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

Egenis workshop

NAMS, referring to non-animal methods or new approach methodologies, are rapidly becoming preferred approaches in a variety of domains that traditionally utilized in vivo animal research. Alternatives to animal methods include approaches such as cell cultures, stem cell constructs, organoids, computer simulations, and others. 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 evaluating evidence to establish the validity and relevance of methods in different experimental contexts. Both are important, but they are not sufficient to encapsulate the wider cultural changes around science involved in this transformation.

Event details

This workshop will explore how animal research and its alternatives are embedded in different cultures of scientific research and responsibility, incorporating diverse norms around researcher training and tacit knowledges, experimental choice and design, data processing and publishing, intellectual property and material transfer, ethical review 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 preclinical research, translational research, clinical trials, or applied toxicology. In addition, animal research and non-animal methods are not simply alternatives but will continue to inform each other, over a transitional period and beyond, meaning it is important to understand the ongoing intersections and frictions between these different cultures. For ‘alternatives’ to become the preferred approach, there need to be further changes to the infrastructures governing animal research, the ethical standards guiding research, the activities of organizations advocating for alternatives, and sociological imaginations around ‘the animal’ that anchor humanities and social science research on alternatives.

Through open talks and discussion (running 9.00 to 14.30) we present perspectives from interdisciplinary scholars, practitioners, and policymakers involved in animal research and its alternatives to explore the interdisciplinary questions emerging as cultures of scientific research and responsibility shift and intersect in new ways in transitions to NAMs. Confirmed speakers to date include Rachel Ankeny (History and Philosophy of Science, University of Adelaide), Celean Camp (FRAME), Gail Davies (Geography, University of Exeter), Rob Kirk (CHSTM, University of Manchester), Elliot Lilley (NC3Rs), Malcolm Macleod (CAMARADES, University of Edinburgh), Renelle McGlacken (RSPCA), Mona Nasser (Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth) and Anna Olsson (University of Porto).

We warmly invite interested potential participants to register for attendance at these talks, either in person or online.

Register here

Registration deadline 15 October 2023, 17:00 BST

The day will close with a focused meeting dedicated to exploring next steps, with the aim of exploring the potential for an international interdisciplinary network or grant application on cultures of change around non-animal methods (NAMS) in the biomedical sciences. Please email Rachel Ankeny or Gail Davies if you are also interested in attending this part of the meeting. 

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

Online: via Zoom