The animal research conversation


The animal research conversation

Our free science speaker programme that brings the topic of animal research to your classroom. Here are the answers to some of our FAQs about our free science speaker programme. 

If your questions are not answered or you'd like more information, contact Bola, our Outreach and Education Officer at


  • How do I book a session?

Simply fill out this form.

  • Is there any cost to the school?

None. All we ask is that you're willing to fill in a simple, brief, evaluation form after the visit has occurred.

  • Are you for or against animal research?

Understanding Animal Research supports the humane use of animals in medical science so long as it is essential for the research. However, we quite understand that there are legitimate concerns both ethical and scientific to the use of research animals and all our speakers will be happy to listen to objections and to discuss opposing points of view.

  • How long is the session?

The school talks usually last for about an hour, with about half of the time given over for questions and answers.

Workshops take about two hours but are flexible enough to fit into your timetable if you need something a bit longer or shorter.

  • What are the sessions like?

Volunteer speakers will talk for about 20 minutes about their research or work, what role animals play in this, and how they feel about it. They use visual aids, propsand class exercises to make the session more engaging. The talks should be quite informal with lots of opportunities for questions and discussion.

The workshops last for about two hours and are very interactive. The classes will work in groups to think about the drug discovery process and how and why we use animals in it. If there is enough space there will be running about and we like to get them dressing  up too.

  • Who are your volunteers and speakers?

They are mostly research scientists and animal technologists.

  • Are volunteers CRB checked?

No, it is not necessary. A condition of having a speaker is that a teacher is present at all times.

  • What facilities do the visitors need?

Most of the speakers have a PowerPoint presentation which includes video clips. However, PowerPoint facilities are not necessarily essential for the visit but you will need to discuss this with the volunteer in advance.

The workshops are ideally run in a large space that allows plenty of movement. They make use of video and a projector or PowerPoint will be needed. It is possible to run a workshop in a standard classroom, however.

  • What age are the visits for?

The ideal age range is between 14 and 18 and Year 10 in England seems to be most popular. However we have organised visits for younger pupils in the past and we would be happy to discuss this with you.

  • How big can the classes be?

Variable - we find that discussion is easier in standard class sizes of about 30 or fewer. However, speakers do address whole year groups or assemblies and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Workshops are designed for single or double class groups, but for the larger groups there must be a large space such as a school hall available.

  • Can we have multiple talks on one day?

Often, yes, but it depends entirely on the availability of the speaker. They are taking time from their jobs to do the visit. If they have time to do more than one talk they will, but we cannot always guarantee it.

  • Will you be showing any gruesome images or videos?

No. There are some images and clips of animals undergoing simple procedures but nothing that is upsetting. See some examples in our image and video libraries.

  • Will the speakers bring in any animals?

No. All animals used in research are closely monitored and under license and therefore cannot leave the institution where they are housed.