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Towards replacement of animals for scientific purposes

Scientific online conference 2 – 3 February 2021

About the conference

Following up from the Scientific Conference Non-Animal Approaches- The way forward in 2016, the European Commission organised this second conference aiming to accelerate the move away from using animals in science and testing.

The main objectives of the virtual conference were to:

  • Provide an update on the Commission’s work towards the ultimate goal of replacing animals in science by advancing non-animal alternatives;
  • Demonstrate how education, training, and increased transparency on animal use, can help speed up the transition to non-animal approaches;
  • Showcase the most recent scientific advances in non-animal methods.

The conference was organized in 4 sessions:

Session 1     How transparency can accelerate transition to non-animal science

Session 2     Education & training with a focus on non-animal approaches and implementation of the Directive

Session 3     Cutting edge science: latest scientific advances to improve research and testing tool box

Session 4     Gaining trust in using new alternative approaches

The conference was attended by a diverse audience, with well over a thousand peo­ple joining from all around the EU and beyond. Knowledge was shared among people from universities and research institutes, NGOs, regulatory bodies, and policymakers at EU and Member State level. Breakout sessions allowed hands-on experience of new Education & Training tools.

The Conference report covers all the presentations, panel discussions and opinions shared by the audience via the chat tool, accompanied by overall conclusions and recommendations that emerged from the discussions, however, without a formal endorsement by the participants. It attempts to represent the discussion held during the Conference but should not be viewed as a complete review of this area of science or related legislation.


Tuesday 2 February 2021 Opening remarks by Virginijus Sinkevicius (European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries)


Session 1 – How transparency can accelerate transition to non-animal science

Susanna Louhimies and Pierre Deceuninck (DG Environment and JRC): Transparency to progress towards the ultimate goal of full replacement

Jean-François Dechamp (DG RTD): Open Science and the European Commission

Serban Morosan (League of European Research Universities): Good Practice in Communicating Animal Research at Universities

Zoltan Dienes (University of Sussex, UK): Pre-Registration versus Registered Reports


Session 2 - Education & Training with focus on non-animal approaches and implementation of the Directive

Katrin Schutte (DG Environment): Open access training E-modules and other education resources available via ETPLAS

Daniela Salvatori (Utrecht University): Anatomical models for Education and Training – focus on plastination and virtual reality

Julia Malinowska (University of Bir­mingham, UK): Learnings from JRC Summer School on Alternatives

Marcelle Holloway (JRC): Introducing the Three Rs into secondary schools, universities & education programmes

Lindsay Marshall (Humane Society Inter­national): Learning to apply non-animal, new approach methodologies in human health research

Breakout session 1:

Teaching to promote knowledge on and implementation of the 3R Example from the Karolinska Institutet’s Master’s programme in toxicology.

Annika Hanberg, Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet (KI)

Elin Törnqvist, IMM, KI

Charlotte Nilsson, Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)

Breakout session 2:

Presentation of E-learning modules on selected EU Education & Training modules available @ ETPLAS

Paul Flecknell, Flaire Consultants


Wednesday 3 February 2021

Session 3 – Cutting-edge science: latest scientific advances to improve research and testing tool box

Ans Punt (Wageningen Food Safety Re­search): Gaining confidence in physiologically based kinetic (PBK) model predictions for quantitative in vitro to in vivo extrapolations

Maddalena Fratelli (Mario Negri Insti­tute): How in-silico methods and data reuse can help reduce the number of animal experiments

Peter Loskill (Eberhard Karls Universi­ty Tübingen): Speeding up the development of Organ-on-Chip technology

Giel Hendriks (Toxys): ReproTracker: a Human Stem Cell-Based Biomarker Assay for in vitro assessment of Developmental Toxicity

Christodoulos Xinaris (Mario Negri Institute): 3D human tissues for drug testing and in vitro disease modelling

Francesca Pistollato and Laura Gribaldo (JRC): Non-animal approaches in Biomedical research: JRC activities and a dialogue with 3 scientists:

Erwin Roggen (ToxGenSolutions)

Anne van der Does (Leiden Uni­versity Medical Center)

Joan Montero (Institute for Bioengi­neering of Catalonia)


Session 4 - Gaining trust in using new alternative approaches

Ard Teisman(Janssen Pharmaceuticals): Drivers for the Pharmaceutical Industry to adopt human stem-cell based models

Shahjahan Shaid (GSK): Consistency approach IMI project Vac2Vac: quality testing approaches for both human and veterinary vaccines using non-animal methods

Marcel Leist (University Konstanz): Gaining trust in new ways of assessing developmental neurotoxicity (DNT)

Carl Westmoreland (Unilever): Case studies for assuring safety without animal testing

Rhiannon David (AstraZeneca): Using organs-on-a chip model to replace animals in drug development

Dilyana Filipova (European Coalition to End Animal Experiments): Role of Alternatives in COVID-19 Research

Christian Desaintes (DG RTD): EU H2020 research on COVID-19 and alternatives to animal testing

Maurice Whelan (JRC): Learnings from the JRC initiative BEAMS - Bridging Across Methods in bioSciences


Concluding remarks- Maurice Whelan (JRC) and moderators