Notices

  • Thursday 7 December 2017
  • NO. 5189
  • VOL. 148

Consultative Notices

Harris Manchester College

Revised Statutes

The Committee on Statutes before the Privy Council, acting under authority delegated to it by Council, is minded to give consent on behalf of the University to the revised statutes of Harris Manchester College, approved by the Governing Body on 4 October 2017, in so far as such consent is required by section 7 (2) of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1923. The consent of the committee to the amendments to the statutes will be effective 15 days after publication unless written notice of a resolution, signed by at least 20 members of Congregation, calling upon Council to withhold that consent, has been given to the Registrar by noon on Monday, 18 December.

The effects of the amendments are to remove the provisions regarding the tenure of the Principal's appointment and to specify that those details be contained in the college's bylaws.

General Notices

Gazette publication arrangements

This is the final Gazette of Michaelmas term.

The first Gazette of Hilary term will be published on 11 January. The usual deadlines will apply.

Committee on Animal Care and Ethical Review

Annual Report 2016–17

The University's local ethical review process was set up in 1999 to ensure that all aspects of research involving animals conforms to the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, revised in 2012 and commonly referred to as A(SP)A. The Animal Care and Ethical Review Committee (ACER) is required to report annually to Council and, through it, to Congregation. The ACER Committee, supported by six Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Boards (AWERBs) at cross-department and faculty level, provides assurance to the Establishment Licence Holder on the ethical treatment and welfare of animals used in conjunction with the medical and zoological research projects that are undertaken in departments across the University. This report summarises the range of work carried out and the support measures in place to ensure compliance with A(SP)A and the requirements of the Home Office Animals in Science Regulation Unit.

A(SP)A requires that all research using animals is properly justified, that any viable alternatives to their use are fully considered, and in all cases where animals are subjected to invasive or non-invasive procedures that any suffering is kept to a minimum. The University's Animal Use Policy requires that everyone whose research includes the use of animals is proactive in pursuing refinement, reduction and replacement (usually referred to as the 3Rs) in procedures involving live animals wherever possible and that they engage fully in the approved ethical process of review and monitoring of animal-based research work. The Animal Use Policy also commits the University to providing standards of accommodation and care that exceed, wherever possible, the minimum standards required by national legislation. The responsibility for provision and maintenance of the accommodation and facilities is devolved to the Director of Biomedical Services (BMS) who, with animal care staff and researchers, is charged with ensuring that animal facilities are managed and maintained efficiently and to as high a standard as possible. The University also employs a number of Veterinary Surgeons, some of whom are designated Named Veterinary Surgeons (NVS) under the Home Office Establishment Licence. The Veterinary Surgeons liaise with animal care staff and researchers and ensure that all aspects of animal health and welfare are considered at all stages of research projects. The Veterinary Surgeons are also closely involved in the local ethical review process for project licence applications.

The Veterinary Surgeons continue to engage in a programme of refinement initiatives to promote best practice, integration of new techniques and resources, and a comprehensive process for the retrospective review of project licences. The Veterinary Surgeons also contribute to Departmental Animal Welfare Meetings and participate in discussion on welfare issues or concerns, and provide timely updates to the research community on various topical and practically relevant issues which relate to animal health, compliance and promotion of the 3Rs. The Veterinary Team contribute to and assist researchers in order to resolve animal health issues related to procedures and clinical disease. During the year the Veterinary Team have continued to oversee the supply of medicines and surgical equipment, have provided certificates for the transfer of animals that have been moved to or arrived from other establishments, and have participated in training courses, workshops and conferences nationally and overseas.

The Home Office Inspectors have visited the animal facilities during the current reporting year and have maintained their practice of unannounced visits. During the period of the report there were no issues associated with non-compliance reported in respect of the facilities or the schedule of premises for the University. The Home Office Inspectors have also participated in AWERB meetings and training courses designed to assist applicants in writing project licence applications.

The Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Bodies

There are seven AWERBS1 that consider applications for new project licences, amendment requests for current project licences, retrospective reports on current project licences and any other welfare and ethical review matters relevant to animal-based research involving staff working at the University. In addition there is a process for the review of collaborative projects in animal-related research that fall outside of A(SP)A. Research that is covered by the European Directive 63/2010 and collaborative ventures involving Oxford-based researchers that take place elsewhere in the world are reviewed and recommendations made to ensure compliance with local ethical and welfare standards. Collaborative research projects that fall outside the jurisdiction of A(SP)A and the EU Directive are required to demonstrate that they meet a similar or acceptable standard of welfare and ethics that apply to research carried out in Oxford.

The Animal Care and Ethical Review (ACER) Committee is the overarching ethical review board and acts in collaboration with the seven AWERBs and a subcommittee that considers the application of the principles of the 3Rs in research. The ACER Committee considers project licence applications that have severe category protocols or employ novel techniques in the type of research undertaken, and any projects that use what are deemed to be sensitive species such as non-human primates. The local or departmental AWERBs review project licence applications that involve mild or moderate protocols in the planned programme of research.

AWERB Hub

An initiative by the national Animals in Science Committee (ASC), a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office, to set up a series of AWERB Hubs saw Oxford nominated as a hub for nine research establishments in the region. The concept is to provide a discussion forum for sharing best practice, information and collaboration. In practice it has proved difficult to coordinate a range of quite different establishments and organisations, both in terms of size and research facilities, to achieve a common aim or viewpoint. Participation in the scheme will continue and a meeting is planned in the forthcoming year.

Home Office Licences

The Home Office computer-based application system, ASPeL, is fully operational and all Personal Licences at Oxford are managed through the online system. Oxford's participation in the early adopter programme to extend the online application process to Project Licences proved successful and the majority of new applications during the reporting period were made online. As paper-based Project Licences are renewed the applications will be made through the online system. The Home Office Administration Unit (HOAU) in BMS continue to assist applicants as they submit their approved application to the Home Office Inspectors using ASPeL.

Personal Licences

During the period of the report the number of Personal Licences held by researchers at Oxford ranged from a minimum of 1,215 to a maximum of 1,298 licences. The Personal Licence authorises the holder to undertake various procedures according to their individual training and supervision qualifications. Each Personal Licence Holder is required to qualify at Home Office-approved training courses before being permitted to handle or perform surgical procedures on animals. Animal care staff also are required to undertake training on approved courses run by the Institute of Animal Technology in order to fulfil their duties. Home Office-approved training courses are run within the BMS at regular intervals. During the year a total of 222 new Personal Licences were issued to University staff and 240 Personal Licences were revoked for staff and students who ended their courses, completed their research or moved to other establishments.

Project Licences

There were a maximum of 159 active Project Licences held by researchers at the University during the period of the report compared to 156 active Project Licences during the previous reporting period. Project Licences authorise the holder to undertake a research project that has clearly defined objectives and anticipated outcomes and each is valid for a period of five years. Project Licence Holders are responsible to the Home Secretary for the compliance and conduct of all researchers working under their project and for compliance with the closely defined procedures that may be carried out in pursuit of their research goals. The University's Home Office Liaison Officers in BMS are involved throughout the Project Licence applications process in their role as secretary to the AWERBs and provide guidance to applicants in the initial stages of drafting a new project licence prior to the Vet and Named Animal Care and Welfare Officer (NACWO) review.

During the reporting period a total of 37 new project applications were considered and approved by the AWERBs compared to 33 applications in 2015–16. A total of 58 amendment requests for existing projects were reviewed and approved compared to 48 amendment requests in the previous year. During the year there were non-compliance issues in relation to two project licences; these were dealt with administratively by the Home Office and the Establishment Licence Holder.

The distribution of active project licences between the AWERBs at the end of the reporting period was as shown in the table below.

Animal Welfare and Ethical Review BodyTotal (159)2% PPLs
Animal Care and Ethical Review Committee 33 21
Clinical Medicine 78 49 
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics with Experimental Psychology

19   

12 
Pathology    12   
Pharmacology    14    9
Zoology    3 2

Processing time for applications and amendments includes the internal review by the Named Veterinary Surgeon, NACWO, AWERBs, and final granting by the Home Office. During the period of this report the average processing time was 84 working days for original Project Licence applications and 30 working days for a Project Licence amendment.

