The Crick has won its second Openness Award from Understanding Animal Research (UAR) for its “varied and thoughtful approach to public engagement activities” involving discussions of animals in research.
Launched in 2014, the UAR Openness Awards champion excellence and innovation in communications around the use of animals in research. We received our first award in 2019 for a BBC Radio 5 Live broadcast, which offered the public an insight into what happens inside an animal research lab.
UAR specifically praised the Crick’s “novel” use of Instagram. During the pandemic and beyond, the Crick’s Public Engagement team used Instagram Stories to connect researchers to questions from virtual visitors, in a series called Meet a Scientist. The series involved Crick researchers taking to Instagram to share behind-the-science insights into their daily life as a research scientist.
Ashley Libby, postdoc in the Crick’s Developmental Dynamics Laboratory, shared how her research with chicken eggs provides new understanding of spinal development. “It was great fun getting to film what I do in the lab," said Ashley.
"Answering the questions that came back on Instagram was great – I never thought I would be asked what breed of chicken I use! Using Instagram meant that we could reach people who aren’t scientists, who thought about totally different questions about something that I just take as a normal part of my job."
The judges also praised the Crick team for the descriptions of animal research in video interviews in the Crick’s most recent exhibition, Outwitting Cancer. Outwitting Cancer featured conversations that brought together Crick researchers with people with experience of cancer, and included video interviews hosted in our gallery space and on our website, as well as an online exhibition including descriptions of how animals are used in cancer research.
Jan-Bas Prins, director of the Crick’s Biological Research Facility, said "I am very proud that the Crick is so supportive of being open about its use of animals and actively engages with the public on this topic. The fantastic guidance of the Communications and Public Engagement teams makes sure that our message is delivered in the best possible way."