The EPAA partners grant awards to scientists and laboratory technicians, whose work has brought an outstanding contribution to the development and implementation of alternatives to animal testing. Both science and laboratory technician prizes are awarded every other year.
The EPAA is proud to announce its 2017 Refinement Prize. Refinement refers to the modification of any procedure, husbandry and/or care practices with laboratory animals, to minimise pain and distress and enhance their well-being. This prize of €6000 is granted to a laboratory technician, animal caretaker or technologist who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in implementing and raising awareness of refinement of animal testing. The purpose of this prize is to target those actually implementing alternative approaches to animal testing and raise awareness of their role for the day to day application of the refinement principles in particular.
Laboratory technicians, technologists and animal caretakers carry out much of the work using animals for regulatory safety testing purposes and are therefore closely involved in efforts to apply refinement strategies in such studies. Refinement is one of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of testing on animals).
The winner was announced at the EPAA annual conference on 22 November 2017.
The EPAA Refinement Prize 2017 was given to Camilla Bengtsson and Marie Eriksson of Swetox (Swedish Toxicology Sciences Research Center, Sweden). They were awarded for their work methods leading to calmer rats and mice during experimental procedures.
Videos from the presentation:
In 2015, Alexandra Lorenz (from TissUse GmbH Germany) was awarded the 3Rs laboratory technician prize for her work entitled: A multi-organ chip for co-culture of organ equivalents for long-term substance testing.
Animal technician Jan Bilton from Leeds University won the first 3Rs laboratory animal technician prize for her work on treatment of ulcerative dermatitis in mice, in 2013.
The EPAA 3Rs science prize was first launched in 2014 to promote European research on alternative approaches to animal testing.
In 2018, the EPAA partners granted a prize of €10,000 for already achieved research, or a project at the completion stage with outstanding results in promoting replacement, reduction and refinement (the 3Rs) of animal testing. The purpose of the EPAA 3Rs science prize is to promote positive contributions from industry or academia and to encourage more scientists in the future to focus their research on the 3Rs goals.
Scientists working on methods for safety and/or quality testing and applying the 3Rs to those methods are eligible for this prize.
An EPAA jury made of representatives of European Commission, industry members and mirror group members reviews the applications. The winner was announced at the EPAA annual conference, on 20 November 2018.
Dr Antje Appelt-Menzel from University Hospital Würzburg of Germany was awarded the 2018 EPAA Science Prize. She received the €10,000 prize for her outstanding research 'Need for robust and standardized test systems - Stem cell-derived human in vitro models to determine blood-brain barrier penetration and neurotoxicity'.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) presents one of the tightest and most important barriers between the blood circulation and the central nervous system (CNS). It consists of specialised endothelial cells, which line the cerebral capillaries and are connected through very dense tight junctions (TJs). Together with pericytes, astrocytes, neurons, microglial cells and the extracellular matrix of the basal membrane of the brain capillaries, they form a dynamic and complex regulatory system, the so-called neurovascular unit (Hawkins and Davis 2005). The main functions of the BBB can be divided into 3 subgroups, the physical-, metabolic- and transport-barrier (Neuhaus and Noe 2010). The BBB mainly serves to maintain the homeostasis of the CNS and for protection against neurotoxic substances and pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. Moreover, the BBB ensures the supply of neurons with nutrients and regulatory substances. Furthermore, it is responsible for the efflux of CNS metabolism waste products.
Dr Jochem Louisse from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands was awarded the 2016 Science Prize.
He received the €10,000 prize for his outstanding research. The focus was on the development of non-animal methods for toxicological risk assessment using 6 hazard characterisation and exposure evaluations.
Currently, this risk is often characterised using animal studies. Replacing these with non-animal alternatives requires the translation of in vitro concentration data into in vivo doses in humans. Software known as physiological based kinetic (PBK) models handles this translation. These models are very powerful and enable a mathematical description of the fate of chemicals in the human body. These models can show the conversion of an external dose of a chemical to internal concentrations in body organs. They will calculate the reverse conversion of a known tissue concentration to an external dose too. The first models developed by Jochem Louisse have been applied to the prediction of toxic effects of several chemicals in rodents based on in vitro data produced in rodent embryonic stem cells. The next step is to predict the toxic and safe doses of a variety of compounds in humans based on in vitro data.
Dr Riina Sarkanen from the University of Tampere/FICAM was awarded the 2014 EPAA Science Prize. She was granted the €10,000 prize for her outstanding research that helped develop a novel in vitro human-based vascular network model.
Dr Sarkanen’s work was unanimously acknowledged by the Science Award Scientific Advisory Committee as the highest quality application received. More information about Dr Sarkanen’s work.
Every year, a number of international meetings bring together world-class scientists working on 3Rs alternatives to animal testing (Replacement, Reduction or Refinement). Costs linked to participation may prevent students with promising work from attending. For this reason, the EPAA partners decided to launch a new funding programme, the 3Rs Student Grants with the aim to sponsor and by this facilitate the participation of students and young scientists in important scientific events.
For participation in the EUROTOX annual congress – Federation of European Toxicologists:
For participation in the EUSAAT congress - European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing:
For participation in ESTIV – European Society of Toxicology In Vitro:
The biannual EPAA Science Award was held between 2010-2012. It aimed to promote the transition from innovative and experimental alternative approaches towards their industrial application and regulatory acceptance. The award supported the optimisation and regulatory acceptance of the 3Rs alternative methods.
The award provided young scientists with the opportunity to cooperate with experienced scientists from various industry sectors and the European Commission.
Financial support of up to €100,000 was provided to the institution of the successful candidate to allow the extension of an existing research contract, for a period of up to one year.
2012: Dr Nils Kluever from the Department of Bio-analytical Eco-toxicology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany was granted the 2012 science award for his work on 'Increasing the predictive capacity of the fish embryo test'. See more information on the work of Dr Kluever.
2010: Dr Felix Spoeler from RWTH, University of Aachen, Germany was granted the 2010 science award for his work on Ex Vivo Eye Irritation Testing (EVEIT). See more information on Dr Spoeler’s work.