The EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation are a financial instrument aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. The goal is to ensure Europe produces leading edge science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. The EU Framework Programmes also address some major societal challenges and have been used extensively to advance the “Three Rs”.
During Framework Programme 7 (FP7), altogether some €200 million have been dedicated to animal-free toxicology projects, supported mainly from the Health theme. As part of this effort, six large projects have been co-financed for a total of €140 million by Cosmetics Europe and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations within the context of public-private partnerships (SEURAT and the Innovative Medicines Initiative: IMI, respectively).
In addition to this direct effort, indirect contributions to advance the “Three Rs” are also provided by numerous projects funded by the European Commission. These projects are usually not specifically geared to address the “Three Rs”, but they generate knowledge and improve significantly some tools allowing either the development of new alternatives, or reducing and refining animal use.
Horizon 2020 is the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the biggest ever of its kind, covering seven years from 2014 to 2020. Horizon 2020 will build upon the successes of FP7 and will provide further funding opportunities to advance the “Three Rs” for the benefit of animals and human safety, as well as for the advancement of science. The Horizon 2020 first Work Programme (2014-2015) contains four topics addressing predictive safety testing, of which at least two require non-animal approaches. The topic in the Work Programme 2015 for Health, with an indicative budget of €30 million, is on animal-free predictive safety testing of chemical substances. The topic in the Work Programme 2014 for Food Safety is about non-animal approaches to risk assessment of human exposure to multiple food-related toxic substances. Other projects contributing to the “Three Rs” might be further supported through the following Horizon 2020 Work Programmes, as well as in the context of the renewed IMI-2 partnership.
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FP7 funded EU Project SEURAT-1 "Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing"