Following the breathtaking success of the first ever JWI Awards last year, we were hoping of course for a similar level of interest and some truly brilliant, innovative ideas for products designed to enrich the lives of the animals so precious to our sector. As those who were able to see the final stage designs during this year’s Congress will have witnessed, we weren’t at all disappointed.
As before, it was extremely difficult for the judges to whittle down the entrants to just three. Some really good ideas were forthcoming in this year’s competition. In the end, it comes down to a combination of innovative design concept and suitability for cost-effective manufacturing. Our three winners clearly had both in spades and we look forward very much to bringing them to you as finished products in the very near future.
Our third placed designer, Marc Curtis, a Senior Technician from UCL’s Institute of Opthalmology, came up with a clever variation on the Fast Trac with his Mouse Spinning Wheel able to be attached easily to the bars of the cage lid. As Marc points out in his specification, keeping this up above the floor of the cage provides more space for the mice to move throughout the cage.
Victoria Preston’s Aqua Image/Aqua Floaters design was our second placed product. Victoria is an Animal Technician at Liverpool University and came up with the great combination of a plastic insert shaped to fit into the bottom of a Zebra Fish tank and printed with an image of pebbles and sand. The easily cleanable insert blocks out light coming from below as well as replicating the natural environment. Studies have shown that this type of substrate image really helps the well-being of the fish. The second part of this ingenious invention helps the zebra fish in their need to seek shelter as well as providing suitable enrichment activity. Small, easily cleanable plastic discs can be floated on the surface, replicating fallen leaves and the like to provide the hiding places the fish need. They float around freely with the natural movement of the water offering natural enrichment activity as the fish follow them to seek shelter. A simply brilliant combination.
Talking about brilliant combinations, our first prize winner, Vanessa Jenkins from Plymouth University came up with the Nombrero, a combination wet feed reservoir and extra platform or refuge for mice. The Nombrero hangs easily from the cage lid so it won’t tip over. It can be used as a bowl to contain wet food which won’t therefore come into contact with the cage bedding. It serves equally as an extra platform or refuge for the mice thereby increasing the surface area and providing additional activity.
Great prizes awarded at this year’s IAT Congress in Harrogate
Vanessa wins a fabulous all expenses paid trip to a trade conference of her choice. Victoria takes home a fantastic iPad Pro whilst Marc wins £200 worth of shopping vouchers. All 3 prize winners will have access to a £4,000 grant for publication in an open access scientific journal. This amazing prize is awarded in association with the Parsemus Foundation.