Species used and Severity of Procedures

Animals are used in research only where there is no viable or satisfactory alternative available. All projects are subject to assessment by internal review within the University and by the Home Office where the potential benefits are considered against the adverse effects and potential cost to the animals concerned. The University pursues research using a number of non-animal methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture, cell and molecular biology, and research with human subjects. These methods continue to be used and integrated into research projects wherever possible and appropriate and new technology will be incorporated if it is deemed to offer a useable alternative; however, animal experimentation continues to remain necessary in certain circumstances where technology is currently lacking.

Projects where the use of animals is necessary include research into the prevention and treatment of human diseases (including cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, Parkinson's, diabetes and heart failure); and the study of host–parasite interactions (for example in malaria) continues to be an area where it is necessary to understand the interaction between systems (including the effects which chemical or neural changes may have on the circulation, respiration or other functions). Similarly, where it is necessary to study behaviour or complex brain functions, transplantation and musculoskeletal research, the use of animals is still necessary, though restricted to the minimum number required. The involvement of a broad range of individuals in the ethical review process, including lay members and animal care staff, ensures that it remains proactive in pursuing the adoption of best practice, promoting a culture of care and encouraging education and training to enhance staff skills and raise awareness of ethical issues.

A variety of different species of animals are used in research projects at the University as may be seen from the table below:

Species   Number used in 2016 Number used in 2015 
Mouse  200,157  207,216 
Fish (Zebrafish)  14,737  16,051 
Rat  2,174  2,363 
Frog  226  322 
Guinea Pig  81  81 
Ferret  29  38 
Rabbit 
Non-Human Primates 

The actual severity of procedures reported during 2016, drawn from the Return of Procedures forms sent to the Home Office, were as shown in the diagram below:

University of Oxford Return of Procedures 2016: Severity
Mild 30% 
Sub-threshold  48% 
Moderate  19% 
Non-recovery  2% 
Severe  1% 
Total  100% 

Training

A comprehensive range of training courses are provided by BMS for researchers to gain Home Office-accredited qualifications in procedures involving animals. The courses are run at regular intervals throughout the year and are designed to cater for delegates within the University and from other establishments. The Veterinary Team teach the majority of  the accredited modular Laboratory Animal Management and Welfare course (successful completion of which is a requirement for  new personal licence holders), which run four times a year, either delivering lectures or running practical sessions. The Home Office Liaison Contacts provide guidance on the Ethical Review Process for new Project Licence applicants. The adoption of WebLearn to host training materials has proved successful and students are able to access pre-reading and guidance information prior to attendance at the course. The training courses have achieved accreditation from the Federation of Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) which provides parity with European training standards and programmes. The lead trainer, the two Named Veterinary Surgeons and a member of Biomedical Services act as Named Training and Competence Officers under the Home Office Establishment licence, and provide additional support for licence holders and assurance for the University that appropriate training is undertaken. It is intended to extend the range of training provided to include experimental design and statistical analysis in the syllabus.

During the year a total of 242 delegates attended and passed the Modular Training Courses for researchers and 37 delegates attended the Module 5 Course designed for those intending to apply for Project Licences.

The Oxford Online Supervision and Competency Recording database (OSCR) for all Personal Licensees continues to be used and records details of the training and levels of competence of Project Licence Holders and Personal Licence Holders who work with animals. Animal care staff and technicians and Veterinary Surgeons are included in the record and an updated report on staff capabilities may be obtained at any given time in support of review or compliance matters. There remains in place a programme of regular audits of the information held in the system and all licence holders have to be endorsed by a competent trainer or supervisor in order to be able to complete any type of procedure and animal care work.

