Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) regulates procedures that are carried out on animals for scientific or educational purposes that may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. The ASPA requires that licences are obtained for conducting work with protected animals, which cover the person, the project and the place. Useful guidance on the operation of the ASPA is available at:

The Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body at Heriot-Watt University is responsible for overseeing the use of animals. An Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body is a legal requirement under the ASPA.

The Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body ensures that:

  • all use of animals in the establishment is carefully considered and justified;
  • proper account is taken of all possibilities for reduction, refinement and replacement of animals in scientific research (the 3Rs principles); and
  • high standards of accommodation and care are achieved.

It is essential that the necessary licences (establishment, project and personal) are obtained before conducting work with protected animals at the University.

If you are making a project licence application, this must be submitted to the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body for approval before submission to the Home Office. Please contact the Chair and Clerk if you are considering making a project licence application so we can provide assistance from an early stage.

It is essential if you are conducting research at another establishment (in the UK or another country) or are part of a project where collaborators (in the UK or another country) are performing animal work that ethical approval is obtained for this work so that we can ensure that other institutions are complying with relevant legislation.

The Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body reports directly to the University Research Ethics Committee, which reports directly to the University Committee for Research and Innovation.

Key contacts

Chair: Professor Helinor Johnston, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (

Clerk: Jolanda Currie, Administrator for Registry and Academic Support (

Key information

Jolanda Currie