Introducing the Three Rs into secondary schools, universities and continuing education programmes 

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Authors: HOLLOWAY M.; BERGGREN E.; DURA A.; GRIBALDO L.; WHELAN M. 

Abstract: EURL ECVAM undertakes a number of initiatives to improve knowledge sharing on the Three Rs (the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal use in science). These include providing support to the teaching of the Three Rs and related subjects in secondary schools, universities and at early-career science levels. This report describes how to incorporate Three Rs teaching into the curriculum of schools and universities and aims to reach decision-makers and influencers within education systems who contribute to educational policy-making at European, Member State or local level. The content includes an introduction to the principles of the Three Rs; the relevant EU legal framework promoting the Three Rs; ethical considerations of animal use in science; as well as how innovative non-animal science is opening up new career and job opportunities for young people. The current state of play of teaching the Three Rs in education is described and recommendations are made on how to introduce new learning scenarios and resources to make Three Rs education more attractive and more consistent for education programmes at secondary school, university and professional levels. 

Non-animal Methods in Science and Regulation 

Authors: ZUANG V.; DURA A.; ASTURIOL BOFILL D.; BATISTA LEITE S.; BERGGREN E.; BOPP S.; CARPI D.; CASATI S.; COECKE S.; CORVI R.; DECEUNINCK P.; FRANCO A.; GRIBALDO L.; HALDER M.; HOLLOWAY M.; KIENZLER A.; LANGEZAAL I.; MADIA F.; MILCAMPS A.; MUNN S.; PAINI A.; PIERGIOVANNI M.; PISTOLLATO F.; PRICE A.; PRIETO PERAITA M.; VIEGAS BARROSO J.; WITTWEHR C.; WORTH A.; WHELAN M. 

coverAbstract: The annual EURL ECVAM status report describes research, development and validation activities, as well as initiatives that promote the regulatory use and international adoption of non-animal methods and approaches and their dissemination in the regulatory and research arenas.EU policies and legislation call for innovative and more efficient ways of safety testing and chemical risk assessment that do not depend on animal testing. Advanced technologies such as computational models, in vitro methods and organ-on-chip devices are being developed, evaluated and integrated to translate mechanistic understanding of toxicity into safety testing strategies. The ultimate goal is to achieve better protection of human health and the environment while supporting EU innovation and industrial competitiveness, without the use of animals.The development and use of non-animal models and methods are also essential for advancing basic, applied and translational research. Education also plays an essential role in enabling a shift to non-animal methods through the introduction of the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal use in science) into secondary school curricula and programmes of higher education. 

Establishing the scientific validity of complex in vitro models 

Authors: BATISTA LEITE S.; ZINCKE DOS REIS FERNANDES CIPRIANO M.; CARPI D.; COECKE S.; HOLLOWAY M.; CORVI R.; WORTH A.; VIEGAS BARROSO J.; WHELAN M. 

Abstract: Complex in vitro models (CIVMs) – such as 3D cell cultures and spheroids, microphysiological systems including organ-on-chip devices, bioreactor cultures or bioprinted tissues – aim to represent higher-level anatomical and physiological aspects of human biology in experimental studies. The underpinning technologies are developing fast and the models and methods being created constitute promising approaches in several different scientific areas with many applications in research and regulatory testing. However, the successful implementation and acceptance of CIVMs is likely to require their proper characterisation, validation or qualification to demonstrate to end-users that they are fit for a particular purpose or context of use. To explore this, the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) conducted a survey to investigate stakeholder opinions and perceived needs. The outcome of the survey showed that i) there is high interest in establishing some kind of assessment approaches for CIVMs; ii) assessment approaches (even if conducted differently) should be adequate not only for regulatory use-contexts but also address applications in research; and iii) CIVMs are still under (technological and biological) development and are thus not yet mature or standardised enough to enable a consensus on how their assessment should be conducted. 

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