides are based on 3R, which are embedded in the various steps.
“Having reliable data is of greatest importance, but at least as important is to work with the best possible animal welfare, and to create a work culture characterized by care in all research groups,” said Adrian Smith in the opening of his lecture and referred to the importance of working with Culture of Care.
About 50 people were present at Medicinareberget, and approximately the same number attended the 3R seminar online.
Fifteen preparatory steps
The PREPARE guide consists of fifteen steps and has been developed i.a. to promote alternative methods and increase the reproducibility of research projects and experiments. The guide is used for planning research projects and begins with a literature review.
“Already in the introduction we can raise the question: is it actually necessary to carry out this animal experiment or is there enough literature on the subject that covers the data we want to collect?” said Adrian. Also, he emphasized the importance of good experimental design and accuracy in preparations for obtaining research results that can be transferred to the benefit of medical, biological and veterinary research.
Through the checklist in PREPARE, the authors believe that important parts that are often not included in project designs, will not be forgotten. When following the guide, researchers make sure to collaborate with and involve animal technicians and veterinarians from day one. It is absolutely crucial for the welfare of the animals, the motivation of the staff, as well as for the outcome of the project, Adrian said during his lecture.
Reaching all the way
The ARRIVE guidelines are in turn a checklist of recommendations to improve the reporting of research involving animals. The guidelines are used to maximize the quality and reliability of published research and to enable others to better review, evaluate and reproduce it.
“Today, an equally complex organization is required to conduct animal experiments as to build modern buildings or fly and land an aircraft. Many different experts work together in teams, all contributing to crossing the finish line with the best results. Good communication and elaborate routines are the key.” Adrian said.
Caring – and challenging
In his lecture, Adrian also emphasized that research needs to be open for challenge and accepting criticism. In this way, procedures can be improved, and mistakes prevented from being repeated.
“Alarm bells should ring when someone says we have always done it like that or there is no alternative. Also, vaguely defined routines, such as we do it as often as necessary, should be questioned. To identify gaps and weaknesses in our research, we need to look at what is acceptable rather than at what is generally accepted.” Adrian said.
As initiatives that can promote a Culture of Care, Adrian exemplified with booking periodic meetings to involve all professional groups, devoting time for talks on 3R, setting up person-to-person talks between animal technicians and researchers, making surveys for employees, and welcoming ideas that are outside the box.
“Creating this culture extends beyond strictly following laws and regulations. It includes involving both researchers, animal welfare staff, and animals, and is an important foundation for good research results.”
The Dean opened the 3R seminar
Before the lecture, Agneta Holmäng, dean and permit holder, welcomed Adrian and thanked him for his commitment.
“Norecopa has come a long way in its work and has become a role model for us. We are grateful to having Adrian with us and that he is sharing his knowledge with our researchers and staff,” Agneta said when she opened the seminar day.
Michael Axelsson took over after the lecture and updated on, among other things, the Animal Welfare Body’s work and national meetings. He also highlighted Culture of Care as an essential part of all projects, from idea to publication of results.
“We should not be afraid to raise our voice if we see potential for improvement or something that does not seem right,” Michael said.
Find the guidelines
Facts about Norecopa
- Norecopa is Norway’s National Consensus Platform for the advancement of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) in connection with animal experiments. Norecopa was founded on 10 October 2007.
- Professor Adrian Smith, from Norecopa in Norway, is the lead author of the PREPARE guidelines for planning animal research and testing.
- Norecopa maintains an International Meetings Calendar and a Newsfeed, and issues an electronic newsletter 7-8 times a year.
About the Animal Welfare Body and the 3R seminars
- The 3R seminars are arranged annually by the university’s Animal Welfare Body and are aimed for all researchers and staff who work with animal research. Every year, the seminar has different themes within the 3R area. Information about upcoming date for the next opportunity will be sent out, including via Akademiliv.
- If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact the Animal Welfare Body via their e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can also read more about DO on the staff portal https://medarbetarportalen.gu.se/organisation/universitetets-organisation/rad-och-utskott/djurskyddsorganet/
BY: CHARBEL SADER