Leaders in Openness 2020 – 2023 Announced

8 December 2020

Posted by: UAR news team

Category: Communications & media

Leaders in Openness 2020 – 2023 

Understanding Animal Research is delighted to announce that the University of Edinburgh has become a Leader in Openness for 2020 – 2023. 

The Leaders in Openness standard recognises Concordat signatories that consistently achieve and embed good practice in their animal research communications. These organisations are essential to moving the conversation around animal research forward and driving change in the sector. Through Leaders in Openness, we hope to share their practices more widely, supporting other organisations to take greater steps towards openness. 

Leaders in Openness status is given for three years after which organisations may re-apply. The University of Edinburgh submitted an excellent application outlining the many steps they have taken to proactively engage with the general public, media, university staff, and students. 

The university’s animal research webpages are detailed and engaging. Highlights include the introductory video, latest news on animal research, 3Rs examples, and the FAQs. Engagement around the balance of harms and benefits in animal research is a subject that many organisations struggle with, but Edinburgh has made great strides by openly explaining severity levels and giving multiple examples of each. 

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The university’s media and public engagement around animal research is also exemplary. Animal research is mentioned in specific press releases, media training is made available to staff, and journalists are invited to visit and film the animal facilities. A wide range of activities are also employed to educate the public including the local community, schools, and politicians. 

Leaders in Openness submissions are assessed by a public panel, and by two peers from the life-sciences sector. A small selection of comments from the reviewers include: 

“In my view, the website is a leading example for other institutions to follow.” 

“Outstanding. Wide range of engagement: science festivals; community fairs; school outreach; Politician visits to facilities; science outreach centre – animal behaviour toolkit for teachers (adapted for home schooling).” 

“This institution shows outstanding work on public engagement. They have shown active engagement with the media over the last few years. They have a comprehensive website and a multifaceted programme to provide information to staff and students. I strongly recommend them as a Leader in Openness.”

The University of Edinburgh joins the list of the 13 Concordat signatories that were appointed Leaders in Openness last year.