The British Pharmacological Society supports in vivo training and research funding.
Animal research is currently essential for the development of new and safe medicines, and the UK is a world leader in this regard. However, in their report, “In vivo sciences in the UK: sustaining the supply of the skills in the 21st Century” the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Biosciences Federation state:
If the UK is going to sustain its competitiveness in attracting global biomedical research we must address the in vivo skills supply. China, India and Singapore are all striving to create the pools of skills required in modern day drug discovery and biomedical research. Several major employers have set up animal facilities in these countries. We cannot let a shortage of in vivo skills be a reason for disinvestment from the UK. Animal welfare will certainly not benefit, since the UK is rightly regarded as a leader in this area.
The Society leads the way in supporting UK in vivo skills through the Integrative Pharmacology Fund (IPF), which was set up in 2004. The £4 million originally donated by AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to the Society has now catalysed the provision of over £20 million for in vivo research and training, including support for 24 new academic staff, over 150 PhD studentships and >500 undergraduate training places.
Since its formation, the IPF has supported two main sets of in vivo teaching courses:
- Short courses in integrative pharmacology and physiology which support the delivery of in vivo skills training to students who do not have the opportunity to learn at their own institutions. These courses are delivered in partnership with the Physiological Society.
- The in vivo training initiative, which supports the delivery of in vivo skills training within undergraduate courses.
The IPF has also previously worked with the BBSRC, MRC and CRUK to co-fund in vivo PhD research students, and with RCUK to support academic fellows. It has collaborated with BBSRC, MRC, HEFC, SFC and the DIUS to provide Capacity Building Awards in Integrative Mammalian Biology (IMB) to six UK universities. These awards are to support and sustain a core of institutions in the UK with the highest quality research and teaching expertise in in vivo integrative pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, and with a long-term commitment to support an exemplary culture of animal welfare. The IMB awards are funding new staff appointments, PhD and MRes studentships and new training courses.
Find out more about our current activities on our Supporting in vivo training page, and find out more about the use of animals in scientific research below: