Innovative veterinary science teaching and research platform wins national award

Tāwharau Ora School of Veterinary Science Senior Technician Neil Ward and colleagues from Information Technology Services have been recognised for their work to provide a platform that fosters collaboration, and that can reduce animal involvement in research, testing and teaching.

The team is the recipient of the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand John Schofield 3Rs Award, jointly presented by the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) and the Australian & New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART (NZ)).

NAEAC Chair Professor Nat Waran says, “The concept of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement) is to improve animal welfare and replace and reduce live animals where possible, refine study design, handling, and housing of animals to improve life experiences.

“These principles are championed by NAEAC and ANZCCART (NZ) and evidence of significant developments in relation to the 3Rs are recognised through this prestigious NZ award given to worthy applicants, such as Neil and his team.”

The Palmerston North-based team have demonstrated their commitment to the 3Rs through their development of an innovative web-based database application to enable teachers and researchers to share samples for use in research, testing and teaching.

The web page acts as a communication tool that facilitates connection between researchers within Massey. Approved members of the user group can browse the database for samples of interest to them and then communicate directly with the donor lab.

While the tool is currently only available for Massey staff, Mr Ward hopes to complete the process to open the platform to all users in New Zealand.

“The purpose of the site is to provide a communication portal to link donors of samples with requesters who may wish to make use of suitable material,” Mr Ward says.

“Teachers and researchers can join the community on the website and subsequently post surplus samples available at the end of their project, or to search for other donors to make a request to share. Through this database, we hoped to develop a practical and easy to use solution that aligns with the 3R principles,”

This is the second time that Mr Ward and his team have been presented with this award, the first time this has happened in the awards history and the sixth Massey recipient since 2003.

The chair of the ANZCCART NZ board, Pat Cragg says:

“On behalf of the ANZCCART (NZ) Board, I congratulate Neil and his team on both gaining this biennial 3Rs Award and developing a pathway for sharing samples. I am aware that other New Zealand institutions have sample sharing approaches and encourage all to develop these further and ready themselves for linking into a national system.”

As well as congratulating Neil Ward and his team on winning the $10,000 award, NAEAC and ANZCCART (NZ) commends all the other applicants on the quality of their submissions.

Source: Massey University  

Originally published by The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee.


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog