The 3Rs Centre stimulates the development of 3Rs methods

Animals used for scientific procedures are a moral dilemma in society and science, especially involving ethical considerations. Unfortunately, in many research areas animal experiments are conducted because no alternatives are available (yet). But the use of animals always requires justification and researchers and other parties must weigh the interests of society (i.e. treatment for a disease) compared to the interests of the animal (i.e. not to be used in a painful experiment). It is the responsibility of the researcher to handle the animals carefully and to develop animal-free methods or to use these methods when available to answer the research question.

The 3Rs Centre stimulates the development, acceptance and implementation of 3Rs methods (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments), by advising and giving information to researchers. Public is informed about animal experiments, the 3Rs and the latest developments in this field. The centre also participates in the course Laboratory Animal Science and relevant master programs, aimed for anyone interested in setting up animal experiments.

The 3Rs Centre has initiated the 3Rs Database Programme.

Working groups 

The 3Rs Center also wants to form working groups to promote the implementation of the 3Rs. We do this in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Body Utrecht and TPI Utrecht. The different topics addressed are for example parallel studies, non-animal derived antibodies, laboratory fish, and replacement of animal-derived products in cell cultures.


We further stimulate the dissemination of 3Rs methodologies by bringing together offer and demand of internships. Advanced bachelor students and master students who are willing to dedicate their talent, time, and energy to help advance the 3Rs in biomedical research are brought in contact with researchers looking for these competencies. We will also help to find the necessary funding. Internship projects can be big or small, include parallel studies or studies aimed at the replacement of animal-derived products in cell culture, but they can also be part of larger projects. Importantly, the science should be excellent, reproducible, transparent, and open.

3Rs methods

All our activities are aimed at facilitating researchers to include 3Rs methods in their research, with the ultimate aim of bringing down the numbers of animals used for research and education without compromising the quality of it.

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