Improving Openness in Animal Research in Portugal

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Seminar room at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Avenida Brasília

1400-038 Lisboa


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Discussing openness in animal research in Portugal at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown.

About this Event

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) and the Champalimaud Foundation, supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), invite you to discuss improving openness in communications about animal research with the general public, political decision makers, and opinion formers in Portugal.

Attendance at this workshop is free, but registration is essential.

The workshop will be held in English.

You will receive a certificate of attendance emailed to you after attending the event.

You will need to show your ID at the security+registration desk:Directions to registration desk: Enter Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown via the main entrance, take one of the elevators (on the right) to the 2nd floor and then turn left to our registration desk. If in doubt, ask for the Seminar Room (2nd floor).


13.30 Registration

14.00-17.00 Speakers and panel discussion

17.10-18.10 Drinks reception

This workshop is offered to those working in the life sciences sector and is designed to support researchers 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. This is true for Portugal, where a Portuguese Transparency Agreement on Animal Research will be in operation soon with 16 institutions signing it.

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.

At the institutional level this is also evident as highlighted in the 2018 EARA study of European websites which showed that out of 1300 institutions that conduct or support biomedical research using animals, under half carry a recognisable statement on their websites explaining the use of animals in research/animal welfare, and fewer than 40% carried any imagery related to animal research.

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 kick-start a cultural change and support research institutions to handle this issue constructively.


Dr. Isabel Campos, Animal Platform Coordinator, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Isabel Campos has been working for the last 20 years with animals in the context of research. She has used zebrafish as an animal model for developmental biology in her PhD work in UCL-London, and fruit flies to study wound healing and regeneration during her postdoctoral studies at iMM-Lisbon. Now she has embraced a career in scientific support services taking on the role as coordinator of the Fly Platform since 2011, and the Rodent Platform since 2016, both at the Champalimaud Foundation.


Kirk Leech, Executive Director, European Animal Research Association

Kirk is Executive Director of EARA, 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.

Dr. Susana Lima, Neuroscientist and Biologist, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown

Susana Lima completed her PhD at Yale in 2005 (under the supervision of Gero Miesenböck) and was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (in Tony Zador’s group) and a research fellow at Champalimuad Center for the Unknown. She became a principal investigator in 2013 and her laboratory uses the house mouse as a model system to investigate the neuronal mechanisms underlying sexual behavior in males and females. Since the beginning of her career, Susana has been interested in openness and transparency about animal research and therefore disseminated her work with the general public in several different formats, including public talks, radio, journals, and magazines.

Sara Sá, Science Journalist, Visão

Sara Sá has been Science and Health journalist at the Portuguese news magazine Visão since the year 2000. She has covered subjects from Cancer and Climate Change, to Genetics and Neurosciences. Sara also contributes to other publications in the editorial group Trus in News, including Visão Júnior, Visão Saúde and Visão História. Her work has been distinguished by the Cancer Journalism Prize (LPCC ), Unesco, and Apifarma. On top of her journalistic work, Sara is also the co-author of the Popular Science book Cem Mitos Sem Lógica.

Dr. Ana Mena, Head of Public Engagement, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC)

After completing her PhD in Cell Biology from the University Nova de Lisboa, Ana Mena worked at the IGC as postdoctoral fellow in science communication, addressing how to raise public awareness about the role of animal research in science. This project included the engagement of scientists in this problematic area, their training to better communicate their research, and the implementation of several communication actions. The strategy of open communication was further continued when she became coordinator of the science communication unit at the IGC in 2012. Ana was also a member of the IGC Ethics Committee, participating in the review of projects involving the use of animals, or of human subjects, from 2010 until 2016.

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Seminar room at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Avenida Brasília

1400-038 Lisboa


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