IC-3Rs • Innovation Centre f


On campus • 21 September 2022

IC-3Rs Symposium 2022

Are laboratory animals needed in the development of new medicines?
What can we expect from new animal-free technology?
Are laboratory animals needed in the development of new medicines?
What can we expect from new animal-free technology?

These were the two crucial questions asked to the speakers at the online IC-3Rs Symposium that took place on 7-8 October 2021. IC-3Rs stands for the Innovation Centre which was created at the VUB in the field of 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) and will continue to expand thanks to the support of philanthropist Mireille Aerens. IC-3Rs is committed to using fewer animals where scientifically possible and to increase the focus on integrating non-animal alternative methods in basic and applied research, the areas where most animals are used worldwide. The Symposium was attended by more than 400 registered participants from 36 different countries, from all over the world, which clearly shows the importance of this topic. The Symposium was introduced by Minister Bernard Clerfayt, responsible for animal welfare in the Brussels region.

Can we develop new medicines without animals today?  All the experts clearly agreed: this is not yet possible today, but we can carry out parts of the research without the use of animals by introducing in vitro methods especially sophisticated cultures of human cells which provide useful mechanistic information. A lot is expected of 'organ-on-chip' technology, where human cells from different organs are brought into contact with each other via microfluidic channels. Human target cells can be obtained by stem cell technology, a method that has also been applied at the VUB for several years. Today, the 'best science' is a well-considered combination of in vivo and in vitro methodology, and the follow up of new developments is crucial so that non-animal techniques can be incorporated as soon as they are well established and available.

More info coming soon

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Sponsors of the 2021 Symposium

The Innovation Centre-3Rs (IC-3Rs) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) organizes a video contest that is open to all interested parties.
Important dates

The contest is open until 15 July 2022, midnight. The outcome will be announced during the Annual IC-3Rs Symposium at the VUB.


The idea behind the contest is to improve public awareness on the existing efforts to shift from in vivo, animal testing to in vitro, non-animal methods and at the same time offer the possibility to show creativity by making a short video clip on the 3Rs concept in the broadest sense. Alternative methods exist in many forms and may include in silico methods such as computer techniques, artificial intelligence, in vitro methods covering cell cultures, organ on a chip or whatever innovative technique that ameliorates or saves animal lives.

IC-3Rs Video Contest

What is expected? A creative video message in English of maximum 3 minutes on the topic of the 3Rs.

Applicants under 28 years (on 31/12/ 2022). Candidates have to fill in the registration form to apply. Deadline for submission: 15 July 2022 midnight.

What is the Prize?

The winner will be selected by the Symposium participants from 3 short listed candidates, selected by experts in the field. The winner receives 2000 Euro, the other 2 candidates each 500 Euro.


The ownership of the 3 selected works will be shared with IC-3Rs. Both will have the right to exploit these works during any of their future activities (e.g. website, YouTube). Yet the name of the creator and its affiliation need to be shown. A shared ownership agreement shall be signed by every candidate who submits a project.

Important resources of inspiration

For more information about the 3Rs and the development and implementation of alternative methods, please consult the following links:


Contact: sandra.roelandt@ic-3rs.org
IC-3Rs Communication Manager

Young Scientists Awards

  • Jury & Public prize • € 250 each


IC-3Rs Contest Registration Form

Information request

Request more information about the: IC-3Rs platform, symposium and Sponsorship opportunities.