Animal research laboratories open their doors for Science Week

For National Science Week, 14-23 March 2014, leading research establishments across the UK will try to answer these heated questions and throw light on what animal research really means by opening the doors of their animal houses to parties of school students in a new project called Open Labs.

Open Labs has been developed by Understanding Animal Research (UAR) in collaboration with nine leading science centres in England and Scotland. This is the first year of a three-year programme which will lead to hundreds of school students experiencing for themselves the reality of animal research, helping them to make up their own minds about this crucial and controversial subject.

Coming at a moment when dozens of British research organizations are preparing to sign the Concordat on Openness, designed to promote better public understanding of why and how animals are used in research in the UK, Open Labs is an excellent example of openness in action.

Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research said: “Many young people’s ideas of what animal research involves do not match up with the facts.  There is no better way of understanding the realities of why and how animals are used in research in this country than seeing the animals for oneself and talking to the staff who look after them.  We hope this project will help young people across the country to make up their own minds about animal research, based on their own experience of an animal house.”

Professor Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council (which is hosting students at three of its facilities), said, “It is extremely important that the citizens of the future understand how vital animal research is for improving human health and this is a great opportunity to share some of the exciting research we do whilst showing how laboratory animals are looked after. In opening our facilities to schools we hope to inspire young scientists and ignite questioning minds while demonstrating how welfare and good animal care is of central importance to good research. ”

Notes for Editors:

For further information:

John Meredith, Understanding Animal Research // +44 (0)20 3675 1230 // +44 (0)7852 442995

If you are a journalist who would like to come along on an Open Labs tour and see the inside of an animal house for yourself, contact John Meredith at

Animal facilities taking part:

King’s College London
Medical Research Council (MRC) facilities:
MRC Centre for Macaques
MRC Harwell, Mary Lyon Centre
MRC NIMR (National Institute for Medical research)
The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
University College London
University of Leicester
University of Manchester
University of Strathclyde

About National Science and Engineering Week 2014

National Science & Engineering Week (NSEW) is a ten-day national programme of science, engineering and technology events and activities across the UK aimed at people of all ages.

About the Concordat on Openness

In October 2012, more than 40 organisations involved with bioscience in the UK signed a Declaration on Openness on Animal Research. They committed to developing a Concordat setting out how they would be more open about the ways in which animals are used in scientific, medical and veterinary research in the UK.

About Understanding Animal Research

Understanding Animal Research is a non-profit organisation that distributes accurate information about the use of animals in medical, veterinary and scientific research and promotes greater openness among universities and organisations using animal models.