Neurobiological Research Facility
The SWC’s Neurobiological Research Facility (NRF) comprises dedicated, state-of-the-art facilities designed to give animals the best care possible—both for the animal’s wellbeing and to ensure that excellent science can be delivered. The NRF team are committed to making sure that the animals are healthy and comfortable, and assist Personal Licence holders and the Establishment Licence holder in ensuring that Home Office standards of care are provided.
NRF staff maintains research and breeding stocks and provides husbandry and transgenic services as required. NRF staff assist researchers in applying for personal and project licences and oversee care for all animals according to the requirements specified in the individual project licences. NRF staff also liaise with the Home Office Inspector, who ensures that the building and all spaces within it that are used for animal research meet statutory standards required for the benefit of animals and people.
NRF staff also hold roles with responsibility for ensuring compliance with legal requirements, ensuring that researchers are appropriately trained and kept informed of any changes in regulation or standard practice. A Named Training and Competence Officer oversees mandatory initial training and conducts significant ongoing competency assessment for all researchers as they develop and maintain their skills. A Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer has direct responsibility to the Establishment’s Licence Holder and ensures that animals are well cared for and healthy. Finally, a Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) who is independent (i.e. not employed by the SWC), ensures that medical care of the animals is of the highest standard. The NVS is supported by a team of veterinarians from the Royal Veterinary College to provide 24/7 care if necessary.
Underlying the work of the NRF staff is the Animal Welfare Ethics Review Board (AWERB). This body meets regularly and has oversight of all proposed projects, including pre-submission grant applications. AWERB's primary roles are to minimise harm and suffering, and to ensure that experimentation produces excellent data. AWERB’s subcommittee for the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) promotes ways to minimise use of animals wherever possible, and encourages procedures that provide the best possible conditions for the animals under care.