How can we encourage the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free models? This is the key question in the new call published by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). Almost 2.9 million euros is being made available in this call for research by broad consortia of researchers and civil society partners. ZonMw is realising this Call for proposals in collaboration with NWO.
Every day, people are exposed to numerous chemical substances which occur in products such as drugs and cosmetics and in the environment. A thorough safety assessment of a substance is necessary to protect people against its possible dangers.
Animal experiments are still frequently used for such assessments. However, this use of experimental animals is facing increasing criticism from both a societal and scientific viewpoint. Reasons for this include animal welfare and the translatability of the results from animals to humans. Several parties are committed to accelerating the transition to animal-free models for the safety assessment of substances.
Many animal-free models already exist. Yet despite this, the widespread use of animal-free models remains limited. Numerous parties from different domains are involved in this theme, such as society, science, legislation and industry. Each of these parties has its own motives, convictions and interests. The acceptance and implementation of animal-free models therefore require additional effort, flexibility and trust. By inviting all these parties to participate in consortia, we encourage the use of existing animal-free models for a more reliable prediction of the effects on human health.