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The LAVA Extramural Study Scheme

Introduction | About the Scheme | More Information | Testimonials | How to Apply


LAVA established a scheme in 1988 to support veterinary students wishing to 'see practice' with veterinarians working in laboratory animal science and medicine, as part of their extramural studies.

The LAVA EMS scheme now attracts funding from a variety of organizations, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Laboratory Animals Ltd. LAVA and these funders share the view that it is important for veterinary students to be given opportunities to work with laboratory animals in research facilities in order to understand how they are used and the veterinary responsibilities involved in providing for their health and welfare. The aim of the scheme is to stimulate an interest in and awareness of laboratory animal science amongst younger members of the profession and to promote consideration of a career in the field.

A recent student on the EMS scheme wrote about her experiences during her placement, and found the scheme to be very rewarding and eye-opening.

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About the Scheme

Placements (for 1 or 2 weeks) are arranged at a variety of 'Designated Establishments' throughout the UK and Ireland, licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and EC Directive 86/609. For students in clinical years, the time spent on the Scheme is normally eligible to count towards the 26 weeks clinical EMS requirement of the RCVS, but is considered to be "non-general practice". Students in pre-clinical years can usually count the time as animal husbandry experience. In both cases details should be confirmed with the person responsible for the seeing practice scheme at your institution.

Students accepted on to the Scheme are reimbursed for all reasonable expenditure incurred for accommodation, food and travel up to a maximum of 300 per week. In return, as a condition of acceptance, students are asked to complete a questionnaire after their period of seeing practice. The questionnaire is designed to monitor the success of the placement and to highlight any areas where improvements to the Scheme could be made.

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More Information

Potential applicants wanting to find out more are strongly advised to visit the following websites for background information...

The use of animals in medical research

Home Office: Animals in Scientific Procedures
Understanding Animal Research

The role of the Named Veterinary Surgeon

Home Office Guidance

RCVS Guidance


Laboratory Animals Ltd.

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To read about one recent student's experiences on the LAVA EMS scheme, you can download and read this short article.

Here are some comments from former students that have undertaken placements on the LAVA EMS Scheme...

"I just wanted to thank you for organising my placements over the last 2 years. It was a great opportunity for me to visit research institutes and try to understand the work that goes on there. I will definitely consider it as a potential job but probably later on in my career after general practice. I enjoyed both placements and am very grateful to the staff at both locations who took the time to show me their work. I will recommend the LAVA scheme to my colleagues at University."

"My placement under the LAVA EMS-scheme was a massive eye-opener. Despite being a final year vet student, I had no idea what the NVS actually did and the true nature of animal testing. The host was especially generous with her time, willingness to educate me and words of wisdom."

"I really enjoyed my placement and would whole heartedly recommend the scheme to fellow students. I started my week with a very narrow idea of the role of the NVS and was surprised to see the large and varied tasks that make up the role."

"This experience showed me that there are more ways to be a vet than just working in a clinic."

"This is a really great scheme - it gave me an opportunity to do something I would never otherwise have been able to do and I gained a lot from it."

"It seems a really well organized & worthwhile scheme."

"It was great. I am really glad that I did it."

"...for economic reasons, I would not have... been able to travel to, and live in... for 2 weeks. I feel I would have missed out on this wonderful experience and for that, I am sincerely grateful. Thank you!"

"...everyone was very generous with their time and always willing to answer questions."

"...encourage more students to participate. I think that students who do not consider the lab animal field as a future career can also benefit from this experience."

"I have since done another week at a different establishment and would seriously consider working in the field".

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How to Apply

All applicants should first carefully read the information on this page, and follow the more information links above. To apply for a placement on the scheme, fill out an application form and return it to the address on the bottom of the form. Your application will need to be countersigned by a sponsor at your University.

If you need more information about the Scheme and what it entails, or if you represent an institution that would like to offer placements on the Scheme, please contact us.

Also, why not consider becoming a student member of LAVA?

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