Martina’s project utilises the non-technical summaries (NTS) produced by researchers when applying for a ‘project licence’ required by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The licence is one of three required to cover an animal research project in the UK and applications are assessed and licences granted by ASRU (Animals in Science Regulation Unit) within the Home Office. Since 2013, the Home Office has been publishing the NTS in a bid to improve transparency in research. There is currently no requirement to publish all outcomes of animal research projects in the UK, so it is difficult to get an overview of animal research, unless all outcomes of such research, whether positive or negative, are published.
Martina’s project is focusing on ‘non-technical summaries and the use of animal models to sustain respiratory diseases research.’ She will be analysing all respiratory disease research projects that have been awarded since 2013, and will be carrying out a systematic review of the published NTS. Her literature review seeks to elucidate non-animal tools that were perhaps not employed in the projects (despite their availability), identify best practice and available replacement tools in the area and how these might have impacted research outcomes with regards to the 3Rs.
Martina is keen to carry out this research project due to her interest in genetic diseases, specifically Down’s Syndrome. Martina hopes the studentship will allow her to expand her research skills and become more familiar with the impact of regulations and the 3Rs on animal testing, particularly in the field of respiratory diseases which are a leading cause of death in Down’s Syndrome.