More Knowledge with Fewer Animals

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With the programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals (Dutch acronym: MKMD), we encourage the development of new animal-free models and the acceptance and implementation of existing animal-free research methods. Where that is not (yet) possible, we focus on the more effective use of results from animal experiments.

Animal-free methods and animal experiments

We are in favour of good science that contributes to people’s health. If that can be done without experimental animals, then we encourage that. We have played an important role in the transition to animal-free innovations for more than 20 years now. On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, we continue to develop programmes for the development and use of animal-free methods.

In some studies, experimental animals are necessary because there are no proper alternatives (yet) or because their use is required due to legislation. In such cases, we try to ensure that these animal experiments are conducted as thoroughly as possible and with as much impact as possible. We therefore fund the realisation and publication of systematic literature reviews of research using animals, as equally the publication of negative or neutral data from studies based on animal experiments.

Promoting the development, use and acceptance of animal-free innovations

We promote the development of innovative animal-free methods for (bio)medical and toxicological research. We also focus on the application or sharing of existing and new animal-free innovations to contribute to the (inter)national transition to animal-free research, for instance, by encouraging its acceptance and implementation in legislation.

We therefore fund cross-domain (interdisciplinary) research for which researchers collaborate with relevant stakeholders, such as industry, animal welfare and patient organisations, end users, regulatory bodies and NGOs. We strive for an optimal impact of the results by defining prerequisites for using, disseminating or sharing project results. The programme also aligns with our knowledge development requirements, such as FAIR data and Open Access.

With the MKMD initiative Create2Solve, we provide room for demand-driven research in which public-private partnerships take centre stage.

Partner in the Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI)

ZonMw is one of the partners of the national alliance Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI). The TPI aims to render the Netherlands a frontrunner in the international transition to animal-free innovation. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality directs the TPI trajectory in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Ministry of Defence Various initiatives that contribute to the objectives of TPI are currently underway. The programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals is one of these.

We work together with various parties and initiatives:

  • Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing
  • Health~Holland (Top Sector Life Science and Health (LSH))
  • Association of Collaborating Health Foundations (SGF)
  • Dutch Research Council (NWO) (Human Measurement Models)
  • Dutch Research Agenda (NWA)
  • Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad)
  • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
  • Funders Forum EViR
  • Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG)

Funding possibilities

Module Conducting a Systematic Review of Animal Studies Literature

The aim is to encourage the effective use of results from animal studies by increasing the findability and reusability of the studies. It encourages researchers to conduct a systematic literature review pertaining to the field of experimental animal research (or animal-free innovations). 
Read on about Conducting a Systematic Reviuw of Animal Studies Literature (only in Dutch)

Module Publishing neutral/negative results from animal experiment

The aim is the publication of unpublished, scientifically sound, negative or neutral data from animal experiments. In this way, ZonMw wants to encourage the publication of properly carried out animal research  with negative or neutral outcomes to prevent the unnecessary repetition of research and bias.
Read on about Publishing neutral/negative results from animal experiment (only in Dutch)

Module Organising Workshop on Systematic Literature Research in Animal Studies

With this grant, institutions have the opportunity to organise a 'hands-on' workshop within their own institute, in which training is given to researchers in conducting systematic literature reviews for experimental research with animals. With this initiative, the knowledge of how to write such a systematic literature review can be further broadened among researchers and the quality of education about it is ensured.
Read on about Organising Workshop on Systematic Literature Research in Animal Studies (only in Dutch)


The initiative Create2Solve focusses on questions from industry about animal-free innovations. In consultation with industry and the MKMD programme committee, we have formulated five challenges, which should lead to animal-free innovations that could make an important contribution to the replacement of (experimental) animals. 
Read on about Create2Solve (only in Dutch)


Dr Henriette Bout

Prof. Iris Sommer

Tineke Coenen de Roo
Dr Marjolein van Driel
Dr Janny van den Eijnden-Van Raaij
Dr Janine Ezendam
Dr Peter van Meer
Dr Natal van Riel
Dr Marijn Vlaming
Debby Weijers
Dr Katja Wolthers
Dr Raymond Pieters
Prof. Sabeth Verpoorte
Dr Marc van de Wetering
Dr Jelmer Wolterink
Marcel Zuijderland

Dr Erica van Oort
Dirk-Jan Saaltink


In progress
€ 6.459.000
Duration: 7%
Duration: 7 %


Martijn Nolte

Senior Programme Manager
mkmd [at]

Klaske Bos

Programme Manager
mkmd [at]

Eveline van Rijn

Programme Assistant
mkmd [at]

Workshop 30 August

Register for the 1-day workshop "Systematic review of animal studies" at Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Find more information here.