Understanding the basic biology of infections, injuries and chronic diseases is an essential step in finding new treatments and cures. From cancer to malaria and war wounds to heart disease, research using animals forms an important element of Imperial's work.

rats being studied as a model of multiple sclerosis

Research involving animals forms an important element of Imperial's work and is not undertaken lightly. At Imperial College London animals are only used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary and unavoidable.

 We are committed to the principles of the 3Rs (replacement, refinement and reduction) and therefore Imperial scientists always consider alternatives to animal research. Researchers will only proceed when an alternative cannot be found.

Animal technologist transfers mice to a clean cage.

We place good welfare at the centre of all our animal research. Therefore, scientists who work with animals are supported by a team of vets and technicians, who are responsible for maintaining high levels of animal welfare. Staff, training and facilities are all geared towards minimising the suffering of animals.

Animal research is strictly regulated by the Home Office and overseen by ethical committees.

Over 98 per cent of animal research at Imperial involves mice and rats. The remainder, less than two per cent, involves fish; guinea pigs; amphibians, such as frogs; rabbits; and ferrets. 

Imperial aims to be open about research involving animals. Read our policy statement and more about our approach to communicating this research.