The set Foundation supports a wide range of scientific projects whose focus is on the verifiable reduction, replacement, or refinement of animal experimentation. This represents a significant supplement of other institutions’ efforts to finance alternative and complementary experimenting methods. The Foundation’s funding emphasises three areas of activity:
Eligible projects propose the development of new alternatives or the revision of present methods suitable for reducing or replacing established animal experiments in industry and academia. Research aiming at alternatives to mandatory routine experimenting is also eligible. Among the projects previously supported by the set Foundation is a cell culture-based method to produce monoclonal antibodies, which replaced the use of mice. Another research project developed a method using human whole blood instead of one performed with rabbits.
The financial support of the set Foundation extends to publications, conventions, courses and seminars to improve the dialogue among scientists and communicate information on the available alternative methods and their application. One of its purposes is to have these methods recognised by the authorities and international organizations. In this context, ALTEX, a leading publication in the field of alternative methods reporting on the latest scientific results has been sponsored by the Foundation for years.
To improve the role and reinforce the application of alternative methods in scientific training, the set Foundation sponsors training courses for young scientists. One example is the teaching of a method testing the effectiveness of psychotropics which formerly required extremely stressful experiments on monkeys and cats: Today it is possible to test the effectiveness of the drugs with brain tissue slices from rats. Thanks to the Foundation’s support, this method, which calls for training in a special technique of brain tissue slicing, can now be taught at Professor Haas’ teaching laboratory at Düsseldorf University.