We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
On 6-7th December 2016, the European Commission held a scientific conference in Brussels to engage the scientific community and relevant stakeholders in a debate on how to exploit cutting edge advances in biomedical and other research in the development of scientifically valid non-animal approaches (alternatives to animal testing). The event was one of the four actions announced in the European Commission Communication responding to the European Citizens' Initiative "Stop Vivisection".
Over 400 scientists from different countries, disciplines and sectors engaged in a dialogue to explore the current benefits and limitations of different models, and to consider how to improve the quality and predictivity of models used in research, including approaches to accelerate non-animal alternatives. Speakers from a range of backgrounds delivered short introductory presentations which were followed by discussion panel sessions. During these sessions, participants were invited to discuss the validity of animal models today in different sectors and the current state of play and ways forward for non-animal approaches in different areas of research and testing. Maurice Whelan, head of EURL ECVAM, discussed validation as a step towards regulatory acceptance and uptake of alternative methods.
The agenda also included reports on the progress of the other three actions: (1) accelerating progress in the Three Rs through knowledge sharing, (2) development, validation and implementation of new alternative approaches, (3) enforcement of compliance with the Three Rs principle and alignment of relevant sector legislation. Action 1 has been led by the JRC and this was presented by Tracey Holley (EURL ECVAM) whilst the Director of Directorate F - Health, Consumers and Reference Materials, Elke Anklam, participated in the panel discussion on knowledge sharing. The JRC report on 3Rs knowledge sharing will be published in the coming weeks.
EURL ECVAM also contributed with an exhibition stand and celebrated the 25th anniversary of ECVAM during the evening networking event on the first day.