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Improving openness in animal research within the European neuroscience community

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) invites you to attend a panel discussion at the FENS Forum of Neuroscience on openness in communications about animal research. A networking reception, with drinks, will follow at the conclusion of this event.

The panel discussion will take place on Monday 13 July 2020 (18:45 - 20:45) at the SEC Centre, Glasgow, during the FENS Forum of Neuroscience.

The event is designed to support researchers and institutions that wish to be more open about the animal research they conduct. The focal theme of the workshop is to discuss how and why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders should talk about animal research; it is not a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

The discussion is relevant for members of institutions that are involved in animal research - directly or indirectly - and are currently hesitant to write about animal research, speak about it to the media or to participate in public engagement activities.

Openness about animal research and the issues that surround it, has been increasing in many European countries and research institutions in the last decade. Since the 2014 launch of the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, research institutions in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium have also adopted policies and practices that seek to improve transparency and engage with the public.

However, there is still significant reluctance within many academic institutions, and among scientists, about speaking publicly or beginning a dialogue with the public. Many scientists are still afraid that speaking more openly about their research and their motivations will make them a target for activists, while are uncertain how to put the case for animal research to what they perceive as a sceptical public and a potentially hostile media.

At the institutional level this is also evident, as highlighted in the 2018 EARA study of European websites, which showed that out of 1200 institutions that conduct or support biomedical research using animals, under half include a recognisable website statement explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare, while fewer than 40% carried any imagery related to animal research.


- Kirk Leech, Executive Director, European Animal Research Association


- Ana Barros, Communications Officer, European Animal Research Association

- Fiona Fox, Chief Executive, Science Media Centre

- Roman Stilling, Scientific Advisor, Tierversuche Verstehen (TVV)

- Liesbeth Aerts, Science communicator, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease research

The aim of this event is to reassure the scientific research community that speaking openly about their research will be a positive and not a negative experience. We hope that the event, will help to kick-start a cultural change and support research institutions to handle this issue constructively.


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