Helpathon Team from the Netherlands wins Lush Prize for Training 2020

Friday, 20 November

The Lush Prize offers a global prize fund to support initiatives to end or replace animal testing. It is the largest prize fund in the non-animal testing sector.

This year the winner of the Lush Prize for Training is the Helpathon Team from The Netherlands. Their innovative brainstorming sessions help scientists who currently use animals explore new approaches so that the same questions are answered and the same goals can be reached, but now by using non-animal methods. The two-day workshop brings together people from different scientific disciplines but also non-scientists, including financiers, general public and patient organizations.

The prize is worth £50.000, -. The prize money will be used by the team to spread the Helpathon method internationally.

The Helpathon is derived from the hackathon

A Helpathon is a multi-day meeting. Helpathon is derived from hackathon and aims to get people to come up with innovative solutions together around social themes. Since 2018, the TPI Helpathon team has been organizing various Helpathons on the theme of "animal-free research". In this way, various researchers have been challenged and supported to conduct their research without animal testing.

Innovative animal-free research

hDMT PI Prof. Dr Sue Gibbs, cell biologist and tissue engineer at Amsterdam UMC, ACTA hopes that this recognition will encourage more academics to actively explore the options available to them to answer their research question with fewer or no laboratory animals. Carine van Schie, head of research and innovation at the Dutch Burns Foundation in Beverwijk believes that more Helpathons will also encourage research funders to dare to finance more innovative non-animal research applications.

Newest team member Debby Weijers from Stichting Proefdiervrij, the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing, is looking forward to applying the method in her practice.

Source: TPI Helpathon

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