Where no alternatives exist and where their use is essential for medical research, Aston University undertakes research using animals. The ethical standards that apply to research work with animals are derived from the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as revised in the EU harmonisation of animal legislation Directive 2010/63/EU, which was implemented in 2012.

Under ASPA, Aston University operates as a regulated Establishment and complies with the regulatory regime through liaison between named office holders and the Animals in Science Regulatory Unit (ASRU). All research work undertaken at Aston University takes place within the personal and project licensing system as specified under ASPA.

At the University level, Aston’s Animal Welfare Ethical Review Body (AWERB) oversees all projects involving animals and reviews all project work undertaken by researchers. The AWERB examines proposed projects in order to evaluate the balance between harms (potential or actual) to animals and the expected benefits (to animals or man) of the proposed work. AWERB approval is a mandatory requirement for licence approval by ASRU.

A second major role of Aston’s AWERB is to provide a forum for consideration of 3Rs aspects of research on animals to ensure that:

  • Animals are replaced with non-animal alternatives wherever possible
  • That the number of animals is reduced to the minimum to achieve the results sought
  • That, for those animals which must be used, procedures are refined as much as possible to minimise their suffering.

Aston University is a signatory to The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, and pledges to offer the public greater information about research that involves animals. Aston also follows the ARRIVE guidelines on reporting of animal research. ARRIVE approaches ethical considerations on the use of animals through ensuring that detail, consistency and clarity of scientific publications based on investigations using animals is sufficient for them to add to the knowledge base.

Further information

Page last updated on: 23/03/2022