2021 started and ended under the influence of the COVID pandemic, but between these points it was also a year when we, as a centre, could return to a more normal daily life. It has been a great pleasure for us as a 3R centre to organize our scientific symposium and to hold the annual meeting of the animal welfare bodies in our capacity as a national committee. I would like to express my gratitude to the Lundbeck pharmaceutical company who provided an excellent setting for the annual meeting of the animal welfare bodies on their premises. Both events were wellattended, and the subsequent evaluation also showed great satisfaction with the meetings. We were very pleased to see that an increasing number of researchers decided to spend two days at our symposium. Not all speakers could attend in person, and some presentations were delivered online. This form of access to a number of outstanding speakers has opened our eyes to the perspective of improving the climate footprint of our meetings in future.
We awarded the 3R Prize at the symposium, as we have done every year. In 2021, the award was given to Professor Rie Vinggaard of the Technical University of Denmark. For many years, she has studied the effect of endocrine disruptors on unborn children. In her work, she has always focused intently on developing non-animal-based research methods. She is an important role model as she has obtained a prominent position in an important research area with a scientific effort that is widely based on animal-free methods.
We have focused on a number of specialist areas in 2021. This has involved drafting recommendations that will reduce the use of animals in the production of antibodies and for teaching purposes, and once again in 2021 we have taken a closer look at the animals exposed to the highest level of severity.
During the centre's eight years of existence, we have managed to build a strong international network which is naturally supported by the establishment of 3R centre-like organizations in our surrounding countries. We have a highly constructive dialogue with the other European national committees at regular meetings, which has actually been strengthened by an increased meeting frequency due to online opportunities. In the spring, we participated in a well-attended Nordic two-day 3Rs webinar at which various Nordic contributors presented 3R projects, and we also took part in the planning and organization of a number of European webinars with the Swedish 3Rs Center and the British NC3Rs, among others.
2021 was supposed to be the last year of the term for the current board of directors which has been getting the Danish 3R-Center off the ground since its establishment in 2013, but as one of many consequences of the pandemic, the Danish Parliament has not had the time to adopt the new veterinary agreement aimed at extending the life of the centre by a new four-year period. The existing board members have consequently been asked to stay on for another year, which everyone has accepted, with the exception of Adrian Smith. Adrian will therefore be replaced by Birgitte Kousholt of Aarhus University in the coming year. With his large network and keen knowledge from Norway’s 3R platform NORECOPA, Adrian has been of great service to the centre, for which I would like to thank him. At the same time, I would like to thank the rest of the board for their dedicated efforts in the past year.
Also, we did not manage to distribute our research funding in 2021, as Birgitte's appointment had not been finalized at the board meeting in December, which is why the funding will be distributed at an extraordinary meeting in January. However, we have been pleased to see the increasing quality of applications since the first grants eight years ago. We are also pleased with the many publications resulting from the funded projects.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Danish Animal Welfare Society, DOSO, LEO Pharma, Lundbeck, Novo Nordisk and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries for supporting the Danish 3R-Center in 2021.
Despite some interaction having to take place online, we experience excellent dialogue with our stakeholders. I also wish to extend my deep gratitude to our highly professional and hard-working secretariat which is the daily engine in the centre’s work.
We are now looking forward to 2020 where we can hopefully get out and meet many of those who are already interested in the 3Rs and those who may become so in
Axel Kornerup Hansen (Chairman of the board of the Danish 3R-Center & Chairman of the Danish National Committee for the Protection of Laboratory Animals Used for Scientific Purposes)
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