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Laboratory mouse at MRC Harwell

Virtual 360° tour of MRC Harwell mouse house wins openness award

6 Dec 2017

MRC Harwell is one of five winners of an Openness Award from Understanding Animal Research, for encouraging the widespread sharing of best practice in animal research communications.

They shared the best Public Engagement Activity award with the Pirbright Institute, the University of Bristol and the University of Oxford, for opening their labs to 3D cameras to create a 360o virtual Lab Animal Tour.

The Lab Animal Tour is a ‘street view’ into the four animal research facilities. Viewers can direct themselves through the rooms of the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell, giving them a 360o vision of where the mice are cared for and where scientific procedures take place.

Dr Sara Wells, Director of the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell Institute, said: “We’re delighted to have received the Understanding Animal Research award for openness in animal research in recognition of our participation in the 360o laboratory animal tours. This virtual tour is just one part of the many events and initiatives that MRC Harwell offers to the general public to encourage discussion and openness about the use of animals in medical research, including tours, open days and school visits.”

The virtual tour includes videos with technicians talking about how they look after their animals and scientists talking about why animals are being used.

At MRC Harwell, scientists study mouse genetics to understand the relationship between genes and disease. They modify mice, adding and removing genes, and use the modified mice to understand the disease processes that occur when a gene goes wrong. MRC Harwell is one of a network of world-class institutions and houses around 30,000 mice.


  • Categories: Corporate
  • Health categories: Other
  • Strategic objectives: Engagement
  • Locations: Harwell
  • Type: News article