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Carrying out ethically responsible research involving animals

What you need to do if you are planning to carry out research involving animals.

All research involving animals

All research projects that involve animals or their tissue must be assessed and approved by the University’s Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB). Even if your research doesn’t require official licensing, you must let the University know about it. The term 'animal' is used in its broadest concept.

If you are planning research involving any animals, the first step is to contact our Animal Research Liaison Officer to find out the specific ethical review requirements for your research.

Read our code of ethical practice for research involving animals and our procedure on the ethical review for research involving animals.

We provide more detailed guidance for our researchers in our Wiki pages (requires a University login). If you are using these pages for the first time, contact the Animal Research Liaison Officer to request access.

Using live animals

Most research involving live animals must be licensed by the Home Office.

You will need:

  • an establishment licence (held by the University)
  • a project licence

In addition, anyone who is involved in carrying out procedures will need a personal licence.

Before you can be licensed, you must complete mandatory training. To start the process of getting all the required licences, including the training, contact the Animal Research Liaison Officer.

Using animal tissue

If you are using tissue from a dead animal, you won't need a Home Office licence. However, you must inform the University by completing the ethical review form for teaching and research involving animals.

Observing animals

If your research involves only observing animals, you won’t need a Home Office licence but you should be aware that you might need to get permission from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) or other organisations.

If you don’t know what specific ethical requirements there are for your research project, contact the Animal Research Liaison Officer.

Research outside the UK

If you are planning to carry out research involving animals outside the UK, you must find out about any further requirements this might introduce. Contact the Animal Research Liaison Officer if you need support.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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