Datesand News

Bringing branches together

On Tuesday 19th September, IAT BING representatives from across the UK and Ireland met at The Farmers Club, London for their annual meeting. Nathan Hill (Allentown) and Kally Booth (Dundee University) IAT Council members attended the meeting chaired by Ryan Hill (Datesand/NEE Branch Bing Representative) and minuted by Rhys Perry (Exeter University/Wales and the West Branch Bing Representative). 

The meeting brings together people from the industry who share similar values and progressive thinking. The goal is to share actions and ideas that will ultimately have a beneficial impact to the IAT and industry as a whole. Over the years, the BING group have come up with countless contributions on the IAT such as the IAT/Congress app, money-raising ideas for AS-ET, the IAT Hub stand/chill-out area and various bulletin/online competitions. 

One of our biggest achievements comes from our own Rhys Perry who, following his first meeting to BING last year, has created an entirely new branch “The Wales & The West Branch”, bringing together Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Exeter! The branch has already had a number of successful events thanks to Rhys and his branch colleagues hard work. 


The group is warm and welcoming, all ideas are taken into consideration and allowed to blossom. They are a positive and innovative team connecting people and other establishments together who encourage and motivate each other.  As the team continues to develop, it is becoming more structured, allowing ideas to be put into action. 

Without giving too much away, the next action plan will be to provide more content for the bulletin and another year in assisting in fundraising for AS-ET – more to come on this in due course! 

In addition, the group assist each other in making each branch more successful, sharing event ideas, research intelligence and feedback. 

Once the meeting concluded, everyone retreats to a local pub for a catch-up. The BING representatives organized to meet with other London colleagues from London establishments such as UCL and Kings College London this time around, making the most of their valuable time by networking with fellow technologists. 


All you need – the NestPak

Datesand have been selling the NestPak since 2001. Originally designed by Pete Willan while working at Leicester University, this diverse product was designed to be the most efficient all-in-one bedding, nesting and enrichment device.

The NestPak itself is made from FDA paper that rodents can shred for nesting and is filled with a certified and GLP compliant wood bedding of the facilities choice. It can either complement or replace current products in use and also has the option to contain an enrichment product of choice such as aspen bricks, as shown in the picture below.


As well as having the products in controlled portions, the NestPak also allows the animals to use their natural instincts to make their own beds and nests and positively interact with the product at hand. It provides stimulation, improves animal welfare and reduces the need for manual handling, ultimately reducing stress.

By having precise and repeatable portions that are able to fill cages 5 times faster than regular cage changes is labour saving, meaning technicians can use their time more efficiently for other tasks. Having these portions to hand also means that costs can be saved in terms of materials and procurement.

On top of all this, this fantastic 3-in-1 product also guarantees:

  • Safe dispensing
  • Suitability for all cages
  • Manufacturing in ISO Accredited facilities
  • Is autoclavable
  • Reduction in airborne particles


You can find out more about the NestPak and request a FREE sample here or alternatively, you can call us on 0161 274 1080 or email us at


Creating & Innovating

The Janet Wood Innovation Award 2020



As we enter the 4th year of our annual Janet Wood Innovation Award, we’re proud to look back on all of the achievements so far.

The original idea of holding the award came from our Brand Manager, Mark Johnson. He originally thought about doing some kind of end-user focus group to help to come up with new ideas and designs

It was, of course, inspired by co-founder of Datesand, Janet Wood, who sadly passed away in 2010. Janet knew that there was a very clear need for innovative products which would be of real practical assistance in safeguarding and enriching the lives of the animals used in research and making the work of those who cared for them simpler and more effective. She and the Datesand team understood that the best way to discover products which really worked for the animals is to ask the people who looked after them – the professionals!

So, since 2017, Datesand has given those at the forefront of the industry the chance to offer products aimed at improving the welfare of the laboratory animals. To enter the competition, it was decided that designs must promote at least one of the 3Rs; Replacement, Reduction & Refinement.

The award has introduced a variety of highly popular products which have gone on to sell successfully, both nationally and globally within the industry. This includes our 3 current winners;

–      Mouse Swing, by Lisa Doar

–      Nombrerowet diet feeder, by Vanessa Jenkins

–      Rat Scratcher, by Sarah Taylor – available in September

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Despite not taking the top spot, we have taken several other designs put forward in the competition, manufactured and sold successfully too. This includes the LilypadMouse Mezzanine, the Tunnel Clip and we will be releasing the C-Saw later this year after coming 2nd in the JWI Award 2019.

The Janet Wood Innovation Award is gradually becoming more and more global. We are seeing some excellent product ideas being sent in from all over the world. As we continue with the competition, we look forward to seeing this continue and are beyond excited to see the new, innovative designs that you might have!

As well as having the opportunity to have your very own product on the market, winning the JWI Award comes with some extra benefits! First place will also win an all-expenses-paid trip to any Life Sciences trade conference in the world of your choice as well as a £4,000/$5,000award towards publication in an open-access scientific journal.

Coming second will also bag you a brand-new state of the art iPad and 3rd place offers £200 in shopping vouchers to spend as you please!

If you would like to take part, you can find application packs with full instructions and T&Cs at you can email us at jwiaward@datesand.comfor more information.

Closing date for the competition will be 1st February 2020.

Getting lost with IAT NE branch

On 13th July, yet another exciting day out was put on by the wonderful people at the Institute of Animal Technology. This time, the North East Branch organised a day out at the York Maze on its first day of opening in 2019.

Alanah, our Social Media Executive at Datesand, took her niece and nephew to the family event for the day, which gave her the perfect excuse to just be a big kid again!

Each year, the York Maze has a new theme and this year, Europe’s largest maize maze paid tribute to Lion King! Alanah managed to conquer the maze in just over half an hour – not bad going!


There were all sorts of other activities on the day for all to enjoy. As well as the giant maize maze, there was also a Jurassic maze, the maze of illusions and a mini mineshaft maze! Alanah also had a go on the ‘cobstacle course’ – a big inflatable corn-themed obstacle course; the ‘popcorn pillow’ which was essentially one long bouncy castle; a slightly damp ‘Angry Crows’ drive-thru experience; corn on the club mini-golf; pig racing; a mini animal sanctuary and her favourite of all: ‘House of Cornfusion’.

The ‘House of Cornfusion’ was a building that you had to make your way around, each room playing a trick on the mind. This included a tunnel that made it seem as though the whole room was spinning, a room that made you feel super tall (especially for someone so short…) and a slanted room that would not let you stand straight!

All in all, it was yet another fabulous day organised by the IAT team and Alanah would like to thank them for such a great day.

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See our friends at…



From the 11th– 13th September, the annual Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association conference will be held in Perth, Australia.

Though Datesand are unable to attend, you will have the opportunity to say hello to not only our Australian distributor, Allied Group, but also the creator of the Nombrero, Vanessa Jenkins!

Vanessa has chosen this year’s ANZLAA conference as her Life Science trade conference of choice for winning the Janet Wood Innovation Award in 2018, organised by Datesand. While there, she will have the opportunity to explore the city and enjoy all the wonders that the ANZLAA has to offer for all the like-minded passionate professionals that attend every year.

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We have a number of European distributors heading over to the 45thannual AFSTAL conference in La Rochelle, France.

You can find Datesand products showcased on the Bio-Services, Genestil and Plexx stands along with some friendly faces.

Despite not being around ourselves, we wish all who are attending both events a brilliant time and we hope to see you soon!