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Double win for Manchester in Understanding Animal Research's Openness Awards

07 Dec 2016

The awards celebrated four institutions and one individual who have helped further the way in which animal research is communicated in the United Kingdom

Understanding Animal Research’s third Openness Awards took place on Monday, 5 December at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

The University and Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute were among the four institutions and one individual celebrated for having helped further the way in which animal research is communicated in the United Kingdom.

The judging committee selected examples of best practice that they felt were appropriate to a range of audiences, and which had a component that was original or truly leading in terms of institutional practice.

The University was a clear winner from the several signatories to the Concordat on Openness in Animal Research who had nominated their new webpages for the Website Award. Signed by higher education institutions, bio-industry companies, charities and research councils, the Concordat pledges transparency and public engagement on research involving animals.

The Concordat informs the University's standards and governance. We also have a proud culture of care among our staff working with animals, based on a strong collaborative environment and a shared collegiate philosophy. Innovative research techniques are willingly shared, creating a highly effective research environment. We apply the same standards and governance regardless of whether we are working with animals in a laboratory, or involved with conservation work in the field.

The judges concluded: "Information was accessible and appropriate to a wide range of audiences, but layered and easy to navigate. The material covered was extensive and of an excellent standard, and the infographic and Q&A sections are particularly impressive."

The Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute based at The University of Manchester took The Public Engagement Activity Award for their museum event engaging public audiences with cancer research. The judges commented: "The event was hands-on and interactive, with a public audience that was not selected or pre-arranged. The extent of planning and consideration that the initiative must have involved was particularly impressive."

Institute Director Professor Richard Marais said: “I am delighted by this award and very proud of the team which took part in this and also in other public engagement events. It has been a fantastic collaborative effort between PhD students, scientific staff and technical staff from our animal facility.”

The awards saw the announcement of a new recognition process for individual champions of openness, based on internal awards to be held within signatory organisations. Winners of these organisational awards will be eligible for nomination to future Openness Awards in the Outstanding Individual category, and more information about how to develop awards for openness within organisations will be available to signatories in 2017.