Necessity breeds invention, and the prospect of a complete ban on the use of animal testing in the EU cosmetics sector is a powerful driver for ambitious research and innovation across industry and academia. Methods to trigger cells into reinventing themselves, a prototype bioreactor to engineer living tissue and a computer model to predict the fate of a chemical in your body - these are just some of the recent achievements of SEURAT-1, a major European private-public research consortium that's working towards animal free testing and the highest level of consumer protection. With the European Commission's Joint Research Centre as a key partner, this biggest ever initiative in animal free toxicology is committed to doing things differently. A research strategy formulated around harnessing knowledge rather than simply generating data and an organisational model that marries crowd-sourcing with individual excellence, the proof of the pudding will be in demonstrating the concepts on which SEURAT-1 is built. Results in this field will also be useful in a wide range of other industrial and medical sectors and will have a positive impact on the competitiveness and innovation of EU companies.