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Accelerating the transition to animal-testing-free medical science

Admission: Master’s and pre-Master students from Radboud University
Number of students: 8-10 students
Time frame: May 10 – July
Meetings: The lab will meet on Friday mornings (except for week 1, during which we meet on Monday May 10 during the afternoon, given the holiday that Friday)
Study load: 8-10 hours per week (this reflects around 3EC)
Course coordinators: Prof. dr. Merel Ritskes-Hoiting (Evidence-Based Laboratory Animal Science, Radboud UMC) and Prof. dr. Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers (Environmental Governance and Politics, Nijmegen School of Management)
Additional teaching staff: Cebuan Bliss (Environmental Governance and Politics)
Study costs: None
Application deadline: April 9

Animal testing in medical science is still an everyday business, despite increasing evidence that animal models are not representative for human diseases. Is animal testing really needed, or are there other solutions, and what are the main barriers to adopt those solutions?

From May 10 - July 2021 a special masters honours lab will be organized on accelerating the transition to an animal-free medical science. The lab is interdisciplinary, combining insights from different scientific backgrounds, including among others medical science, laboratory animal science, political science, public administration, business administration, history, philosophy, and law.

The honours lab is especially relevant given the COVID-19 pandemic, during which existing rules and practices around the use of animal testing for vaccines were adapted to accelerate vaccine development. COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved within a one-year period, whereas outside pandemic conditions this normally takes 10-12 years. Studies have run in parallel, i.e. human trials (phase 1) were started even before the results of animal studies were known.

Together with other Master’s students from various scientific disciplines, you are going to delve into this topic. You will study scientific literature, and get in touch with various experts and stakeholders.

The aim of the honours lab is to provide a state-of-the-art on:

  • Animal testing for human medical purposes (global analysis)
  • Ongoing efforts to replace, reduce and refine animal testing (the 3 Rs), and for the transition to an animal-free medical science more generally (globally in science and policy)
  • Main actors involved (including in science, policy, civil society) (global analysis)
  • Main barriers and levers to the transition (analysis in the EU and the Netherlands)

The state-of-the-art will be presented to Dutch stakeholders in the Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI).

How to apply

Please apply via this form. The application deadline is April 9. Please include in your application your CV and a motivation letter (of maximum 1 page) for the honours lab. We may hold intake interviews during the morning of Friday April 16.