[Study about the grant programme of the german BMBF for the promotion of alternatives to animal experiments] [Article in German]

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Franz P. Gruber, Peter Günzel, Brigitte Rusche, Karin Schwabenbauer
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Abstract

From 1980 until 1991, 98 research projects covering a total amount of 86.1 million German Marks were sponsored by the German Ministery for Education, Science, Research, and Technology in a research grant programme for the promotion of alternatives to animal experiments. The German Ministery for Education, Science, Research, and Technology appointed the German foundation SET (Foundation for the Promotion of Research on Replacement and Supplementary Methods for the Reduction of Animal Experiments) to carry out an essay on the efficiency of this grant programme. This essay was done with the help of a questionaire that was to be filled in by the project managers on a voluntary basis. 23 of the 98 projects had not been completed by the time of the survey. Not all of the questionaires returned were suitable for the purposes of the study. Therefore only projects covering 73.7 million German marks of the total grant amount were evaluated. According to their research subjects, the research projects were classified by the following categories: Reduction of distress or of the number of laboratory animals used in an experiment (5.9%); reduction of the number of animals by performing an animal-free method before the animal test (38.8%); replacement of animal test by an animal-free method (24.7%); basic research (20%); promotion of its acceptance by optimization of an animal-free method (8.2%); and validation of an animal-free method (2.4%). It is remarkable that not even half of those projects that were performed with the goal of reducing the number of laboratory animals mentioned any success concering this goal. There were large differences between industrial research projects and non-industrial research projects (universities, state-owned and private research institutes): The main goals of industrial projects were "reduction of distress or of the number of laboratory animals used in an experiment" and "reduction of the number of animals by performing an animal-free method before the animal test"; whereas the main goals of university projects were "replacement of an animal test by an animal-free method" or topics covering basic research. In 17 projects (grand amount 13.1 million German Marks) of the latter category a reduction of the number of laboratory animals was not to be foreseen; 13 of these projects were pursued at universities. Due to a change in the policy of the grant programme, no project of this category was sponsored after 1989. The reason for the very small number of projects on the validation of alternative methods might be that almost no more validation studies are performed on a national level; instead they are coordinated internationally.

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How to Cite
Gruber, F. P. (1996) “[Study about the grant programme of the german BMBF for the promotion of alternatives to animal experiments] [Article in German]”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 13(2), pp. 55–67. Available at: https://altex.org/index.php/altex/article/view/1637 (Accessed: 21 July 2024).
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