Developing a Collaborative Agenda for Humanities and Social Scientific Research on Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare

This paper outlines the collaborative process used to develop an agenda for new social science and humanities research on laboratory animal science and welfare. Whilst scientific research provides evidence to replace, reduce and refine procedures involving laboratory animals (the ‘3Rs’), we suggest work in the humanities and social science can help understand how and why techniques are taken up in different contexts, how to share learning and improve decision-making, and how to promote openness and better public engagement. The resulting agenda indicates a demand for new research in the humanities and social sciences to inform discussions on the changing contexts in science and policy (including open science, international harmonization and translational research), ‘cultures of care’ in animal research, public attitudes and engagement, harm-benefit analysis and the future of the 3Rs. The process also underlines the value of interdisciplinary exchange for improving communication across different research cultures and identifies ways of enhancing the effectiveness of future research at this interface.


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The image was produced by Helen Scalway (