Event on the transition to animal-free innovations!

12 december 2023 van 13.00 uur tot 17.30 uur, Villa Jongerius Utrecht
The importance of both animal models and animal-free innovations will be highlighted by discussing their current significance in biomedical research during an afternoon of exciting sessions. The event is organised by ZonMw and the NCad.

Goal of the meeting

We invite you to join us on this event to share your experiences and discuss the ideas, solutions and recommendations from the ZonMw Knowledge agenda Transition towards Animal-free Innovations and the NCad target images. The event is designed as an opportunity to bring ambition and realism together with interesting sessions, useful information, drinks and networking. 

The event is free, but registration is required. Sign up here!

Preliminary program

  • Walk in lunch
  • Welcome and introduction
  • Plenary lecture

Parallel sessions on:

1.1 The (un)usefulness of systematic reviews: when to do them and when not to?
1.2 Target Image Immunology: what will be the next step?
1.3 Target Image Cardiovascular: what will be the next step?
1.4 Validation of non-animal methods: What are the opportunities and obstacles?

2.1 Preregistration of animal testing: Why shouldn't we do it?
2.2 What does the transition need: a new mindset or more knowledge and awareness?
2.3 Target Image Education: What will be the next step?
2.4 Target Image Neuroscience: What will be the next step?

  • Awarding the Willy van Heumen oeuvre award
  • Strategic funding in the transition
  • Wrap up and closing
  • Drinks and informal networking


The Netherlands aims to be a catalyst in the (inter)national transition to animal-free innovations. Many animal experiments have poor reproducibility and the translatability of the results from animal experiments to humans is often disappointing. Nevertheless, research with laboratory animals has given us a lot of knowledge about the physiology of humans and animals and insight into the origin and course of diseases. Therefore, animal experiments are still considered by many as an indispensable part of biomedical research. How do we look at this paradox?

While ambition in the transition towards animal-free innovation is important, finding a healthy balance between ambition and realism is essential when it comes to setting goals and prioritising the best ideas. But what is ambition and what is realism? To gain insight into this, ZonMw and the NCad developed the knowledge agenda and target images, respectively. The ZonMw Knowledge Agenda Transition towards Animal-free Innovations identifies both obstacles and solutions in the transition towards non-animal approaches and provides specific recommendations to stimulate this transition. The NCad target images on animal-free research describe clear transition objectives for each research domain aimed at reducing the use of laboratory animals with equal or better research quality.

Questions? send a mail to mkmd@zonmw.nl