Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht have awarded a total budget of € 200,000 to enable promising innovations in the area of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal testing (3Rs) in the form of small-scale research within their own institutions. These can be 3Rs applications for animals used for scientific research, or education and training. The money comes from the 3Rs Stimulus Fund, which was established in 2016. The winners are employees of Utrecht University or UMC Utrecht, who are directly or indirectly involved in the use of laboratory animals within the research or education of these institutions and submitted their proposals.
The 3Rs Stimulus Fund subsidies have been recently awarded to the following projects:
- Human nerve cells from pluripotent stem cells: central organisation of an animal-free neurobiological model system – Prof. Casper Hoogenraad and MSc Feline Lindhout, UU, Bèta, Cell biology
- SimUpig, a realistic phantom for practising venipuncture on pigs– Dr. E. Meijer, UU, Veterinary Medicine, Farm Animal Health
- The development of a new in vitro metastasis assay – Dr. Guy Roukens, UMC Utrecht, Regenerative Medicine Center Utrecht
- Pain-in-a-dish – Dr. Hanneke Willemen, UMC Utrecht, Laboratory of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease
- Making air pockets visible in plastinated animals for educational purposes (pilot phase) – Dr. Claudia Wolschrijn, UU, Veterinary Medicine, Pathobiology
- Refining the measurement of acute stress in mice and rats: the use of infrared thermography in a home cage (pilot phase) – Hetty Boleij, UU, Veterinary Medicine, Animals in Science and Society
There were 19 submissions altogether, all of them of high quality. The winning submissions stood out for their contribution to the 3Rs, feasibility, knock-on effect and other effects. Three project proposals all had the goal of promoting optimal use of animal tissue; the candidates were consulted to see if the three could be combined.
These winners of the 3Rs Stimulus Fund succeed the winners of the proposal round in 2016. After granting the awarded funding to the winners of this year, the 3Rs Stimulus Fund is entirely allocated to promising 3Rs projects. It has not been decided when the next round will be organized.
If you are interested in implementing a 3Rs stimulus fund for your own institution, please contact the Animal Welfare Body Utrecht for more information, like the code of conduct which entails the goals and procedures of the 3Rs Stimulus Fund.