Following an initiative by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, the set Foundation was established on 21 March 1986. The abbreviation set stands for Stiftung zur Förderung von Ersatz- und Ergänzungsmethoden zur Einschränkung von Tierversuchen, - Foundation for the promotion of alternate and complementary methods to reduce animal experiments. Its approach was revolutionary, bringing together representatives from different groups for the common goal to reduce or avoid animal experiments:
Initial funding, of one million Deutsche Mark, came from the participating industrial groups. The funds for eligible research projects come from donations and from interest on the Foundation’s capital. Additionally the set Foundation receives annual financial support from the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection since 2010. The Foundation can look back on almost 60 successfully completed projects.