Refinement Grants Available to Improve Laboratory Animal Welfare

AWI is dedicated to improving the care, housing, and handling of animals in research facilities. From our earliest days, we have encouraged laboratory personnel to provide animals with comfortable housing and the opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors, while sparing them needless suffering. For this reason, AWI is offering grants of up to $8,000 to develop and test innovative methods of refinement and/or environmental enrichment to improve the welfare of animals in research. Additional funding of up to $500 may be provided, upon request, to defray travel costs for presentation of accepted abstracts or talks at national meetings. The deadline for applications is December 11, 2017. Further information and links to the online application are available at

In addition, AWI congratulates the most recent Refinement Grant recipients:

Angelika Rehrig, University of Rochester, “Assessing Food Preference and Reinforcer Effectiveness in Laboratory Macaques: A Refinement for Positive Reinforcement Training.” Using a multiple stimulus without replacement (“MSWO”) preference assessment to identify food preference hierarchies for primates.

Bret Tallent, University of Arizona Phoenix, “Reducing Aggressive Behavior in Mice with the Addition of Cage Dividers.” Seeking a means to reduce aggression in male mice housed in a group by using custom-built partial dividers and examining their effectiveness under various mouse densities.

Debra Hickman, Indiana University, “Use of Voluntarily Ingested Oral Sedatives to Ease Anesthesia Induction in Rodents.” Evaluating compounds used in human pediatric anesthesia to determine their effectiveness in inducing pre-anesthetic sedation.

Brianna Gaskill, Purdue University, “Development of an Efficient and Effective Protocol for Playfully Handling Rats.” Determining the most efficient combination of play frequency and duration to habituate rats and make handling them easier and nonthreatening.

Eric Edsinger, Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), “Modulating Enrichment to Reduce Stress and Increase Day-Activity in Lab-Cultured Octopus.” Providing modulated enrichment just after hatching to make octopuses more relaxed, curious, and active during the day to reduce stress during behavioral research.