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Durham University

Research and Innovation Services

Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board (AWERB)

AWERB is a sub- committee of University Ethics Committee, a joint committee of both Council and Senate. These Standing Orders should be read in conjunction with the Joint Standing Orders of Senate and Council.

Terms of Reference


  • To provide ethical review for any projects involving animals, as defined by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, undertaken by Durham University’s staff and student body or which involves the use of or access to University resources.
  • To consider new applications for Project Licences, amendments to existing Project Licences and additional availabilities, with reference to the justification for the use of animals, and the balance between the likely cost to the animals and the expected benefit, promoting the development and uptake of the three Rs (replacement, Reduction & refinement); and to provide recommendations on approval (or otherwise) to the Named Compliance Officer.
  • To retrospectively review ongoing projects, ensuring continued operation against approved project design and alignment with good practice developments.
  • To determine, monitor and review University policy, procedures and practices in relation to animal work, ensuring strict compliance with any legislative requirements, particularly the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, accepted standards of animal welfare, particularly where those animals are housed within the LSSU, and University policy.
  • To provide assurance to Ethics Advisory Committee and University Council on the University’s animal related activities and the effective management of the governance framework.
  • To promote, where appropriate, the University’s animal work and ensure alignment with its responsibilities against the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK


  • Quality and standards: to advise and assure Ethics Advisory Committee / University Council on the University’s compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.
  • The Board has a responsibility for any work (including but not exclusively research) involving animals undertaken by Durham University’s staff and student body, or which involves the use of or access to University resources or which is sponsored by the University.


  • To review on an annual basis the effectiveness of the Board against its Terms of Reference. Any changes will be proposed in a report to Council at the end of the academic year.


  • To set up Task and Finish Groups as necessary to expedite the Boards business and to develop new policies under the leadership of the University Secretary.

Sub Committees

  • N/A


  • The Board shall receive regular reports from the LSSU user group, LSSU Manager, Management Committee, Media Relations and NACWOs.
  • The Committee shall report to each meeting of University Ethics Committee.

AWERB Membership

AWERB consists of:

  • University ASPA Establishment Licence Holder (Chair)
  • Named Veterinary Surgeon
  • Chair of LSSU User Group
  • LSSU Manager
  • Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers (NACWOs)
  • Named Information Officer
  • Home Office Liaison Contact
  • A Project Licence Holder from each School with an active licence
  • A Personal Licence holder from each school with an active licence (not project licence holders)
  • A Representative from any Schools undertaking significant work outside the act
  • Lay member

The following individuals are included in the circulation for AWERB papers and minutes, and may attend for relevant business:

  • VP Research
  • Head of Biosciences
  • Head of Psychology
  • Executive Dean (Science)

As per University statute 41c the committee shall be quorate when attended by ten members or not less than one-third of the current membership (whichever is the lower figure).

During the absence or unavailability of the Chair, the LSSU Manager is the named nominee authorised to sign documents and other applications for the attention of the Home Office.


  • The Secretary to the Board to be appointed by the Chair in consultation with University Secretary.


  • The Board shall normally meet once per academic Term. It will also interact electronically to progress its business.

Detailed Duties