Using the EDA to support funding applications and ethical review

The EDA helps researchers design robust experiments by providing bespoke feedback on the study design and statistical analysis plans.

The visual representation of the experiment and the detailed information in the diagram, provide funders and ethical review boards with greater clarity, helping to inform their decision making and supporting their commitment to rigorous science.

Major organisations recognise the value of the EDA and recommend its use in the preparation of funding or ethical review applications. This includes the MRC, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Home Office in the UK, the NIH and National Science Foundation in the USA, and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council

For committees and panels

EDA experimental design report consisting of tables of key experimental design information clearly laid out. Pages of the report are displayed offset.

Whenever animal research is planned a harm benefit analysis needs to be done to ensure that the benefits from the research outweigh the likely harms to the animals. Part of the harm benefit analysis includes a review of the proposed experimental design. If an experiment is not designed to yield reliable results the benefits of the science cannot be realised. 

Having a clear idea of what applicants are planning to do is crucial to enable review funding bodies and ethical review panels to assess how likely the experiments are to yield reliable results. 

The EDA has two ways to help researchers clearly communicate their experimental design. The EDA can generate a read-only version of the experiment, that is shared via a URL (protected with an access code), or it can generate a PDF report.

Both formats include key information requested by funding bodies and ethical review panels, including:

  • Objectives and hypotheses
  • Animal numbers and justification for sample size
  • Steps taken to minimise the effect of bias
  • Primary and secondary outcome measures
  • Planned statistical analysis


In both, information describing the experiment is presented in a standardised table making it easy to find. Missing information is clearly indicated which helps identify relevant questions to ask applicants and an image of the experiment diagram provides a visual overview.

In the PDF the image is static but in the online version (URL), it is interactive and gives access to further information by clicking on the part of the experiment you are interested in.

For applicants

Communicating your experimental plans clearly helps funding bodies and ethical review panels asses the strength of your experiments as part of the harm benefit analysis. Studies that are unlikely to yield reliable results cannot give the scientific benefit required to justify the use of animals.  The EDA gives you guidance and advice when designing in vivo experiments, helping improve the rigour of your experimental design meaning your results are more likely to be reliable. 

Once you have designed your experiment in the EDA and finalised your plans, you can share the output in two different formats:

  • An online read-only version of your EDA diagram accessed via an unguessable URL.
  • A PDF report. 


Both include a table of the key experimental design information essential for your ethics or funding application. The table clearly indicates missing information, making it easier for you to address this before submission. The table can also be used as an aide-memoire when preparing your ethics or funding application, to ensure that you have included all necessary information.

Both formats include an image of the experiment to give a visual overview. In the PDF report the image is static, whereas the image in the online read-only diagram is interactive and further detail can be accessed by clicking different parts of the experiment.

The read-only EDA diagram can be shared via an unguessable URL. For security reasons an access code is generated by default when you create a read-only diagram.

Either the URL and access code* or the PDF report** can be included in your ethics or funding application as a way to share experimental detail with reviewers.