Even where the benefits of the work are agreed, the likelihood that these will be achieved needs to be considered.
There are a range of factors that can influence the success of the project, and it is particularly important that such
issues are addressed at an institutional level so that appropriate safeguards and practical responses can be put in
place locally. As a result, the ERB might advise on requirements for staff training or particular facilities, equipment
or expertise that the researchers and their institution need to address; or, if the project involves a novel method or
is otherwise of special concern (e.g. involving severe procedures), the ERB could request a pilot study and regular
feedback, especially in the early stages of the work.
The boxes below list some points to consider when thinking about both the potential benefits of a project and the
likelihood that the benefits will be achieved (Smith and Boyd 1991; APC 2003; Smith et al. [FELASA] 2007).
Benefits: key questions for all ERB members
Have the project application and ERB discussions made clear the objectives of the project and the benefits,
and how they will be achieved in practice?
Are you, and the ERB as a whole, satisfied that everything possible has and will be done to maximise the
likelihood that the project will have significant benefits and that these will be taken forward in a positive way?
Benefits: points to consider
Are the following aspects clearly explained and addressed?
Features that makes the work original, relevant, timely and realistic.
If the project is part of ongoing work, the progress made previously.
If the project involves repetition of previous studies, why repetition is needed.
The project"s links to, and implications for, other areas of research.
How the results will be taken forward and used.
Arrangements for publishing or otherwise disseminating the findings.
Factors influencing the likelihood of success
How the selected scientific approach and animal model(s) will help in achieving the objectives.
Steps taken to ensure validity of experimental design, e.g. use of optimum numbers of animals, neither too
many nor too few; and appropriate use of control and experimental groups and statistical analyses.
Resources available to support the project, such as:
whether appropriate facilities, for example, for animal housing and husbandry, laboratory space and
equipment, are available to meet the requirements of the project, and whether any special arrangements
the project team"s experience of the methods and whether there are any needs for training; if so, how the
necessary competencies will be ensured
whether other resources for the project, such as staff time and funding, are sufficient to meet its aims.
Where the proposed work sits in relation to other research in the field.
Any opportunities for consultation/collaboration with others working in the field, to learn from their
experiences, optimise the experimental approach and avoid unnecessary duplication.