Alternatives Research & Development Foundation supports for the replacement of animals in research

Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF) has shown their support by giving a generous donation to support the FCS-free database, an initiative launched by the 3Rs Centre of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. is a website that encourages the use of serum-free media for in vitro studies. The donation from ARDF will increase the impact the website has on both the replacement of animals used in research and the reproducibility of in vitro studies.

Sue Leary, President and CEO of Alternatives Research and Development Foundation, says: “Alternatives Research & Development Foundation is very happy to support the database of alternatives to fetal calf serum that is supplied by the 3Rs-Centre in Utrecht. For years, our foundation has asked grant applicants who are working with in vitro models to utilise alternative culture supplements, primarily since the sourcing of fetal calf serum is a serious animal welfare issue. Now, we can refer them to a definitive resource. It’s a major project and filling an important need in the science community.”

Reliable alternatives for industry and research

Dr. Jan van der Valk, head of the 3Rs-Center, is delighted with the donation. “We’re incredibly grateful to ADRF for their contribution. Fetal calf serum (FCS, or FBS) is a supplement commonly used in animal cell culture media. However, its use raises considerable moral and scientific concerns. FCS is harvested from the beating heart of alive bovine fetuses taken from pregnant cows during slaughter, resulting in a serious animal welfare issue. Furthermore, FCS is a biological product with changing composition, complicating reproducibility of experiments. The FCS-free database allows researchers to identify FCS-free media for specific cell types and to discuss the applicability of each product, thus providing real, reliable alternatives for industry and research alike.” is developed by the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences (ULS) in collaboration with Animal Free Research UK and was launched in the summer of 2017. contributes to replacement of animals used for research and to the reproducibility of in vitro methods. With the support from ARDF, the 3Rs-Centre ULS is able to expand the FCS-free database with serum-free media recipes obtained from peer-reviewed literature. This will make the website more valuable to all in vitro researchers who are in need of media that can replace FCS in their experiments.

Support our activities

The 3Rs-Centre ULS maintains a number of databases that contribute to the refinement, reduction and replacement (3Rs) of animals used for research. These websites are free of charge to their users. The website does not receive any financial support and their future relies on donations and gifts. You can help the 3Rs-Centre ULS in its efforts to keep these websites available by making a donation here. The 3Rs programme is part of the charitable fund Friends of VetMed, and as such is exempt from any gift or inheritance taxes. 100% of your donation will contribute to the purpose specified by you.