Advancing the 3Rs in Switzerland and beyond will require not only biomedical and technical innovations, but also new approaches to the associated societal discourse. With this goal in mind, the NRP 79 Steering Committee launched a second call for proposals specifically for projects from the humanities and social sciences. At a meeting held at the end of January 2023, the Steering Committee chose four outstanding projects that it intends to support with a budget totalling 1.8 million Swiss francs.
Reserach project 4 "Improving harm-benefit analyses" will be lead by Matthias Eggel, currently Post-Doc at the UnFR_ESH Institute. The decision to approve – or otherwise – animal testing is based on a harm-benefit analysis. However, such analyses are often difficult to conduct and present researchers and the authorities responsible for approval with major challenges. What counts as damage? How is pathocentric harm (e.g. pain and fear) weighted against non-pathocentric harm (e.g. instrumentalisation of the animal)? What methods can we use to compare the interests of humans and animals most effectively? These are some of the core issues that will be investigated by the team.