Gail Davies at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 11th January, 1-2pm, Byrne House

Dear all,

Happy New Year 2016 !

You are invited to the first meeting of the Biological Interest Group of this year. It will take place this coming Monday 11th of January. Please note that, exceptionally for this term, this meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm (the new time slot for this term being 2-3pm). Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Gail Davies, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘”Increasing in size and diverging in character”: Licensing practices and the global politics of laboratory animal research’. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This paper originated in a keynote talk commissioned by the World Congress on Animal Alternatives, on the Globalisation of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) in laboratory animal research. The audience there included policy-makers, scientists, regulators and NGOs. The aim of the paper was to try and intervene in arguments between European and American stakeholders about whose approach was best, which seemed to be overtaking other debates, and indicate something of what a social scientist might contribute. The talk seemed to go down well on the day, and stimulated some great follow up conversations.

I’ve decided to write it up now, in part, due to my involvement in development of policy-making in this area in the UK, including advising on the revision of the project licensing process, and in part as I am putting together a special issue on the history and future of the 3Rs for Science, Technology and Human Values. It has been submitted; given the journal, I will expect reviewer’s comments much later. I would really appreciated your input in the meantime. It has been a tricky paper to write. As it has moved audience, I have found it hard to step back from my engagement with the policy process and gauge the level of detail on regulations required, build further theoretical connections and engage readers less committed to this ‘insider issue’.

I would welcome any/all thoughts or comments, but have a few questions too.
– Have I missed a (more interesting) set of literatures on licensing in science? Are there other areas of science which these sort of argument might engage?
– I’ve chosen not to frame this through questions of care, as I, and many others, have written about these issues elsewhere, but I am aware this leaves a very legal/technical view of animal care. I am wondering the extent to which this a problem?
– It is already over length – I am wondering what details can be cut whilst still allowing people to follow the argument.

I look forward to any thoughts from anyone up for reading about the legal complexities of licensing in science as a new year task!”


Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] if you wish to join the group or for any other information.


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