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Openness in Italy

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Improving Openness and Animal Research in Italy – Free event, Friday 17 September 14:00-17:30 CEST

Aula Magna, Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) and Research4Life, with the support of FENS and the Society for Neuroscience, invite you to discuss how to improve openness in communications about animal research with the general public, political decision makers, and opinion formers in Italy.

You can register for the event here. In person and online tickets are available

This workshop is offered to those working in the life sciences sector and is designed to support researchers, communications staff and institutions that wish to be more open about the animal research they carry out. The focal theme of the workshop is to discuss why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders can and should talk about animal research; it is not a debate about the ethics of animal experimentation.

Openness in the public debate on animal research has been increasing in many European countries and research institutions. However, there is still significant reluctance within many academic institutions, and amongst scientists, towards conducting a more open and consistent dialogue with the public. Many scientists are still afraid that speaking more openly about their research and their motivations will make them targets, while others lack the confidence to put the case for animal research to what they view as a sceptical public and a potentially hostile media.

The discussion is relevant for members of institutions that are involved in animal research - directly or indirectly - and are currently hesitant to speak out in the media or to participate in public engagement activities. We hope that this workshop, and those hosted by EARA in other countries, will help to kickstart a cultural change and support research institutions to handle this issue constructively.

Please note that this session will be held in Italian.


Professor Nicola Simola, Research4Life

Nicola Simola is a neuropharmacologist and neuroscientist, currently Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Cagliari, Italy. His main research interests involve the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, focusing on adenosine receptor antagonists, the development of new preclinical models to be used in the study of iatrogenic psychiatric-like symptoms in Parkinson’s disease, the study of the interactions between caffeine and other recreational psychostimulants, focusing on the neurotoxic/neuroinflammatory effects of drug combinations, and the study of rodent ultrasonic vocalizations as a preclinical marker of affect. Nicola Simola has authored more than 90 publications in international scientific journals and books, and besides being engaged in experimental research, he is actively involved in campaigns and activities aimed at disseminating the importance of using animal models in biomedical research.


Kirk Leech, Executive Director, European Animal Research Association

EARA is a communications and advocacy organisation whose mission is to uphold the interests of biomedical, and other life sciences, research and healthcare development across Europe. Previously Kirk worked for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and Understanding Animal Research, the UK’s leading advocacy group on the use of animals in medical research.

Professor Annalisa Bucchi, University of Milan

Annalisa Bucchi is an Associate Professor in Physiology and a scientific member of the animal-welfare body at the Università degli Studi di Milano. She obtained her Ph.D. in Physiology in 2003 at the Università degli Studi di Milano and in 2004-2006 she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, New York. Her research activity mainly focuses on the study of ion channels to unravel their role in the cardiac electrical activity both in physiological and pathological conditions. She has published 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Professor Simone Pollo, Sapienza Università di Roma

Simone Pollo is Associate Professor of Moral Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy of Sapienza University of Rome, where he teaches “Ethics and Life Sciences” and “Bioethics”. He also has teaching appointments at the University of Turin, the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona e the University Kardinal Stefan Wyszyński of Warsaw. His research interests are the evolutionary origins of ethics, the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of science (with a special interest in ethology and animal cognition), the relations between science and society, animal ethics and environmental ethics. He is the author of four monographs (in Italian): Scegliere chi nasce. L’etica della riproduzione umana fra libertà e responsabilità (Guerini, 2003); La morale della natura (Laterza, 2008); Umani e animali: questioni di etica (Carocci, 2016); Manifesto per un animalismo democratico (Carocci, 2021).

Dr Fabio Turone, Director, Centre for Ethics and Communication in Science

Fabio Turone is Italy correspondent of Research Professional News and has been contributing stories, feature articles and editorials to many Italian and International outlets, including Nature, Nature Italy, The BMJ, L'Espresso, Panorama, Il Sole 24 Ore and CancerWorld. He co-directed the Erice International School of Science Journalism and designed and led several science communication workshops for UNESCO and the European Commission. In 2016-17 he was Research Fellow of the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As President of the professional association Science Writers in Italy, he was chair of the European Conference of Science Journalism held in 2020 in Trieste. In 2021 he co-authored the book "Scienza senza maiuscola. L'etica della ricerca per una cittadinanza scientifica" ("Science with no Capital letter. Research ethics for scientific citizenship"), with Daniela Ovadian.

Professor Monica Di Luca, University of Milan


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