At Manchester we're committed to research excellence and impact, as we look to bring positive change in societies and environments across the globe. To pursue this commitment, we accept that animals may be involved in our research – but only when it is essential and carried out with the highest level of ethical conduct.
To make the scientific progress needed to alleviate human and animal suffering and benefit society, our research must be supported by an understanding of disease mechanisms and the study of immunology, genetics and cell biology.
Research can only involve animals where there is absolutely no alternative and must follow UK regulation, which is among the strictest in the world.
Under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA), three licences need to be held to conduct research on a protected animal: an establishment licence (PEL), personal licence (PIL), and a project licence (PPL). Every proposal must undergo an ethical review before it is approved by the Home Office and the project licence is granted.
Transparency and accountability
We ensure that all our work is fundamental to the understanding of human and animal health, and we continually drive forward accountability and openness in animal research.
We have developed a University strategy for communications and engagement (PDF, 216KB) to help guide us at all stages of animal research and maintain our reputation as one of the most transparent and accessible institutions on the issue.
Our pledge to openness
As a signatory to the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research, our University, along with 127 other higher education institutions, bio-industry companies, charities and research councils, is committed to transparency and public engagement on animal research.
Our University, a 'Leader in Openness' for animal research, is fully dedicated to the Concordat's four committments. As an institution, we will:
- be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research;
- enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals;
- be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals;
- report on progress annually and share our experiences.
European Animal Research Association
In 2019, the University's communications lead for animal research joined a European Animal Research Association (EARA) working group. Comprised of specialists from across Europe, the group drafted a template for Non-Technical Summaries – the section of a project license accessible to lay audiences – as part of the European Commission's new commitment on openess and accessibility in animal research.
In 2020, the European Commission included the EARA guidance document (PDF, 184KB), produced by the working group, in materials supplied to member states before new reporting obligations began.
Animal welfare in research
At the University, we've established standards and governance for animal research based upon a culture of care and ethical conduct.
The Animal Welfare Review Body (AWERB) is our University committee responsible for the review and approval of animal research projects. AWERB can refuse or order changes to a research programme if it doesn't meet our standards for animal wellbeing. You can find more information on our ethical review process page.
Innovative research techniques are actively sought and promoted, as we look to reduce, refine, and replace the use of animals in research. The University's work in this area is highlighted in our '3R' case studies.
Our pledge to a culture of care
We have a proud culture of care among our staff working with animals, based on collaboration and the highest standard of animal husbandry. That is why we are committed to pro-actively building and maintaining a sustainable environment where animal welfare, human wellbeing, scientific quality and transparency with stakeholders and the public are paramount.
This commitment reflects our desire to contribute to The University of Manchester’s vision of advancing education, knowledge, and wisdom, for the good of society
Improving arthritis treatments
We're investigating how body clocks might regulate the process underlying arthritis to improve treatments.
Tackling inflammatory bowel disease
We're looking at how immune system cells suppress intestinal conditions to prevent inflammatory bowel disease.
Reducing symptoms of Parkinson's
We're seeking less invasive treatments to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Searching for a stroke wonder drug
We're working on developing a potentially game-changing drug that could finally lead to stroke treatments.
Fighting heart failure
We're looking at inhibiting genes in order to stop the damaging effects of heart failure – and perhaps prevent it.
Gene therapy for blindness
We're looking at reprogramming the eye's light receptor cells in order to treat certain types of blindness.
Animal research policy
Read our official policy on the use of animals in our research.
Download our policy
Find out about our animal research at Manchester.
What is animal research?
Learn the facts about animal research in the UK.
Outcomes of Manchester's animal research
Find out how our scientists are tackling major global health concerns.
Have a look inside the University's animal unit.
Take the tour