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Academia and the 3Rs

The importance of the 3Rs is often emphasised for contract research organisations, but the non-profit academic side of things is frequently overlooked when it comes to discussing reduction, replacement, and refinement.

The 3Rs play an important role in research across the board, and following the guidelines provided by the NC3Rs has considerable advantages. Reducing the number of rodents used allows institutions to increase throughput and conduct more investigations. Replacing standard animal testing can offer new and exciting ways to explore everything from drug side effects to medical treatments. And in addition to enabling more humane testing methods, refinement often means obtaining better data with fewer complicating or inhibiting factors.

However, implementing the 3Rs in the academic sphere is challenging. Funding considerations often get in the way of investment in new equipment and testing methods. There is a pressing need for new exploration of research possibilities and academia is the perfect sphere to undertake that task, but the funding issue needs to be addressed.

The NC3Rs presents some solutions to this problem, including a range of awards for institutions and companies that can further their aims. One notable award is the NC3Rs Prize, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. It is given internationally, on an annual basis, “to highlight an outstanding original contribution to scientific and technological advances in the 3Rs in medical, biological or veterinary sciences published within the last three years.” Other prizes include the Strategic Awards, funding that is offered to specific areas or technology considered to be “important to the 3Rs”.

In addition to prizes, the NC3Rs offers studentships, project grants, and pilot study grants among many other funding incentives for academics looking to further enable compliance with the 3Rs. More details about NC3Rs funding and prizes can be found here.

Institutional workshops, conferences, and events held by the scientific community are frequently attended and participated in by the NC3Rs. These events provide insight and encouragement to academic bodies looking to reinforce 3Rs compliance and invest in new testing tools and techniques. Last year the University of Aberdeen held a workshop that included training and a presentation from the NC3Rs. This demonstrates exactly how enthusiastic higher education institutions are about thoroughly implementing 3Rs compliance; it is essential that this enthusiasm is rewarded and encouraged.

Actual Analytics offers a way for academic institutions to comply with 3Rs requirements and work towards new innovations while obtaining better data and actually saving money in the long term. Our ActualHCA system allows for less invasive testing, retained identity among group-housed rodents, and the acquisition of more data than was ever readily available before.

To read more about the possibilities offered by ActualHCA, click here. For more information on how ActualHCA enables 3Rs compliance, download our free white paper here. If you have any more questions about how Actual Analytics can facilitate compliance with 3Rs guidelines, get in touch here.