Improving Openness in Animal Research in Switzerla

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University of Zurich

Y15-G-19

Winterthurerstrasse 190

8057 Zürich

Switzerland

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Event description
Discussing openness in animal research in Switzerland at the University of Zurich.

About this Event

The European Animal Research Association (EARA) and the University of Zurich (UZH), 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 Switzerland.

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.

TIMINGS:

13.00 Registration

13.30-16.30 Speakers and panel discussion

16.40-17.40 Drinks reception at the “Lichthof”

LOCATION:

Hörsaal (auditorium), UZH campus Irchel, Y15-G-19, Winterthurestrasse 190, 8057 Zürich

https://www.plaene.uzh.ch/Y15/room/Y15-G-19

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 Switzerland, where Swiss Institutions are currently discussing possibility of a national Transparency Agreement on Animal Research.

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 over 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.

MODERATOR:

Dr. Michaela Thallmair, Animal Welfare Officer & Head of the Dept. of Animal Welfare and 3Rs, University of Zurich

After her PhD at the ETH Zurich (ETHZ), Dr. Michaela Thallmair worked as a post-doc at the Salk Institute (La Jolla, CA) where she went on to establish a junior research group at the Brain Research Institute in Zurich. Dr. Thallmair has been the Animal Welfare Officer of the UZH since December 2012. She is Co-Chair of the Swizz Animal Welfare Officer Network and in the steering committee of the group "Animals used for Scientific Purposes". Since 2018 she is a member of the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation (ECAE).

SPEAKERS:

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. Valerio Mante, group leader at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich

Valerio Mante is a group leader at the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich. Dr. Mante holds a PhD in neuroscience from ETH Zurich, where he studied the computational principles of early visual processing in mammals. Subsequently, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, California, where he studied the neural processes underlying context-dependent behavior, and discovered a new mechanism that allows neural signals to be flexibly gated between different brain areas. Since 2013, he is back in Zurich, where his laboratory focuses on understanding the role of prefrontal cortex in normal and impaired cognition.

Marcel Falk, Head of Communications, Swiss Academy of Sciences

Since 2011, Marcel Falk has been Head of Communications at the Swiss Academy of Sciences. In his previous post, from 2003 to 2010, he was in charge of the communication division of the Federal Veterinary Office and acted as spokesperson on topics such as bird flu, aggressive dogs and animal protection. Marcel Falk has a biology degree from the Biozentrum in Basel and he did his master thesis at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Roche. He worked as an editor at the German monthly magazine "bild der wissenschaft" and as a freelance science journalist in Germany and Switzerland.

Prof. Michael O. Hottiger, DVM, PhD, Molecular Biologist and President of Forschung für Leben

Michael O. Hottiger is a veterinary by training and obtained his PhD in the field of molecular biology at the University of Zurich (UZH). After postdoctoral studies at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ann Arbor, he became an independent group leader at the Institute of Veterinary Biochemistry of the UZH. He has now a full professorship in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology jointly at the Vetsuisse and the Sciences Faculties of the UZH and is the head of the Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease. In his research, Michael O. Hottiger focusses mainly on inflammation-associated diseases. He is since 2012 a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation and is president of the association ‘Forschung für Leben’ which aims at fostering the dialog between scientist and the public. This year, he co-initiated the ‘Swiss Transparency Agreement on Animal Research‘ (STAAR).

Date and Time

Location

University of Zurich

Y15-G-19

Winterthurerstrasse 190

8057 Zürich

Switzerland

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