Utrecht working group for animal-free innovations in science
Scientific institutions at Utrecht Science Park that are involved in animal testing are joining forces to accelerate the transition to animal-free innovations. They have set up a working group of top researchers of various biomedical disciplines and innovation science. It is called TPI Utrecht and collaborates closely with the governmental Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI).
TPI Utrecht stimulates innovations: How can we improve for example research into medicines, food safety and chemical risk without the need for laboratory animals? The working group aims to stimulate multidisciplinary collaborations and positive discussions, and to look beyond borders and walls. The starting point is that everyone in the biomedical field strives for top quality.
The working group offers practical support to researchers and lecturers. There is a Helpdesk to get into contact with experts, and Helpathons are being organised, where an interdisciplinary team looks for animal-free ways to answer a certain research question. TPI Utrecht will also promote existing solutions and help to further develop them using the power of several Life Sciences hubs.
Transition means dynamism. This offers the setting for new approaches to biomedical research in order to achieve novel methods that better predict human responses
Both ambitious and realistic
The group is both ambitious and realistic. Chairperson Daniela Salvatori: “We are well aware that the possibilities of drastically reducing animal use in the relatively short term are not there for the taking. They also differ per research area. But if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Transition means dynamism. This offers the setting for new approaches to biomedical research in order to achieve novel methods that better predict human responses. At the same time, we must realise that current animal experiments are done with great care, after a thorough ethical assessment. But things are moving now, and Utrecht is well positioned take leadership in innovation in research and education. I see, for example, that these days students already look at animal experiments in a completely different way than ten or twenty years ago. So, this is the moment to nudge that movement. The time is right."