The overall result of the HERMES project is the production of a validated quality standard certification scheme for LAS E&T, able to allow the EU member States to acknowledge those professionals that fit the educational requirements of the European Directive 2010/63/EU, having successfully attended mutually recognised training courses providing education and competence for the four different functions:
- Function A: researchers in charge of carrying out procedures on animals
- Function B: researchers in charge of the experimental design of procedures and projects
- Function C: technicians and animal care takers working in authorised establishments
- Function D: operators working in authorized establishments in charge of apply human methods of killing.
The first direct consequence of the adoption of this certification is the availability of harmonised and mutually acknowledged competences owned by a wide set of professionals (i.e. but not only veterinarians, biologists, researchers, laboratory technicians, animal care providers, etc.).
The second consequence is the possibility to rapidly increase the professional mobility across Europe, since skills and competences necessary to cover the functions foreseen by the EU Directive are demonstrated through the training certification.
Last but not least, the increased competence level of professional dealing with LAS allows to improve the conditions of laboratory animals and reduces their suffering.
The overview of the HERMES project expected results is shown in the section “Intellectual Outputs”.
At the EU level, HERMES responds to the training needs emerging from the Directive 2010/63/EU, in line with Recital 28 of the Directive, which highlights that “the welfare of the animals used in procedures is highly dependent on the quality and professional competence of the personnel supervising procedures, as well as of those performing procedures or supervising those taking care of the animals on a daily basis. Member States should ensure through authorisation or by other means that staff are adequately educated, trained and competent […] Non-binding guidelines at the level of the Union concerning educational requirements would, in the long run, promote the free movement of personnel”.
At country level, HERMES provides possible scalable solutions to satisfy a series of conditions set by the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. In particular, the model offers guidelines useful to publish the minimum requirements for obtaining, maintaining and demonstrating requisite competence for:
- the functions set out in paragraph 2 of Art. 23 of the Directive
- assistance in achieving confidence in the quality of E&T in laboratory animal science and its assessment process
- a way to achieve mutual recognition of the certification of E&T in different Member States