Innovative veterinary science teaching and research platform wins national award

The team made up of Neil Ward and his colleagues from Information Technology Services, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University 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)).

“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,” says NAEAC chair professor Nat Waran.

The Palmerston North-based team within the Tāwharau Ora School of Veterinary Science, and Information Technology Services 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.

Mr Neil Ward and Professor Natalie Waran, NAEAC Chair.
Mr Neil Ward and Professor Natalie Waran, NAEAC Chair.

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 University 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.  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,” Mr Ward says.

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.

“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.” says the ANZCCART NZ board chair, Pat Cragg.

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

Background to NAEAC, ANZCCART

NAEAC is a statutory committee established under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to provide independent advice to the minister responsible for animal welfare on issues relating to the use of animals in research, testing, and teaching.

ANZCCART is an independent body which was established to provide leadership in considering ethical, social and scientific issues relating to the use and wellbeing of animals in research and teaching; and to provide a focus for information and advice concerning the ethical and scientific use of animals in research and teaching. In New Zealand, ANZCCART comprises representatives from the research, animal welfare and education communities, and is a standing committee of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

More information 

Australian & New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching


Who to contact

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Last reviewed: 09 Aug 2023