Openness to animal research debate wins Reading award
09 December 2022
Taking a positive stance on encouraging debate on campus has helped to win the University of Reading a fourth award from Understanding Animal Research.
The University of Reading took a simple approach in response to protests against the use of animals in research, by welcoming protestors on campus, the judges of the Openness awards said.
The approach, and the resulting discussion in media and social media (such as the story headlined ‘Uni of Reading welcomes animal rights protesters to campus amid anger about animal testing’ on local news website Berkshire Live), was recognised by Understanding Animal Research (UAR) in their annual awards on 5 December 2022.
The University was presented the award at an event at the Royal College of Physicians by former UAR Council member, Dr Claire Cockcroft (pictured centre).
Dr Richard Messer, University Secretary and Home Office licence holder for animal research, said: “Animal research is a vital part of research into some of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and being open about it how we do this work is a critical part of how we explain and discuss our work with members of the public.
“I am grateful for the efforts of all those who are involved in this world-leading research. They work with utmost professionalism to ensure the welfare of animals, and their efforts are leading to scientific discoveries that are making a huge difference to people’s lives.”
This is the University’s fourth UAR award, since 2019, recognising that Reading continues to be a leader in openness, freedom of speech around controversial topics, and lively and mutual dialogue.
The University has led the way in discussing work with animals and communicating the role that they play in research. Recent activity includes the #FishInResearch online campaign, with Reading publishing a video about fish in research, in which Dr Alice Pollitt explained how and why we use zebrafish for important research into cardiovascular health.
The University’s nomination for the 2022 awards followed a protest on campus by animal rights campaigners, in which the University spoke with the group online and in person – and followed up by sharing the protestors’ concerns and ideas with key University staff involved in animal research.
The University plans to build on this activity, with further innovative engagement and communication activity, in the coming months and years.For more details visit the University’s dedicated website about animal research.