Annual report 2005
1. Origin of the Foundation
The Foundation is a cooperative institution set up by the Parliamentary Group for Animal Experimentation Questions (public organ), Interpharma (Novartis Pharma Ltd, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Serono Ltd and the associated members Actelion Ltd, Cilag Ltd and Vifor Ltd) and the Foundation for Animal-Free Research (animal protection). It was entered in the commercial register on 18th August, 1987.
The funds provided to subsidise research stem from the Federal Veterinary Office and Interpharma.
2. Purpose of the Foundation
The purpose of the 3R Research Foundation Switzerland is to promote alternative research methods which avoid the use of animals, through grants for research projects. The organisation supports first and foremost projects aimed at developing new methods or refining accepted methods (validation) which offer practical improvements vis-à-vis standard animal experimentation in line with the 3R motto Reduce, Refine, Replace.
A broad range of projects is sponsored on the condition that they are likely to reduce the number of animals used or the stress and/or pain suffered. Projects considered must be based on the Foundation’s three principles and are mainly in the bio-medical multidisciplinary field.
3. Activities during 2005
In its nineteenth year of existence the Administrative Board met twice, in April and December, for a half-day meeting. Apart from the statutory business concerning the end of the business year 2004, the Board addressed the following issues.
Research funds for 2005 were allotted to 11 projects already underway. In addition, 5 new projects were approved, while 12 applications were rejected. The Board also took note of the final assessment by the Evaluation Committee of 7 projects which had been completed in the previous year. In view of the 5th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences to be held in Berlin, it was decided to sponsor the participation of five people who would present a project funded by the 3R Foundation. Furthermore, it was decided in principle to replace the outdated brochure drawn up in 1987 by a new version which would present the problems and aims of the 3Rs principle in a more generally comprehensible way. Finally the Administrative Board noted the results of a survey among former and current project managers regarding the value of the Foundation’s work. The survey revealed around 40 publications that relate directly or indirectly to a project funded by the Foundation.
With the support of the scientific adviser, the Evaluation Committee held two meetings during the year, where in particular they assessed new applications and evaluated completed projects. The voluntary work of the members of the Evaluation Committee in this connection is much appreciated.
The scientific adviser's tasks included publishing the 3R Info Bulletin (as a brochure and on the Foundation’s website at www.forschung3r.ch), writing brief scientific reports in English which present the projects receiving funding and regularly updating the Foundation’s website. He was also busy completing the 3R Training Course internet learning programme and observing how people interested in the course got on from a practical point of view. He also devoted a good deal of time to advising applicants and project leaders, calling for intermediate reports, evaluating draft projects, dealing with enquiries and explaining the rejection of applications. Finally he represented the Foundation at several conferences in Switzerland and abroad, namely the 5th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Berlin and the Annual General Meeting of the European Consensus Platform for 3R Alternatives to Animal Experimentation (http://ecopa.vub.ac.be) in Brussels.
4. Projects subsidised
Overview of the number of applications and approvals
During the year 7 projects were completed (56/97, 67/99, 70/99, 77/01, 78/01, 81/02, 83/02). Together with those projects completed earlier (1-5/87, 6-15/88, 16/89, 17-20/90, 21-24/91, 25-42/92, 43-44/95, 45-55/96, 57-62/97, 64/97, 65/98, 66/99, 68-69/99, 71-75/00, 76/01 and 79/01) this brings the total of finished projects to 80 out of 99.
5th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Berlin
The Foundation provided indirect support for the Congress by sponsoring the participation of five people who presented a project funded by the 3R Foundation through 5 papers and 4 posters.
The 3½-day congress (11th – 15th August) in Berlin attracted 850 participants from 46 countries, thereby achieving a good reputation. The topics addressed covered a broad range of areas. The focus, however, was on the recognition of pain in laboratory animals (anaesthesia and analgesia) and the introduction of non-invasive methods in animal experimentation. Presentation about non-invasive methods included the use of MRI (structures), PET (metabolism) or Doppler in various types of experiments. These methods normally lead to a reduction in the number of animals required per experiment (longitudinal studies), and often too to less stress for the animal during the experiment. The short formula 3R = more significant and more scientific animal experimentation, and therefore the old principle too of the better known the mechanisms the easier it is to replace an animal experiment were in general corroborated.
