The Three Rs and Animal Use in Science Project


The 3Rs project aims to build learning activities for secondary school to introduce the principles of the 3Rs - the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal experiments.

3Rs is a framework to achieve humane experimentation that can be summarised as follows: wherever possible, (1) replace animals with e.g. tissue or computer models (replacement); (2) test with the fewest animals possible (reduction); and (3) use less sentient animals and make testing procedures as humane as possible by reducing discomfort and increasing welfare wherever possible (refinement)

The project aims to implement these learning activities in the secondary school curriculum. Through these learning activities, the project will help students become compassionate towards animals, become interested in ethics in science, and develop their critical thinking and science literacy skills.

After the development of six learning activities by the pilot teachers, volunteer teachers tested them in their classrooms and conducted an evaluation to investigate the impact of these learning activities on students. The learning activities also culminated in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “ The Three Rs and Animal Use in Science”, hosted on European Schoolnet Academy’s online course platform.

Thanks to the 3Rs project, students will develop their critical thinking and science literacy skills by exploring topics such as ethics in science, how the European Union is protecting the welfare of laboratory animals, and what high-tech non-animal tools are available as alternatives.

Basic information

Country: Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom

Coordinator: Joint Research Centre (JRC),

Programme: Other

Project Acronym:

Target groups: secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, vocational school students

Topic: Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Education

Start year: 2019

End year: 2021


Contact person: Agueda Gras-Velazquez, agueda.gras (at)



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