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The very first network-wide annual meeting took place between December 7th – 8th at Kasteel Bloemendal in Vaals, Netherlands. With the participation of more than 150 guests from academia and industry, the 3R-community gathered to talk about replacement, reduction, refinement and more. The 1.5-day event started with the welcome address of Mrs. Ina Brandes, the Madame Minister for Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, how the 3R Competence Network NRW has already become an important role model in 3R engagement for other regions in Germany in a year. She continued “It is clear aim of the government of NRW to strengthen animal protection, improve the conditions for the animals, and prevent unnecessary animal suffering.” emphasizing animal experiments being an indispensable part of basic biomedical research.

The program continued with the introductory presentations of each member faculty of medicine, and sessions of “Reduction”, “New Thinking in 3Rs”, posters presentations, and “Replacement”, respectively. After the scientific sessions, the Get-Together Evening took place for participants to further socialize and network witnessing the "Aachener Tierschutzpreis" ceremony. The second day started with the keynote lecture “The use of clinical signs to determine the severity of experimental procedures on an animal” by David Morton, the developer of the first severity assessment for the laboratory animals. The program concluded with the “Replacement” session and by the closing remarks of Prof. René Tolba, local host of the event, and of Michael To Vinh, the network manager.

Aachener Tierschutzpreis 2023

The 4th 3R-Tierschutzpreis der Medizinischen Fakultät der RWTH Aachen was awarded to three research teams in early December 2023. The award ceremony took place within the frame of the 1st Annual Meeting of 3R Competence Network NRW. In the category of “Replacement”, Federica De Lorenzi and her colleagues were given the award for their published work “Engineering Mesoscopic 3D Tumor Models with a Self-Organizing Vascularized Matrix” showing a bioprintedartificial tumor model to study pathophysiology and advanced drug testing in vitro. For “Reduction”, Dr. med. Matthias Deininger and colleagues were granted the award for “Post-Mortem Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Perfusion Rat Model: A Feasibility Study” testing oxygenation performance on rat cadavers for up to eight hours. In the category of “Refinement”, Lucas Mösch and colleagues received the award for “Towards substitution of invasive telemetry: An integrated home cage concept for unobtrusive monitoring of objective physiological parameters in rodents” developing camera-based monitoring of vital parameters for rodents. We congratulate all the laureates and thank them for promoting the 3R research.