Grants, awards & surveys

Updates on research grants, awards and surveys published by the 3RCC.

Call for projects for the Swiss 3RCC 3Rs Award

The 3RCC offers an award of CHF 5,000 to scientists who have significantly contributed to the advancement of replacement, reduction, refinement of animal experimentation (the principle of 3Rs) in the area of life sciences. The award takes into account contributions such as innovative methodologies, modifications of existing methodologies, basic research, applied research, methodology optimization, validation, teaching, testing, manufacture of vaccines, discovery and development of new medicines, medical devices and healthcare products for humans and animals. The winner will be invited to the 3RCC 3Rs Day on 2 September 2019 to receive the prize and briefly describe his/her contribution to the 3Rs. The application deadline is 17 June 2019. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/2019/01/01/442/

UniBe’s Bernhard Voelkl commended by NC3Rs for his reproducibility paper

Bernhard Voelkl from the University of Bern was highly commended by the NC3Rs of the United Kingdom for his work demonstrating that performing multi-laboratory studies can produce more accurate and reproducible results than studies in a single laboratory, without the need to use more animals. Pre-clinical animal research is typically based on single laboratory studies conducted under highly standardized conditions. In his research Voelkl showed that this near-universal practice may actually help to explain the poor reproducibility of pre-clinical animal research. Instead of standardized conditions, diversity may be better, he concludes. More info: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/
journal.pbio.2003693

3RCC Scientific Advisory Board member Jan van der Valk receives award

Jan van der Valk, director of the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Netherlands and new Swiss 3RCC Advisory Board member has received the Björn Ekwall Memorial Award for the year 2019. The prize recognizes his persistent, engaged, informative, and reliable work based on facts in informing the scientific community about the concern of using fetal bovine serum in cell culture medium from an animal ethical view point as well as in the perspective of reproducibility issues. Jan van der Valk is also recognized for his efforts in establishing the fetal bovine serum free data base (fcs-free.org). More info: www.bemf.eu/update

Call for submissions for EUR 20,000 Herbert-Stiller Prize for animal-free research projects

German non-profit organisation Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) is calling for submissions in German and English for animal-free research projects. The grant is awarded for excellent innovative research focussing on the investigation and therapy of human diseases. The DAAE only supports innovative projects that significantly contribute to medical progress by employing animal-free, human-based approaches including human-based in vitro models, in silico analyses or clinical and epidemiological studies. The project should aim at a significant contribution to medical progress and to the elimination of animal experimentation. Reduction and refinements projects are not accepted and all methods and consumables used within the project must be animal-free (e.g. no FCS or animal-derived antibodies).  More info: www.aerzte-gegen-tierversuche.de/en/projects/research-prizes/80

EPAA publishes call for submissions for its Refinement Prize 2019

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) announced a call for submissions for its Refinement Prize 2019 worth EUR 6,000. The Prize will be granted to a laboratory technician, animal caretaker or technologist who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in novel approaches to advance the implementation and/or awareness raising of refinement. The purpose of this prize is to target those implementing alternative approaches to animal testing and/or raising awareness of their role for the day-to-day application and innovation of the refinement principles in particular. The winner (or the winning team) will be invited to the EPAA annual conference in October 2019 to receive the prize and briefly describe his/her/their contribution to the 3Rs. More info: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/content/refinement-prize-2019-call-submissions_en

Katrin Wendrich and Tijmen Booij win 3RCC Poster Award at LS2

Tijmen Booij, ETH Zurich; Katrin Wendrich, University of Fribourg

The winners of the 3RCC Poster Award are Tijmen Booij from Nexus Personalized Health Technologies at the ETH Zurich for his replacement project, and Katrin Wendrich from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Fribourg for refinement.

Booij and colleagues developed a screening platform to test thousands of drugs simultaneously using pancreatic cancer organoids. They propagated pancreatic cancer PDX/organoid lines in 3D extracellular matrix and expanded for screening in more physiologically relevant in vitro assays with the aim to select more patient-relevant therapies. Booij expects these techniques to result in a reduction of the number of animal studies required for drug evaluation, as researchers may identify less beneficial drugs already in vitro.

Wendrich and colleagues investigated the influence of the circadian clock on sleep and brain metabolism. They in particular studied how the systemic circadian clock as well as the astrocytic and neuronal clocks modulate sleep architecture and glymphatic clearance under both physiological and sleep deprivation (SD) conditions. Wendrich used the non-invasive PiezoSleep system for sleep recordings, enrichment of the environment and gentle handling methods as refinement approaches, and to keep confounding stress as low as possible.