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The global 3Rs community

As a National Competence Centre, the 3Rs Center interacts with the 3Rs community and other competence centres globally. One of the dedicated tasks for the National Committee is to share best practices and collaborate with stakeholders and other national committees in Europe.

The 3Rs community is large and committed. Together, we can achieve so much more than if we act alone and on a national level only.

European NC Network

All national committees in Europe come together in an informal network called European NC Network. In 2019, the annual meeting was held in Stockholm with the Swedish National Committee as the host. Since then, the network has had digital meetings to share knowledge and experiences with each other.

European network for 3Rs organizations, EU3Rnet

The Swedish 3Rs Center is a member of the European network for 3Rs organizations, EU3Rnet, organised by the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing, EUSAAT. The network disseminates information on advances and activities related to the 3Rs to its members, who in turn will disseminate the information further through their contacts.

In 2022, the network submitted a joint COST application that was granted under the name IMPROVE. COST is a funding organisation and stands for "European Cooperation in Science and Technology". COST finances networks for research and innovation, in this case a network to promote the 3Rs.

Within the COST Action IMPROVE there are four working groups that work with quality and translatability of science, implementation, dissemination and education in the 3Rs area during 2022-2026. The Swedish 3Rs Center is represented in the working groups of Implementation and Education.

The EU3Rnet network has also published the first two articles in a series of three on the origin, work and future of 3Rs centres in Europe.

3Rs across Europe

In a smaller and more informal network, initiated by the 3Rs Centre in UK, a number of 3Rs actors meet to share knowledge, but also collaborate where possible. Over the years, we have arranged several appreciated webinars together. We meet regularly to share the ongoing work, but also to plan joint webinar series.

In 2021, we arranged a webinar series on replacing basement membrane extracts. Many in vitro models are dependent on animal-derived products, for example to support cell growth or differentiation, which can show batch-to-batch variation and can involve animal suffering in their production. Replacing these with non-animal derived products provides an opportunity to increase the reproducibility of in vitro models and remove the use of animals completely.

The group consists of 3R centres from Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Network for Preliminary Assessment of Regulatory Relevance

PARERE – EURL ECVAM’s Network for Preliminary Assessment of Regulatory Relevance – is a network of national regulators. The network shall provide opinions on regulatory relevance of methods or approaches submitted to EURL ECVAM for validation and peer review.

It is of great importance that national regulators are involved early in the process of method validation in order to speed up the regulatory acceptance of alternative methods.

PARERE has its mandate in the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (2010/63/EU) and each member state shall nominate a national contact point for the network. The contact point shall provide advice on the regulatory relevance and suitability of alternative approaches proposed for validation. The network also includes relevant Commission services and the EU regulatory agencies EFSA, ECHA and EMA. The Swedish 3Rs Center is the national contact point in the PARERE network.

Partnership for the Assessment of Risk from Chemicals

The Partnership for the Assessment of Risk from Chemicals (PARC) is a seven-year research and innovation program within the EU Framework Program Horizon Europe. The program has a regulatory perspective and is about developing, improving and strengthening the EU and national authorities' risk assessment of chemicals.

Swedish government agencies and a large number of researchers at our universities participate in various work packages within the PARC partnership. The Swedish 3Rs Center is part of the Swedish hub.

The Swedish group functions as a network to disseminate information and exchange knowledge and experiences. The group gather experts from different parts of society to ensure a Swedish perspective in the program, they coordinate the work and contribute to the goals of PARC.