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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

NC3Rs Summer School 2017

31 August 2017
Students with there hands in the air standing in front of a large turbine

The University of Nottingham hosted the fifth annual NC3Rs Summer School over two and a half days in late July. 

Sixteen NC3Rs-funded PhD students from all over the UK, as well as fourteen students from the host institution and surrounding universities*, enjoyed an informative, entertaining and engaging set of activities over the course of the event.

The Summer School began with a 3Rs-inspired treasure hunt, followed by short presentations by each of the students on their projects. Students were then split into groups and introduced to a task designed to practically apply 3Rs concepts to a real-world scientific problem. Team building games in the evening included some valiant attempts to build free-standing towers from marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti.

Students in a classroom sitting around a table team building

Day two’s morning workshop on communicating science to the public was followed by a session introducing tools for managing a PhD, including advice on writing, time management and careers. NC3Rs staff introduced the students to our Experimental Design Assistant and the ARRIVE guidelines, before this year’s keynote given by Professor Liam Grover on his research developing in vitro models of bone and ligament formation.

A chance to explore Nottingham under the guise of a spooky ghost walk and dinner gave everyone a chance to relax, chat and socialise.

On the last day, the groups gave presentations on their novel solutions to the 3Rs task set at the start of the Summer School. This was followed by talks on the work that the NC3Rs does to promote, fund and advance 3Rs science, as well as a presentation on how to get the most from a PhD.

Students standing in front of a large turbine

As ever the NC3Rs Summer School provided an important opportunity for students to get to know each other, learn transferable skills that will help them to complete their PhDs, and start on the path to becoming ambassadors for the 3Rs as they move forward in their careers.

*this includes Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham, which co-fund the post of Regional Programme Manager, Dr Emma Stringer. Emma supports the application of the 3Rs across the universities, providing expert advice and co-ordinating the sharing of best practice.

Students’ testimonials

“It’s been a blast from day one, because this is a very informal meeting with very formal information, and you get a nice mix of both”

“I found the workshops very interesting, I thought that they would be mainly around the 3Rs, but there was a good variety: a workshop by a career adviser, writing, how to communicate your research and more.”

“It’s been a really lovely Summer School, I found more than what I expected. The networking was great, meeting new people either in your field or totally different areas. You get to hear people talk about their studies, their experiences. In addition to all this, the lectures and seminars are very, very useful.”

Some of our favourite tweets from the week

Great talks all round at the #3RsSummerSchool
Informative and inspirational!

— Dorottya Pólos (@DoryPolos) July 21, 2017

Had a fantastic time at the #3RsSummerSchool last week! Really engaging few days learning how to communicate the 3Rs! @NC3Rs

— Laura Feather (@LauraAJFeather) July 25, 2017

Went to the #3rsSummerSchool. Came back with a twitter account and a great appreciation for @NC3Rs. Ace programme and great people! Thanks!

— Scott P Davies (@ScottPLand) July 21, 2017

Photo gallery from the 2017 Summer School (click to open a larger version of each image)

A student is doing press ups while three students stand looking at him


A student performs an experiment outside


Students in a classroom sitting around a table in discussion


A man in a top hat is giving a speech with an audience in the background


A man in a top hat is giving a speech with an audience in front of him


Students in a classroom sitting around a table with paperwork in front of them in discussion


A bike shed on the right and students walking by on the right


Students with there hands in the air standing in front of a large turbine