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The EPAA partners grant 2 types of awards to scientists and laboratory technicians, whose work has brought an outstanding contribution to the development and implementation of alternatives to animal testing: The EPAA Science Prize and the EPAA Refinement Prize, alternating from year to year. In addition, the EPAA partners yearly provide several grants to students or young scientists to help them participate in major scientific conferences relevant to the 3Rs. For current open calls please see below. 

Refinement Prize

Winner 2021

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) is proud to announce the winner of its 2021 refinement prize. The 2021 prize went to Inês Mendes Preguiça of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra in Portugal. Her case study, HaPILLness, focuses on 'Precise voluntary oral drug dosing in rodents – an innovative 3Rs approach'.

See Inês' presentation at the 2021 EPAA Anual Conference.


Training and habituation of pigsThomas Bertlesen (runner-up)
A multimodal approach to refine large animal experimentsLisa Ernst (runner-up)

Winner 2019

Yvonne Armbrecht of the Veterinary University of Hannover received the 2019 Refinement Prize for her outstanding work on the ‘Effect of positive conditioning on stress induced heart rate increase in sheep used in a research and veterinary education facility'.

See therefinement prize ceremony and read the research abstract.

Winner 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

Winner 2015

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.

Winner 2013

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.

3Rs Science Prize

The EPAA 3Rs science prize was first launched in 2014 to promote European research on alternative approaches to animal testing.

3Rs Science Prize 2020 winner

In 2020, the EPAA secretariat received 12 high-quality submissions, accepted by the 6 members jury. Dr Viviana Meraviglia from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands was awarded the 2020 3Rs Science Prize. Her work focused on 'Three-dimensional multicell-type human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSC)-cardiac microtissues: a novel platform to study cardiac disease, cardiotoxicity and drug efficacy relevant to humans in vitro'.

The jury called her work strong and relevant for the 3Rs, noting it as well designed, innovative and validated. In addition, it was lauded as amenable for high throughput, simple and robust way of generating microtissue.

Dr. Viviana Meraviglia's case study

3Rs Science Prize 2018

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.

Winner 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.

More on Dr Appelt-Menzel work

3Rs Science Prize 2016

Winner 2016

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.

More information about Dr Louisse’s work.

3Rs Science Prize 2014

Winner 2014

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.

3Rs Student grants

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.

The call for the EPAA 3Rs student grants 2020has been stopped due to conference postponements.

Winners 2019

For participation in the EUROTOX annual congress – Federation of European Toxicologists

  • A full grant - Julia Hartmann 'Screening of various neural induced hiPSCs (hiNPCs) for use in (developmental) neurotoxicity assays'
  • A half grant - Kristina Bartmann 'Establishment of in vitro assays for regulatory developmental neurotoxicity testing'

For participation in the EUSAAT congress - European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing

  • A full grant - Alexandra Damerau 'Simulating an arthritic join in vitro by combining multiple tissue components'
  • A half grant - Zahra Mazidi ‘The effect of Cycloporin A on endothelial cells differentiated from iPS cells as in vitro toxicity model’

Winners 2018

For participation in the EUROTOX annual congress – Federation of European Toxicologists

  • A full grant - Awa Ndong 'Outdoor and indoor air pollution exposure: a cross-sectional study in Dakar city (Senegal)'
  • A half grant - Richelle Duque Bjorvang 'Persistent organic pollutants, pre-pregnancy use of combined oral contraceptive and time-to-pregnancy in SELMA cohort'

For participation in the EUSAAT congress - European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing

  • A full grant - Moritz Pfeiffenberger 'Mimicking the initial phase of fracture healing in vitro'
  • A half grant - Katharina Hohlbaum 'Systematic Assessment of Well-Being in Mice for Procedures Using General Anesthesia'

For participation in ESTIV – European Society of Toxicology In Vitro

  • A full grant - Maren Lück 'Motor neurons generated in vitro for Botulinum neurotoxin potency testing vary in the expression of motor neuron markers and genes relevant for mechanism of toxicity'
  • A half grant - Jock Boeckmans 'Application of a human skin stem cell-derived in vitro liver model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis'