AWI Awards Grants to Improve Quality of Life for Animals Used in Research

Mouse - Photo by Novartis AG
Photo by Novartis AG

Washington, DCThe Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is pleased to announce the 2023 winners of the Refinement Research Award, which funds research projects that develop or test novel refinement methods, and the inaugural Implementing Refinement Grant, which funds the purchase of equipment or training meant to improve the welfare of animals used in research.

Since its founding in 1951, AWI has encouraged laboratory personnel to provide animals with comfortable housing and the opportunity to engage in species-typical behaviors, while sparing them needless suffering. AWI awards individual grants of up to $15,000 to develop and demonstrate innovative methods of refinement to the housing or care of animals in research to better their lives, and grants of up to $8,000 toward the purchase of equipment or staff training. This year’s nine grantees are:

Refinement Research Award Winners:

  • Robert Gerlai, The John Carlin Roder Distinguished Professor in Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Toronto Mississauga, for developing new handling methods to reduce stress and anxiety of zebrafish.
  • Kristina Horback, associate professor of animal science at the University of California, Davis, for studying the impact of enriched housing, such as feeding puzzles and ropes for chewing, on the learning ability, social behavior, and overall welfare of laboratory-housed sows.

Implementing Refinement Grant Winners:

  • Sarah Baert, clinical veterinarian at the University of Guelph, for establishing a positive reinforcement training program that allows rats living in a free-range system to be caught and handled easily.
  • Courtney Glavis-Bloom, senior staff scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, for purchasing touchscreen computers to promote an enriching environment and to measure cognitive impairment in marmosets.
  • Anna Jimenez, veterinary care manager at McGill University, and Marie-Chantal Giroux, director of veterinary and technical services at McGill University, for purchasing transparent handling tunnels as a less-stressful alternative to picking up mice by their tails.
  • Kathy Lapointe, clinical veterinarian at the University of Montreal, for developing and implementing a physical therapy program to reduce muscle atrophy and increase psychological stimulation among cats, dogs, and horses used for teaching at the university’s veterinary school.
  • Rochelle Moore, lab manager and senior lab specialist at the University of Utah, for purchasing a 3D printer to print custom caps to cover and protect cranial implants and surrounding tissue in rhesus macaques.
  • Catherine Schuppli, clinical veterinarian and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, for purchasing larger cages with enrichment activities for rats and mice to engage in burrowing, climbing, and exploration.

Applications for the 2024 Refinement funding cycle will be available in late summer/early fall.

Media Contact Information

Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute
(202) 446-2128, [email protected]

The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere: in agriculture, in commerce, in our communities, in research, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.