We have launched a new resource on choosing contractors for animal research, especially for preclinical studies involving dogs and macaques. The PDF presentation provides advice on appropriate animal welfare standards for researchers applying for grant funds from the major UK bioscience funding bodies. It is based on the extensive experience of NC3Rs staff in reviewing proposals involving the use of higher mammals submitted to the MRC, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust and other funders (over 750 proposals reviewed since 2004) and the long-standing policies of the funders developed jointly with the NC3Rs.
Many funders run drug discovery, translation or innovation schemes. It is common practice for researchers applying to such schemes to outsource the regulatory toxicology and safety pharmacology studies to contract research organisations. Research proposals for other types of study may also involve third party laboratories, for instance where the applicants own research institute does not possess the animal model of interest, or the required technology, infrastructure or expertise.
Applicants contracting out animal research or collaborating with other laboratories (regardless of species) are advised to view the presentation well in advance of submitting their application, especially if the intention is to place the work outside of the UK. Animal welfare standards vary considerably around the world, and the UK funders expect standards equivalent to those in the UK, regardless of where in the world the research is conducted. Acting on the advice given in the presentation will help to avoid additional work for all involved in the peer review process, and to prevent delays to applications, awards and funded studies.