3R Training Course
The Foundation has set up the 3R Training Course internet learning programme to offer individual, specialised further training for people who carry out or supervise animal experiments. This course is available in German and English at http://3R-training.tierversuch.ch. Texts, images, links and documents provide visitors to the site with information on alternatives to animal experimentation.
The 3R Training Course has been recognised by the Association of Cantonal Veterinary Surgeons as a further training course within the meaning of the Federal Veterinary Office’s ordinance of 12th October 1998 on the basic and further training of persons involved in animal experimentation (SR 455.171.2). During 2005 people were hesitant to use the new online course, although nine certificates confirming that people had passed the on-line examination were issued.
In December 2005 Prof. Thomas Lutz of the Institute for Veterinary Physiology, University of Zurich, was elected to the Evaluation Committee.
In 2005 three new 3R Info-Bulletins were published again with a print-run of 1,000 copies each. The Information Bulletins are also published on the Foundation’s website. With the easily readable reports of successfully completed projects, the Information Bulletins are an excellent advert for the Foundation’s activities.
To date the following 3R Information Bulletins have been published in English:
7. Financial business
During 2005 around Fr. 540,600 was used for research grants. Project supervision and information accounted for around Fr. 115,800, including Fr. 13,000 for further work on the 3R internet learning programme; administrative expenses totalled Fr. 62,600. Total expenditure was consequently around Fr. 719,000. The amount spent on research for current projects (Fr. 522,200) was thus approximately Fr. 173,200 below budget (Fr. 695,400). This is mainly due to the fact that three projects each required Fr. 40,000 less funding than expected. Furthermore, the 5% reserve (Fr. 46,800 budgeted) was paid out in only one case owing to the late submission of final reports. A sum of Fr. 12,500 was used to sponsor five participants at the Congress in Berlin and an application for Fr. 18,400 to cover consumables for a project was approved, as an exception. Operational expenditure for project supervision, information and administration totalled around Fr. 166,000 and was thus Fr. 19,000 under budget (Fr. 185,000). This difference can be accounted for by the fact that both the further development of the 3R internet learning programme and administrative costs were below budget.
On the income side, the equal financial commitment of the federal authorities and Interpharma constitutes the basis for the Foundation’s activities, each body donating a sum of Fr. 445,000 to 3R.
Income totalled around Fr. 899,200 (federal authorities and Interpharma together Fr. 890,000, interest on bank account Fr. 2,400, repayment of funds granted Fr. 5,900, exam fees for 3R Training Course Fr. 900) while total expenditure amounted to Fr. 719,000, which gives a positive balance of approximately Fr. 180,200. The balance of unused research funds therefore rose from around Fr. 577,000 at the end of 2004 to Fr. 757,200 at the end of 2005.
The budget for 2006 includes a sum of around Fr. 656,000 for current projects and a maximum of Fr. 600,000 for new projects.
Overview of grants awarded between 1987 and 2005
At the end of 2005 a total of Fr. 13,813,475.90 had been granted for projects and other subsidies, of which a total of Fr. 12,625,954.05 has been paid out so far. Together the federal authorities and Interpharma have contributed Fr. 15,158,000 to the Foundation since 1987.
8. Financial statements
Münsingen, 21st March 2006
3R RESEARCH FOUNDATION
8. Auditors' report to the Administrative Board
As 3R Research Foundation's auditors we have examined the books and the annual financial statements (balance sheet and profit and loss account) for the year ending 31st December 2005.
The Administrative Board is responsible for drawing up the financial statements while our task is to check and assess them. We hereby confirm that we are duly qualified to do this and that we have no vested interest in the Foundation.
We have checked the accounts and statements according to the generally accepted principles of accounting, by which this task must be planned and carried out in such a way that important errors in the financial statements are reasonably certain to be identified. We checked the entries and information in the statements in an analytical and investigative way using random samples. Furthermore, we assessed the implementation of standard accounting principles, the main evaluations and the presentation of the accounts as a whole. We are of the opinion that our examination provides a solid basis for our assessment of the accounts and statements of 3R.
In our opinion, the accounts have been kept and the financial statements have been drawn up according to the relevant laws and the statutes and regulations of the Foundation.
We therefore recommend that they be approved.
Gümligen, 21st March 2006