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UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science

2018 Award Winner

Professor Paul Flecknell

The 2018 winner of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science has been announced.  A commemorative medal and award were presented to Professor Paul Flecknell at UFAW’s one day conference on measuring animal welfare at the Centre for Life, Newcastle on the 28th of June.

The UFAW Medal recognises exceptional achievements of individual scientists who have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of animal welfare over a number of years. The award is open to individuals, anywhere in the world, whose research, teaching, service and advocacy has significantly benefited the welfare of animals. UFAW was very pleased this year to recognise Paul’s remarkable achievements over a 30 year career which has successfully focused on improving the welfare of laboratory animals in the UK and internationally through a diverse range of activities. 

Professor Paul Flecknell, Professor of Laboratory Animal Science & Director of Comparative Biology Centre at Newcastle University, is widely recognised as the leading authority in the field of veterinary anaesthesia and pain recognition, particularly in relation to research animal welfare. His work has helped scientists around the world understand and recognize the pain and distress which may be caused to animals by their research procedures, and how this can be very effectively managed without reducing the value of their science.

He was a pioneer in the field; in 1981, Professor Flecknell’s Churchill Fellowship alerted him to the poor standards of anaesthesia and analgesia (pain relief) then being practised around the world and as Director of Comparative Biology at Newcastle University he set about addressing the problem.

The Newcastle group which Prof Flecknell has nurtured over the years is justifiably seen as a world leader in developing innovative methods for assessing pain and welfare in lab animals, and for evaluating the effects of new techniques aimed at ameliorating pain that may be caused by experimental or management procedures.

He has published an impressive list of over 180 books, chapters, and peer reviewed papers, all with a strong record of citations which reflects their impact on the scientific community. His publications and stimulating presentations have influenced attitudes internationally, teaching research scientists, veterinarians and technicians in many countries.

Prof Flecknell has also played a hugely influential role on many committees, societies, funding bodies and journals concerned with veterinary and laboratory animal welfare science and practice, including holding presidencies of the British Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association and the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists, and being Vice Chair and Acting Chair of NC3Rs.

Furthermore, he has been a trail-blazer in the development of innovative web-based training resources that have been viewed by many people around the world. His book Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia is a standard text in the field, as is his edited volume Pain Management in Animals in which he contributed to nearly half of the chapters.

He has mentored many PhD students and post-docs allowing them to draw on his ideas and expertise so that they may go on to form the next generation of leading researchers in the field.

Professor Flecknell was nominated for this award by Dr Matt Leach, a lecturer at the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Newcastle University who said: “Paul is recognised as a world leading expert in both laboratory animal science and welfare… Outside of his veterinary and research activities he has undertaken a variety of roles in over 14 national and international committees and boards that promote laboratory animal welfare… I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for the UFAW medal for outstanding contributions to animal welfare than Professor Flecknell.”

UFAW’s Chief Executive Dr Robert Hubrecht, who presented the award, said: “Professor Flecknell’s exceptional contributions have been at many levels – scientific, practical, translational, educational, and in academic leadership.  He is an outstanding winner of the 2018 UFAW medal.”