The 3RCC thanks all applicants who submitted a project for the 2019 call! With an increase in the amount of funding of CHF 1,375,000 available this year, we were happy to receive 96 outline applications from more than 20 different institutions for our second open call. We received almost double the number of applications, which shows the need for funding into the 3Rs. The average amount requested was about CHF 300,000 with an average duration of 2.6 years per project. More than half of the projects are related to replacement. The 3RCC Scientific Advisory Board shortlisted 22 outline proposals from over 10 different institutions. Half of the projects relate to the replacement of animal experiments, while about 30% aim to refine animal experiments and 20% focus on reduction. The most popular research fields are oncology, nervous system, reproductive system and immunology. Together with the five applications invited for re-submission from the 2018 call, the 3RCC expects to receive up 27 full proposals from which it will select the projects to fund. Invited applicants may now submit their full proposals until March 15, 2020. More information on the 3RCC’s grant programme can be found here: https://swiss3rcc.org/2019/06/01/3rcc-open-call-2019/
Grants, awards & surveys
Updates on research grants, awards and surveys published by the 3RCC.
Kristin Schirmer and Melanie Fischer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) received the 3RCC’s 3Rs Award 2019 for their outstanding research work. The researchers developed a toxicity test that uses cultured fish gill cells instead of fish, thereby saving thousands of fish lives. Normally scientists must expose fish to chemicals or water samples for four days and record death to assess toxicity. Researchers at Eawag have been working on alternatives to animal experiments to reduce and replace such tests on live fish for many years. The toxicity test the researchers were awarded for uses cell lines cultured from rainbow trout gills in the laboratory to reliably determine acute toxicity levels for fish of water samples and chemicals. For the first time ever, the researchers managed to obtain ISO certification for such a test. The award honours researchers who have made an important contribution to promoting the 3R principles. The awardees received their prize during a dedicated session at the 3Rs Day on 2 September 2019.
More info: https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article/169/2/353/5368498
The 3RCC awarded two young researchers at its 3Rs Day for their presentations. Andre Dos Santos Rocha from the Department of Acute Medicine at the University of Geneva won the 3RCC Poster Award for his presentation on A rabbit model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: how to refine animal experiments in respiratory medicine. Together with colleagues he developed a refined rabbit model of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, where they addressed animal welfare at all steps. To identify signs of suffering as early as possible, they evaluated the animals twice a week. If any of the score parameters were positive they would give supplementary oxygen, bronchodilators and/or analgesics.
Victoria Schreiner from the Division of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Basel received the 3RCC Oral Award for her presentation Development of a sustained-release depot formulation of buprenorphine for pain relief in experimental animals. Together with colleagues at the University of Basel and the University of Zurich she developed a sustained-release formulation of an analgesic that is frequently used in veterinary medicine for post-surgical pain release in mice and rats. Their sustained-release depot of buprenorphine based on biodegradable microparticles prolonged the effect to the marketed standard formulation to at least 24 hours.
The Lush Prize call to fund initiatives to replace animal testing is open until 6 December 2019. The prize, which is based on the 1R of replacement rather than refinement or reduction, is awarded in the five categories Lobbying, Training, Public Awareness, Science, and Young Researchers. With total prize money of GBP250,000 it is the largest prize fund in the non-animal testing sector. The prize is for projects, organisations, institutions or individuals focussed on ending the use of animal testing or for research into non-animal tests, or promoting the use of non-animal tests in toxicology.
More information: https://lushprize.org/
Marianna Kruithof-de Julio and Robert Rieben from the University of Bern’s Department for Biomedical Research were the only Swiss scientists to receive one of the prestigious congressionally directed medical research programs on behalf of the Department of Defense this year. Kruithof-de Julio received her grant to study factors, which drive metastasis in prostate cancer, to predict which types tend to become aggressive and to develop new therapeutic targets. Rieben, who is conducting research on the 3Rs, is working on a method, where he uses a heart-lung machine to preserve traumatically amputated limbs longer to make treatments and replantation more successful. Press release from the University of Bern.
The Swiss 3RCC is proud to announce its next open call with an increased amount of funding available of CHF 1,375,000. Outline applications can be submitted from 7 October until 3 November 2019 on our new online platform. This year’s application process is separated into two stages. At the first stage, applicants fill out a brief Outline Application, which gives an overview of the project’s main ideas and potential impact on the 3Rs. Selected outlines will then be invited for a Full Application. The maximum funding applicants can request is CHF 400,000 with a maximum project duration of three years. More information on the 3RCC’s grant programme can be found here: https://swiss3rcc.org/2019/06/01/3rcc-open-call-2019/
The 3RCC received 54 applications for its 2018 call. About half of the projects focused on replacement, 30% on reduction, and 20% on refinement. The total of funding requested amounted to about CHF 15.5 million with funds worth CHF 1.2 million available. Complete applications having no major shortcomings underwent a two-step evaluation process. First, international reviewers having expertise in the fields of the applications evaluated the applications. The reviewers considered a majority of complete applications (70%) as being of good to excellent quality at this step. In a second step, the 3RCC Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) evaluated and compared the top 26 complete applications. The main criteria evaluated were potential impact on the 3Rs, quality of science, benefit over current methodologies, feasibility, and chances of successful implementation in the broader scientific community. The SAB recommended six projects having the highest evaluations by both SAB members and external reviewers for funding, and the 3RCC Strategic Board approved them at its last meeting in May. Three of the selected projects focus on replacement, two on reduction and one on refinement. The 3RCC made sure that there were no conflicts of interest, and that it maintained the confidentiality of shared information throughout the process. We thank all submitters. The next 3RCC call for projects will open in September 2019. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/category/research-funding/