Category Archives: EARA Blog

Job vacancy: Digital Media Officer

Digital Media Officer position at the European Animal Research Association

EARA is looking for a Digital Media Officer to manage our social media presence and other digital channels. The candidate will be required to work for a minimum of 3 days per week (with the possibility to expand to 5 days) in our office in Clerkenwell, London.

Salary: £10 per hour, minimum 3 days a week, at least until December 2017.

To apply: Send your CV and covering letter to kleech@eara.eu by 14 April, 5 pm GMT+1.


Digital Media Officer

This is an outline job description, intended to give the post holder information of the role and the range of duties to be undertaken. It does not attempt to detail every activity. Specific tasks and objectives will be regularly agreed with the post holder during appraisals.

Job purpose

To collaborate with the implementation of the external communications strategy of the European Animal Research Association (EARA), agreed by the Board and managed by the Executive Director. The post holder will manage EARA’s digital communications activity.

1. Candidate’s experiences

1.1 Proven experience of social media and website management

1.2 Excellent writing skills. You must be able to communicate complex information to varied audiences in a lively, accurate and accessible manner in a variety of formats including press releases, magazines, newsletters, websites and letters.

1.3 An understanding of the scientific, ethical and moral justification for animal research.

2. Candidate’s duties

2.1 To create engaging content for multiple social media channels, a weekly news bulletin and EARA website

2.2 To analyse and report on the performance of EARA’s various digital communications channels

2.3 To generate ideas and opportunities to pro-actively highlight EARA’s work, ethos and areas of interest

2.4 To aid in the development of press releases and media briefings

3. Person specifications

3.1 Educated to degree level. Relevant post-graduate qualification in for example Science Communications would be an advantage.

3.2 Competency in a European foreign language (German, Dutch or French) an advantage

3.3 Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal

3.4 Ability to work under pressure

3.5 Accuracy and attention to detail

4. General

4.1. To have a strong commitment to promoting the benefits of carefully conducted scientific research using animals

4.2. To treat all information as confidential and adhere to the obligations of the Data Protection Act

4.3. To demonstrate personal commitment and contribution to effective teamwork across the full range of EARA activities including the maintenance of effective liaison with internal and external key stakeholders

4.4. To actively and continuously review all work related activities and suggest areas for improvement

4.5. To undertake any other tasks which are commensurate with the level and responsibilities of the post

The position will involve a significant amount of telephone/web meetings and will involve some travel within Europe.

Max Planck Society publishes White Paper on animal research

On Thursday 12 January the Max Planck Society (MPS) in Germany published a White Paper in which it outlines key ethical issues surrounding the use of animals in basic research. The Senate of the MPS has adopted the white paper as a declaration of principle.

White Paper: Animal Research in the Max Planck Society

The White Paper states why animal research is still a vital part of life sciences research, and explains the legal and ethical framework that regulates animal research at the Max Planck Society. Together with the 3Rs, these issues shape the approach to animal research throughout the Society. Practically, the Max Planck Society has translated the ethical stance on animal research outlined in the White Paper into a number of commitments, including measures to increase animal welfare, encouraging and financing alternatives to the use of animals, and proactive engagement in professionalizing the public discourse on animal ethics.

In an important step the MPS has committed itself to open and proactive communications on the use of animals in research by explaining the research goals, the rationale for the application of certain methods and the outcome of the research projects to the public at large. In this way, the MPS intends to foster an informed dialogue between science and society on the use of animals in biomedical research.

A Presidential Commission on Animal Research in basic science at the Max Planck Society produced the White paper as part of an extensive and rigorous discussion process. In this process, the MPS consulted a group of renowned researchers from various areas of the life sciences, behavioural researchers, ethicists, communication specialists and senior individuals from the field of research policy.

Image: Max Planck Society

The Presidential Commission was convened by Professor Dr. Martin Stratmann (President, Max Planck Society) and chaired by Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolf Singer (Founding Director, Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in cooperation with Max Planck Society). Experts who fed into the White Paper include Professor Sir Colin Blakemore (Neuroscience and Philosophy), Professor Dr. Stefan Treue (Director, German Primate Center), Professor Sir Mark Walport (Chief Scientific Adviser, UK Government) and Kirk Leech (Executive Director, European Animal Research Association).

Read the full White Paper: “Position statement of the Max Planck Society concerning the use of animals in experiments for basic research” (in German; English version starts on page 32)

Read more: Animal research at the Max Planck Society

Scientists’ engagement in animal research policy-making – Lab Animal Europe column

The November issue of Lab Animal Europe magazine features an Outreach article written by Emma Martinez, EARA’s Communications and Policy Officer. In this article, also published in Lab Animal (US), Emma discusses how the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Stop vivisection’ and the review of Directive 2010/63/EU converge on the European Commission scientific conference ‘Non-Animal Approaches – The Way Forward’ and the need for scientific engagement.

Read the full size version here.

LAE-Nov16-Op-ed-scientists-engagement-policy-making

This article has been reposted with permission from Lab Animal Europe.

Transparency Agreement on Animal Research launched in Spain

A Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Spain was launched yesterday in Madrid. The Acuerdo de transparencia sobre el uso de animales en experimentación científica en España (lit. ‘Transparency agreement on the use of animals in scientific experimentation in Spain’), has been developed by Spain’s Confederation of Scientific Societies (COSCE) in collaboration with EARA’s Emma Martinez-Sanchez. The Spanish document has been developed based on the UK Concordat on Openness on Animal Research. Similar to the UK Concordat, the Agreement outlines four commitments for research centres in Spain to provide more information about animal research at their institutions.

Animal rights groups in Spain have been challenging research centres in Spain requesting to participate in the public debate. These challenges follow similar initiatives that have been happening in other European countries such as Italy and Germany. The European Commission acknowledged these calls for participatory debates in its response to last year’s European Citizens Initiative ‘Stop Vivisection’, where they called for more transparency and information.

The Spanish Transparency Agreement was featured in the November 2016 issue of Lab Animal Europe.

Logos of the 90 institutions that signed up at the time of the launch

Kirk Leech, Executive Director of EARA, said:

“I congratulate the Spanish scientific community with the successful launch of the Spanish Transparency Agreement on Animal Research. The Spanish Transparency Agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives across Europe to encourage transparency on animal research.

“It’s fantastic to see such a large number of research institutions signed up to the Transparency Agreement. This provides great strength in numbers in improving communication to the public about animal research. The next challenge will be to put the commitments into action – EARA will be helping COSCE to follow up on this and ensure that Spain keeps moving forward in openness on animal research.”

The Spanish Transparency Agreement was already mentioned in press in the context of the launch of Tierversuche Verstehen (‘Understanding Animal Testing’), the animal research website of the Allianz of German Research organisations.

Yesterday’s launch of the Spanish Transparency Agreement has been featured in many Spanish national papers and on some radio stations. Below are some examples:

El País: Los laboratorios que experimentan con animales abrirán sus puertas
RTVE: Presentan un acuerdo de transparencia en el uso de animales para experimentación
Noticias de Gipuzkoa: Presentan un acuerdo de transparencia en uso de animales en experimentación
Europa Press: Más de 80 instituciones públicas y privadas se comprometen a hacer más transparente la experimentación con animales
Te Interesa: Un centenar de instituciones firman un acuerdo de transparencia sobre la experimentación animal porque “No hay nada que ocultar”
Comunica Biotec: Transparencia también en experimentación animal

Studying the Zika virus in rhesus macaques

The 2016 Olympic Games are due to begin in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. In the lead-up to this year’s Games, the Zika virus has never been far from the headlines. A number of top golfers and basketball players have decided to pull out and other athletes have also expressed their concerns, despite the risk to anyone who is not pregnant being minimal. As it is not currently mosquito season in Brazil, experts say the Olympics will not accelerate the spread of the virus.

It is thought the epidemic has reached its peak in Latin America and will slowly burn out over the next few years. Still, there have been over 60,000 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Brazil since the outbreak began in early 2015 and the virus has reached Europe, with the first baby with Zika-related microcephaly born in Spain. Mosquitoes in Florida have now also been seen to transmit the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US have issued a travel warning for Florida.

Dr Koen Van Rompay, D.V.M. Ph.D., virologist at the California National Primate Research Center

Dr Koen Van Rompay, virologist at the California National Primate Research Center, studies the Zika virus in monkeys

The Zika virus remains a prominent public health concern and a priority for the biosciences. In March, EARA spoke to Dr Koen van Rompay, who helped to develop and test the anti-viral drug tenofovir, which is currently the most frequently used HIV drug in the world. We interviewed him on the day before he and his team at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) infected two female rhesus macaques with Zika virus to understand how the disease progresses. We asked him about his current study on the Zika virus, why he uses primate models in his work and how he responds to critics of animal research. Continue reading

On Lab Animal Day, Belgian science unites in support of animal research

This blog was also published on Huffington Post UK.

World Day for Laboratory Animals on 24 April was originally established by animal rights activists to raise awareness for the fate of animals in laboratories. Every year on that day, they organise demonstrations and petitions against animal research. But this time, on behalf of 24 research institutions in Belgium, we wanted to raise awareness of the important biomedical research that would not be possible without research using animals. Continue reading

Belgian research organisations unite in support of animal research

We are proud to announce the release today of a Statement in support of animal research and a transparent approach in Belgium to mark World Day for Laboratory Animals (April 24th). Signed by 24 research organisations, the statement sees public and private research institutions from all three regions in Belgium unite in a pledge for openness on animal research. Continue reading

Dutch animal research statistics: 18% more procedures than in 2013

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) published Zo doende 2014, its annual report of animal research in the Netherlands, yesterday. The number of animals used is 17.9% higher than in 2013. Despite the annual report containing revised numbers for 2013, direct comparison is difficult due to new reporting requirements following on from the European Directive 2010/63/EU. Continue reading

The last airline flying – Lab Animal column

The March issue of Lab Animal magazine features an Outreach column written by Kirk Leech, our Executive Director. In this month’s column, the first of a series of contributions to Lab Animal, Kirk talks about the importance of transportation of laboratory animals in making sure that responsible life-saving medical research using animals can take place. You can read the whole issue here (subscription required).

Lab-Animal-The-Last-Airline-Flying