Centre for Applied Bioethics

Centre for Applied Bioethics

Welcome to the Centre for Applied Bioethics, an innovative research centre which spans the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham. The Centre has extensive international experience of research in applied bioethics, biotechnology assessment and the sociology of science and technology.

Sheep in fields on the Sutton Bonington Campus

Key aims and expertise

Our aim is to act as the main point of contact for applied bioethics at a local, national and international level.  Research in the Centre is highly interdisciplinary and is supported through a variety of national and international funders.  The Centre has extensive international experience in four key areas:

  • Animals and humans in the laboratory
  • Agri-food and energy production
  • Animals and society
  • Ethical tools, including the Ethical Matrix

Current projects

Since 2008, our group has been awarded grants worth approximately £1.4 million. Examples of our current projects include:

  1. Animals and the making of scientific knowledge
    (Leverhulme Funding 2012-2017)
    Using animals as laboratory models is a key route through which scientific knowledge is produced. A new European Directive has recently come into force which has the potential to reopen some aspects of the UK animal research debate. This project will focus on the public consultation launched by the Home Office to explore: To what extent does legislative change and democratic consultation open up the black box of animal research, and how are definitions of ‘science’, ‘politics’ (and ethics) reconfigured in this process? This project is part of a larger programme of research entitled‘Making Science Public: Challenges and Opportunities’ awarded to CAB and the University of Nottingham.  
  2. Animal disease (NADIR)
    EU funding (2009-2013)
    The Network of Animal Disease Infectiology Research Facilities (NADIR)  brings together 14 European laboratories in order to, amongst other things, optimise their investigation and diagnostic/validation tools, achieve economies of scale and use the resources saved to modernise existing facilities in a coordinated manner.  Researchers at the Centre are contributing to work packages designed to strengthen the sharing of knowledge, map best practice and embed consideration of ethical issues. 
  3. Using animals to benefit animals
    Wellcome Trust funding (2013-2016)
    This project is awarded as part of a Wellcome Trust clinical fellowship in ethics and society and will fund a PhD project looking at the social and ethical issues raised by companion animal blood banking. The project involves supervisors and collaborators from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, the School of Biosciences, the School of Sociology, the University of Leicester, Lancaster University, and the University of Copenhagen.

More information about all our research projects 

Significant results

  • Outputs: Results from our projects are published in peer reviewed journals, book chapters and reports. For a list of key publications, please refer to details of our team.
  • The Ethical Matrix: There is a growing trend for scientists (and others) to engage in ethical discussions and wider reflection about their work. For academics interested in questions of science governance, the question of ethical reflection represents an interesting topic for empirical study. It also represents an opportunity to actually create structures to embed this kind of practice. Developed at the Centre for Applied Bioethics in 2000, the Ethical Matrix has been developed to provide a structure for ethical engagement. It has been used around the world by different researchers on a number of projects including animal biotechnology (Mepham et al., 2006; Millar and Tomkins, 2007) aquaculture (Kaiser and Forsberg, 2001) and canine genomics.

Research team

Related research








Centre for Applied Bioethics

The University of Nottingham
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6116
email: Email our Research Theme Leader