Our research policies


Our research policies are intended to encourage research activity of the highest quality carried out to the highest standards. We are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities who audit our processes and policies every 5 years to ensure compliance.

Animal research policy

Arthritis is a painful, disabling condition affecting more than 1 in 6 people in the UK and we are dedicated to finding treatments to take the pain away from sufferers so they can live active, longer, happier and healthier lives.

We are committed to increasing our understanding of how arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions develop and how best they should be treated. To achieve this we fund a broad range of medical research, from research in laboratories to research involving human volunteers, from computer modelling to understanding the benefits of self-care programmes for people with arthritis. Where there are no alternatives, we fund medical research which uses animals.

Medical research using animals has made a vital contribution to advances in medicine and surgery which have brought major improvements to the health of people. Research using animals will continue to be essential to tackle many of the unsolved problems in understanding and treating musculoskeletal conditions. The UK has one of the most rigorous systems in the world for regulating animal research.

The UK requires permissions from both central Government and local ethical reviews to conduct research involving animals. As part of this approval process, each medical research project using animals must be examined and ways to improve adoption of the 3Rs are considered. These are:

  • Replace the use of animals with alternative research methods and where possible avoid the use of animals altogether.
  • Reduce the number of animals used.
  • Refine how animal-based experiments are carried out to minimise any suffering and to improve animal welfare.

We are fully committed to these principles and all our research abides by rules set out by the Home Office. Under this system, animals can only be used when there is no alternative. Versus Arthritis is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and signs up to their position on animal research along with their Concordat on Openness in Animal Research, and as such we have committed to be open and clear about our use of animals in research in our external communications.

Policy on management of interest

On this page, you can find our policy of management of interests (PDF, 68 KB). The purpose of this document is to minimise the potential for conflicts of interest to arise and protects the charity and those who work for it from any perception, real or otherwise, that the external interests and affiliations of members of the Subcommittees of the Charitable Purposes Committee and supporting panels, groups and networks might interfere with their ability to work unbiasedly on behalf of the charity.


This policy relates to:

  • All areas of business and to all members (permanent and guest) of the Disease, Treatment and Health Subcommittees of the Charitable Purposes Committee, as well as members of ad hoc panels, the college of experts and the patient insight network.
  • Research Study Group chairs and members of the study groups.
  • The management of conflicts of interests of external written peer reviewers (who are non-Subcommittee members).

Industrial support policy

Principles of the Industrial Support Policy

  • To ensure that Versus Arthritis are aware of collaborations between the researcher and industrial partner.
  • There are no unreasonable restrictions to the proposed research.
  • The parties involved act with integrity and transparency at all times.
  • To ensure that any collaboration will support the aims and objectives of Versus Arthritis and benefit individuals with musculoskeletal conditions.

Applicants are also encouraged to read the guidelines from AMRC (PDF, 385 KB) 

Observational data and sample collection

This policy presents the principles that guide our support of clinical observational data and sample collection.

These principles encompass collection and maintenance of data and samples for both proposed new collections and established collections and are intended to serve as a guide for those wishing to apply for support or such studies to us.

It is important that all potential applicants for support consider carefully the scope of their application and its relevance to our mission and strategic focus.

As well as the criteria set out below, we will consider carefully the overall cost of each study, whether it has support from other funders and the plan for longer term sustainability.

Preliminary enquiries regarding the scope and suitability of a study for potential support from us can be made via the clinical studies groups and the research and programmes directorate.

Observational data and sample collection policy (PDF, 245 KB).