Animal research at Swansea University

The University is fully committed to the widespread promotion and implementation of the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement and Replacement) and is a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research

In order to to conduct high quality research, it is sometimes necessary for animals to be involved. Our research involving animals is undertaken with the highest standards of animal care and is only conducted when there are no feasible alternatives.

At Swansea University, some research involving animals is conducted in the fields of animal welfare, behaviour and cognition, ecology and conservation, immunology and neuroscience.

The work our scientists undertake is governed and regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). ASPA regulates procedures that are carried out on ‘protected animals’ for scientific purposes that may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. ‘Protected animals’ are defined as all living vertebrates, other than a human, including certain immature forms and any living cephalopod.

The official Swansea University policy on the involvement of animals in research can be found here


Swansea University have an Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB) which oversees any research or teaching which involves interventions with animals within the University facilities or in the field. The AWERB is comprised of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including vets, animal welfare officers, scientists and lay people. Its role is to:

  • promote the ethical considerations of animal use;
  • ensure that the principles embodied in the 3Rs are implemented;
  • ensure high standards of animal care and welfare.

Applications to hold project licences (which are ultimately reviewed, authorised and issued by the Home Office) must first be reviewed and approved by the University’s AWERB. The procedure for AWERB review of licence applications is shown here: AWERB review of PPL applications.

In addition, we have an ethical review process for the use of animals in scientific research not regulated under ASPA because the research does not involve regulated procedures (for example, behavioural and observational projects).

As well as reporting to the Establishment Licence holder, the activities of AWERB are also reported to our Research Integrity: Ethics & Governance Committee (URIEG). This Committee sets standards and ensures the University meets its obligations to comply with regulations that govern research. URIEG conducts an annual review of the activities of the AWERB and reports to Senate.

The AWERB may be contacted via

Further information on the University's work with animals can be found at:

Roles and responsibilities

In accordance with ASPA, Swansea University has the following roles and responsibilities, all of which work together to ensure the highest standards of animal care and welfare: