Public and Patient Interfaces with Animal Research

Biomedical research is increasingly expected to be open and transparent, to translate laboratory findings into new drugs and treatments for humans and animals, and to engage the publics and patients who stand to benefit from this research. These demands have led to rapid growth in new forms of public and patient involvement across health research and clinical delivery. These innovations are beginning to open up new interfaces within the practices of animal research. 

Animal facilities are opening their doors to host public tours and patient events. Patient groups are inviting animal researchers to provide updates at their meetings. Medical charities, who have close relationships with these scientists, are initiating discussions amongst their members about the use of animals. Public involvement practitioners are introducing conversations about animal research into activities that inform research priorities. Social media and short films are creating new spaces for public conversations between researchers and patients about the use of animals in their work.

At the University of Exeter, our work involves attending these events and talking to everyone involved to understand the range of opportunities, challenges, and questions these encounters create. We are using the idea of the animal research nexus to highlight the different expectations and experiences that organisers, researchers, and participants have of these events, and to work towards enhancing their value for everyone.

If you have questions or suggestions about our research on public and patient interfaces with animal research, please feel free to contact Prof Gail Davies or Dr Rich Gorman.

A list of site content that is tagged as Engagement & Involvement – grouped by type of content.


The issues of openness, transparency and public engagement about animal research have taken focus in several different countries in recent years. This open access paper gives an account of a two-day-long, international expert forum on this topic.

This report discusses the different expectations people have of Patient and Public involvement and Engagement with animal research. We review the opportunities and challenges across perspectives. We also identify preliminary recommendations for enabling more meaningful involvement.

This report provides a record of the discussions at a workshop which brought together lay members from across the biomedical research sector to discuss the opportunities and challenges of shaping biomedical research.

Blog entry

We are delighted to feature this guest blog on mice models in animal research from Nicole C. Nelson.

Written by:

Gail Davies

Numbers can be a contentious issue in animal research.


This workshop seeks to bring together scientists and stakeholders to progress practices that will enable people to have more comfortable and productive conversations about animal research within the context of patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE).

A participatory workshop with Exeter's Univeristy of the Third Age exploring the what openness around animal research means at an individual level and how it could be improved. 

Project partners

The Medical Research Council’s Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) is located on the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire.