NRP 79 "Advancing 3R": Successful kick-off

For the first time, all 23 research groups and involved actors met to discuss common goals and challenges.

At the end of November 2022, the 23 research groups met for the first time in Bern to get to know each other and exchange ideas. Also present were the members of the steering group and representatives of other participating organizations such as Innosuisse and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).

"I am very pleased with the dedicated and motivating kick-off," says Herwig Grimm, President of NRP 79. "Our goal was for the research groups to exchange ideas, discuss possible collaborations, and benefit from the expertise of the others – starting from day one. We succeeded in doing that."

Another goal was for researchers to think about measures of success. How can the success of this research program be measured at the end? What indicators are useful? "It's clear that the absolute number of animals used can't be the sole basis for this," says Grimm, "because these numbers always have to be read against the background of other factors, such as research activity in Switzerland."

Measuring the 3R effect

Otto Maissen, representing the FSVO, also addressed the issue in his presentation. In his view, what is needed above all is the definition and implementation of a 3R monitoring. "We cannot measure the effect of the 3Rs on animal experiments numbers at the moment. It is impossible so far to measure projects that have not been carried out thanks to the 3Rs. We also cannot measure numbers that have been reduced thanks to the 3Rs or measure the refinement effect." He added that there is a need for such a monitoring and also a more committed implementation of the 3Rs in practice.

In the afternoon of the all-day meeting, researchers exchanged ideas on these and other topics: What can individual research projects contribute to the success of the NRP? What do the researchers need to be able to implement their results into practice? The first contacts have now been made; the next step is to deepen and expand them.

Further milestones in 2023

After the kick-off, another milestone in NRP 79 will follow in early 2023: the selection of projects for the second call with a specific focus on the humanities and social sciences.