In 2024, EARA will celebrate its 10-year anniversary and 2023 has seen a number of significant developments, which can lead the way to a lasting change in how the biomedical research community talks about animal research to the public.
One of the most innovative changes was the launch of a patient discovery project, set up by EARA, to raise awareness among patient groups about how animal research benefits the development of new medicines and treatments.
The first initiative, in September, involved Parkinson’s disease patients in the Netherlands meeting with researchers from EARA member Radboud University Medical Center and Radboud University (pictured). The project will now be rolled out to other countries in Europe in 2024.
Responding to increasing political pressure on the biomedical community, EARA engaged directly with the EU Commission in partnership with other organisations, such as the European Brain Council. In July, the Commission voiced many of the same concerns as EARA and rejected the European Citizens’ Initiative petition calling for a legislative phase-out of animal research.
In October, EARA welcomed 150 institutions to its membership in 2023, which now spans six continents. We published an article looking back at EARA’s achievements in fostering a more open dialogue about the use of animals in scientific research, since our creation in 2014.
There was also the milestone of 500 European signatories of Transparency Agreements on Animal Research (TAs), several of which EARA has helped to set up and still co-ordinates. The annual reports of the Dutch, French, Portuguese and Spanish TAs were published, with all reporting evidence of increased openness about animal research from the signatory institutions.
Among other EARA activities were the completion of a new five-year strategy (2023-2028) and the creation of a new homepage design for the EARA website (with more webpages currently being updated).
EARA also continued its engagement with researchers and lab animal professionals with 11 media training workshops and four in-person openness events, stressing the importance of open communication – the most recent took place this month at EARA member the University Hospital Frankfurt Goethe University, in Germany (pictured).
Also on the horizon in 2024 is our annual Be Open About Animal Research Day (#BOARD24), on Friday, 3 May, at the Understanding Animal Research conference in the West Midlands, UK.