Late autumn of 2017, the German research unit “R2N – Reduce and Replace based in Lower Saxony”, funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of the Federal State of Lower Saxony for an approximate total amount of €4.5 million, has started its work. The consortium encompasses 15 different research groups within 5 institutions in Hannover and Göttingen (
Animal-based research has to comply with the 3R principle (replace, refine, reduce) with regard to ethical justification of animal use. This consortium aims at developing scientifically-sound alternative methods on all levels of biomedical science to either minimize the quantity of animals used, or to fully replace existing animal experiments.
Therefore, R2N research groups plan to implement methods in basic as well as in translational research. The projects cover infection biology, immunology, respiratory research, regenerative medical science, transplant and implant research, as well as toxicology and safety assessment. Furthermore, two projects - closely cooperating with the other groups – focus on ethical and juridical aspects related to the acceptance and implementation of alternative methods in research and regulation.
In Lower Saxony, Federal State in Northern Germany, so far, only single projects existed in this research field. Given the financial support of the regional Ministry of Science and Culture, the establishment of the scientific network R2N will bundle the efforts of interacting research groups and will also provide a platform for possible future collaborations to further enhance biomedical science.

André Bleich, PhD Institute for Laboratory Animal Science, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany. Phone: +49 511 5326567.