Introductory training on the 3Rs: time for a fresh approach

The NC3Rs has launched a new video presentation on the 3Rs and their scientific importance, for use in the training of scientists, technicians, students and others involved with animal research. In this blog post, NC3Rs Director of Policy and Outreach Mark Prescott explains why we have developed the presentation and how it can be used to support greater engagement in the 3Rs.

In Europe, the first time many scientists and animal technicians are exposed to the 3Rs is during their mandatory training to be able to perform regulated procedures on animals. During this training the 3Rs are typically only presented as an ethical framework or legal requirement, or in the context of the detailed history of animal protection legislation. At the NC3Rs we feel that this initial training presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the next generation of researchers and technicians how the 3Rs can lead to both better science and better animal welfare by:

  • Accelerating the development and use of models and tools, based on the latest science and technologies, to address important scientific questions without the use of animals.
     
  • Ensuring that animal experiments are appropriately designed and analysed so that they are robust and reproducible, and truly add to the knowledge base.
     
  • Advancing animal welfare to minimise pain and distress and the confounds and variation they can introduce into studies.

In our new video presentation ‘The 3Rs: Their definition, application and importance to your work’ we aim to support a better introduction to the 3Rs that encourages scientists and animal technicians to actively participate in the 3Rs throughout their careers. It is free to access, lasts 18 minutes and can be easily inserted into classroom training sessions or viewed in advance by course attendees. We have avoided making the video too UK-centric, so it should be suitable for training courses in other countries as well as for relevant undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the life sciences sector where inclusion of the 3Rs would be valuable. It is ideal for delivering the 3Rs component of the recently launched British Pharmacological Society curriculum for the use of research animals.

The video includes examples of important factors to consider when implementing each of the ‘Rs’, as well as case studies from NC3Rs-funded scientists who highlight how applying the 3Rs has benefitted their research. Various resources that the NC3Rs provide to support scientists, from research funding to online tools, are also outlined.

To accompany the launch of the video, we have produced an information pack for distribution on licensee training courses. The pack includes postcards describing our key resources and the funding schemes we run in the UK, pens (including a permanent marker for use in the lab), magnets on each of the 3Rs and some handy post-it notes. UK course providers can order these packs free of charge from the NC3Rs Office.

Many thanks to the trainers and specialists who reviewed and commented on the draft video presentation.

The new video presentation can be accessed here.

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