Animal Science Meeting 2015 Report

The Animal Science Meeting (ASM) discussed updates to personal licensing applications as well as changes brought about by the implementation of the European Directive 2010/63, including statistical collection and the creation of Named Officer roles.

The 13th Animal Science Meeting was jointly hosted by the Royal Society of Biology and the Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) of the Home Office on Friday 11th December 2015. The meeting brought together Home Office staff and stakeholders from around the country, including academics, animal welfare experts and representatives from industry and charity.

This one-day event included presentations from ASRU staff as well as perspectives from individuals in institutions working under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA).

The morning session was chaired by Dr Judy MacArthur Clark FRSB (Head, Animals in Science Regulation Unit), who led discussions on ASRU's activities in 2015, priorities for 2016 and the planned roll out of ASPeL in 2016.

A highly interactive workshop followed during the morning, focusing on the Project Licence (PPL) application process and assessment by inspectors. Delegates were asked to provide feedback on a range of issues relating to the PPL application process. Discussion covered how well the application process fits within the demands of academia and industry; the clarity of instructions provided during application and useful resources to assist applicants.

The second half of the workshop focused on the process of assessment of applications by inspectors and highlighted the importance of the relationship between applicants and their assigned inspector. It was identified that, whilst the relationship with assigned inspectors is highly-valued, there is also appetite for assessments to be thematically linked, rather than always considered by establishment. Finding the balance between these different approaches was identified as a challenge for the future. The results of this session will be used in ASRU's review of the application procedure, alongside further stakeholder engagement in early 2016.

The afternoon session, chaired by Professor Dominic Wells FRSB (Chair of the Animal Science Group, Royal Society of Biology), featured presentations from individual Named Training and Competency Officers (NTCO) or Named Information Officers (NIO) at institutions of differing sizes to discuss their roles.

Dr Martin Vinnell (Director of Health, Safety and Regulated Services, University of Cambridge) gave his perspective of working at a large institution. Dr Vinnell described the challenges associated with fulfilling the Named Person roles in an institution holding over 1500 personal licences. He emphasised that robust protocols for provision of training and assessment of competency are essential to ensure that the process is scalable for a very large number of licenses and licence holders.

The NIO and Home Office Liaison Contact (HOLC), at the University of St Andrews gave the perspective of working at a medium sized institution, holding <100 personal licences for a wide range of species. [download presentation]

Adrian Woodhouse of Envigo spoke about the provision of training for animal technicians and the role of NTCO in an industry setting. [download presentation]

The final session of the day considered the Annual Statistics published by the Home Office. ASRU colleagues reviewed the 2014 statistics, highlighting the overall reduction in the number of procedures but also the changes in reporting methodology introduced for 2014. This included clearer distinction between breeding and experimental procedures as well as the reporting of Actual Severity of procedures. A workshop then offered an opportunity to provide feedback on problems encountered during submission of statistics.

The meeting was once again a great success and continued to provide an excellent opportunity for improved exchange of information to enhance working relationships between those engaged in animal science and the regulators in ASRU.

For more information about the 2016 ASM, please contact:


Page updated 19.04.16