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Openness in Animal Research Public Dialogue

In May 2013 a Public dialogue was established to explore public expectations of openness and transparency around the use of animals in research. This Dialogue took place in three sets of re-convened meetings around the UK in the Summer of 2013.

Understanding Animal Research, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council, the British Pharmacological Society and supported by Sciencewise, commissioned Ipsos MORI to find out what people in the UK think constitutes openness and transparency about animal research through deliberative workshops. The Dialogue was run as part of the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research, to inform the draft Concordat, prior to consultation.

Decisions about the Dialogue process were taken by an Oversight Group, and Ipsos MORI’s methodology involved consulting a wider stakeholder group as it produces stimulus materials and discussion frameworks for the dialogue sessions. People from three UK locations met twice to explore their understanding of openness and transparency in the field of animal research, and what information they would like to be able to access in order to help inform their views on this important subject.

Wendy Jarrett, CEO of Understanding Animal Research, said: “We are currently working with the bioscience sector in the UK to develop a Concordat that will set out how organisations that use or fund the use of animals in scientific, medical or veterinary research can do more to explain what they do and why they do it. “But there is little point in publishing such a document without understanding what the public wants to know about animal research. That is why we are carrying out this Public Dialogue. We will also be gathering the views of animal welfare groups and organisations that oppose animal research, as well as journalists.”

The dialogue was funded by the Medical Research Council (£25,000) and the British Pharmacological Society (£5,000). These funds have been match-funded with £30,000 from Sciencewise. The project was put out to tender and Ipsos MORI was the chosen provider. The dialogue has been independently evaluated by 3KQ, who were also chosen through a tender process. The Oversight Group members were Maggy Jennings (RSPCA), Emma Longridge (BBSRC), Tim Green (BIS), Grace Money and Frances Rawle (Medical Research Council). The Group was chaired by Bella Williams (UAR).

  • The Medical Research Council is a publicly-funded organisation dedicated to improving human health. It supports research across the entire spectrum of medical sciences, in universities and hospitals, in its own units, centres and institutes in the UK, and in its units in Africa.
  • The British Pharmacological Society has, at its heart, the development and promotion of pharmacology and of those who are training and working in the field. It covers the whole spectrum of pharmacology, including laboratory, clinical and toxicological aspects and supports its members at work in academia, industry, regulatory agencies and the health service.
  • The Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre(Sciencewise-ERC) is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Sciencewise-ERC aims to improve policymaking involving science and technology across Government by increasing the effectiveness with which public dialogue is used and encouraging its wider use where appropriate to ensure public views are considered as part of the evidence base.
  • Understanding Animal Research aims to achieve broad understanding and acceptance of the humane use of animals in biomedical research in the UK, to advance science and medicine.
  • Ipsos MORI, part of the Ipsos Group, is a leading UK research company, specialising in social & political research and public dialogue on complex and sensitive issues.
  • 3KQ is a company of independent facilitators and evaluators specialising in dialogue processes on contentious topics.

The Dialogue is now complete and the final reports are presented in the Resources page.