In addition to training courses and recording of competence, members of the HOAU within BMS attend the Departmental Animal Welfare Meetings each term to promote best practice, the 3Rs aspects of ongoing research, and to discuss the importance of compliance with A(SP)A. Training and information delivered at the meetings included a number of topics such as Annual Return of Procedure Guidance, the Refinement Initiative, access to SharePoint and available resources, Effective Breeding according to the Home Office GAA toolkit, International Collaboration on animal research projects and various training and education updates.

Engagement with other organisations

The University of Oxford remains a signatory (one of over 250) to the statement supporting the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

In February 2017 the Medical Sciences Division and BMS hosted the third annual Oxford 3Rs Research Day in the Department of Pharmacology. The research day was attended by some 60 delegates including Project Licence Holders, Personal Licence Holders, Veterinary Surgeons, animal welfare staff and others with an interest in animal-based research. The programme included presentations and discussion sessions on a variety of subjects including replacement technology, the importance of public engagement in animal research, non-invasive methods in animal research, and experimental design. A 3Rs Resource on SharePoint is maintained and continues to support the improved engagement of researchers in highlighting advances and developments in the 3Rs.

The 3Rs Sub-Committee and the Home Office Administration Unit have continued to work during the year with the National Centre on the 3Rs (NC3Rs)3 to promote best practice and to incorporate the 3Rs principles in animal research projects. The Chairman of the 3Rs Sub-Committee is a panel member for the NC3Rs Grant Assessment Panel and has participated in exchange visits and briefings to NC3Rs coordinated projects. Oxford students and researchers are actively encouraged to participate in NC3Rs grant programmes, which culminated in the award of an NC3Rs grant to one Oxford-based researcher this year.

BMS hosted a visit to the Biomedical Services Building by the Chair and members of the Animals in Science Committee, an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office, which comprises a chair and 12 members drawn from science, industry, animal welfare organisations and lay persons.

Visits to animal areas of the Biomedical Services Building by family members of staff continues to be popular and are organised on an ad hoc basis. The option for family members to visit the facility has been extended to researchers engaged in project work at the establishment.

This year Understanding Animal Research (UAR) produced a 360-degree tour of the primate unit along with interviews regarding the nature of the work and its scientific value. The completed tour along with film of some other establishments may be seen on the internet at www.labanimaltour.org.


1This includes ACER. The number of AWERBS was raised from six to seven, following ACER's review of AWERB efficiency, in order to divide the Clinical Medicine AWERBs into the Old Road and John Radcliffe AWERBs to facilitate a better spread of workload.

2Four of the peak figure of 159 licences expired during the reporting period and were not continued.

3The NC3Rs is the UK's national organisation which leads the discovery and application of new technologies and approaches to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Appointments

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

Robert Smith, PhD Camb, Associate Professor of Quantum Information, Department of Physics, and Fellow of Worcester, from 1 April 2018 until 31 March 2023.

Social Sciences

Dr Lisa Holmes, BSc Linc, PhD Lough, has been appointed Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education from 1 January 2018. Dr Holmes will be a fellow of Green Templeton.

Visiting Professorships

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences

Professor Paul Taylor, PhD Camb, Winthrop Professor and Chair in Ocean Engineering, Western Australia, Visiting Professor in Engineering Science, for a period of 3 years from 27 November 2017

Electoral Boards

Composition of an Electoral Board

The composition of the electoral board to the post below, proceedings to fill which are currently in progress, is as follows:

Professorship of Bibliography and Modern Book History

  Appointed by
Sir Rick Trainor, PVC, in the chair   The Vice-Chancellor1
Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus ex officio
Professor Paulina Kewes  Jesus 
Professor Henry Woudhuysen  Council 
Professor Paul Eggert (Chicago)  Council 
Professor Karen O'Brien  Humanities Division 
Professor Ros Ballaster  Faculty of English Language and Literature 
Professor Leah Price (Harvard)  Faculty of English Language and Literature 
Professor Seamus Perry  Faculty of English Language and Literature 
Mr Richard Ovenden  Faculty of English Language and Literature 

1Appointed by the Vice-Chancellor under the provisions of Statute IX, Sect 10 and 11.