Skip to main content


Workshop: Interdisciplinary perspectives on Cultures of Changes around Non-Animal Methods (NAMS) in the Biomedical Sciences

Egenis workshop

NAMs (non-animal methods or new approach methodologies) are rapidly becoming preferred approaches in a variety of domains that traditionally utilized in vivo non-human animal research. Alternatives to animal methods include approaches such as cell cultures, stem cell constructs, organoids, computer simulations, and others. This workshop seeks to bring together interdisciplinary scholars, practitioners, and policymakers involved in animal research and its alternatives to consider the interdisciplinary questions emerging as cultures of scientific research and responsibility shift and intersect in new ways during transitions to NAMs.

Event details

Transitioning towards NAMs and away from using animals in research is often framed as a process of changing individual behaviours through the provision of information on alternative choices, or as a process of evaluating evidence to establish the validity and relevance of these methods in different experimental contexts. Both aspects are important, but they are not sufficient to encapsulate the wider social and cultural changes associated with science that will need to occur as part of this transformation. Animal research and its alternatives are embedded in different cultures of scientific research and responsibility, incorporating diverse norms associated with researcher training and tacit knowledges, experimental choice and design, data processing and publishing, intellectual property and material transfer, ethical review and committee member training, and cultures of care that need to be better understood for these transformations to occur effectively, ethically, and economically. These cultures are configured differently across the fields in which NAMs are being developed and applied including in preclinical research, translational research, clinical trials, and applied toxicology.

In addition, animal research and NAMs are not simply alternatives but will continue to inform each other, over a transitional period and beyond, meaning that it will be important to assess and understand the ongoing intersections and frictions between these different cultures. For ‘alternatives’ to become the preferred approach, there are likely to need to be further changes to the infrastructures that govern animal research, the ethical standards guiding research, the activities of organizations currently advocating for alternatives, and the sociological imaginations around the animal that currently anchor humanities and social science research on animal research and alternatives.

The aim of this workshop is to explore the potential and priorities for interdisciplinary research particularly by humanities scholars and social scientists collaboratively with those involved in the NAMs movement in the biomedical sciences on cultures of change. We are seeking to establish a focused international network able to map out these issues, incorporating expertise from the history and philosophy of the biomedical sciences, the sociology and geography of science, law/regulation, bioethics, animal welfare and ethics, biomedical research, and metascientific research. The initial meeting will explore invited perspectives on these questions and discuss next steps. Members of this network will be invited to collaborate on a position paper to construct a robust and compelling research agenda, similar to a paper produced in a previous project AnNEX (Animal Research Nexus) on which the current is modelled, which may then serve as the basis for a collaborative, interdisciplinary grant application in the future.

We gratefully acknowledge funding from the University of Adelaide as follows: Faculty of Arts, Business, Law, and Economics 2023 Interdisciplinary Demonstrator Grant, and the 2023 Global Partnership Seed Funding Program. The organisers would also like to thank Egenis and Chee Wong for workshop support. 

The day will end with a discussion for those who want to get involved in the next steps of collaborative research. Please email and for more information. The workshop will close by 4.30pm to enable onward travel on the Friday.

Register for the workshop here

Registration deadline 15 October 2023, 17:00 BST

Venue: Byrne House, St German's Road, Streatham Campus, Exeter (places limited).

Online: via Zoom

Interdisciplinary_perspectives_on_NAMs_full_programme_Oct.pdfProgramme (244K)