- Analyze the context of a real-life problem and distinguish the most relevant elements for designing a solution;
- Assess opportunities offered by the existing state-of-the-art technologies and solutions and identify areas for innovation relevant for solving a real-life challenge;
- Gathering, selecting and analyzing information, tools and techniques and integrating this into final project deliverables in terms of process and content at an academic level;
- Discuss and defend their viewpoints and conclusions in a feasible, professional and academically correct way;
- Set and reflect on personal learning goals based on their expertise and that of other team members and stakeholder, in a cyclic manner leading to future reflections and actions.
10 million animals every year are used for scientific purposes. A similar number of laboratory animals are bred every year for science but never actually used. If we stop animal testing today, what would the world look like? |
When we buy food or drinks in the supermarket, we can assume that these products are not harmful to our health and to the environment. If you take a look around your kitchen, there is a big chance that all the food and drinks you find has at some point been tested on animals. Food safety research not only tests the final product, but looks at the whole production process: ingredients, chemicals, flavoring, packaging materials and the machines used to produce the food or drinks: Simply everything to do with food has been tested on animals. Is there a way to change this situation?
Although there is a legal obligation in Europe to replace, refine or reduce the use of animals for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63/ EU45), the regulations are still mostly based on a requirement for animal data. This means that large numbers of animals are still being used to support the food and beverages industries.
The food industry is facing the challenge of assessing food and food components for humans while using animal based tests with limited relevance for the general population. Therefore, there is a need to develop models and methods that can better predict effects in humans.
Researchers are inventing new technologies that can reduce animal models. New approach methodologies (NAMs) are being developed in an increasingly rapid pace and put forward to refine, reduce and replace animal testing in safety assessment. The NAMs include in vitro tissue cultures, high content imaging, omics and computational models. There is great potential for animal-free strategies. The scientific developments and acceptability of approaches need to be more reflected in legislation and need to be more promoted by producers.
Can you help us develop concrete policy measures to accelerate the transition towards animal-free innovations?
We define policy broadly. To us it is broader than rules and regulations.
Policy can be an objective, or the establishment of a program that facilitates cooperation.
This is an ongoing process at different levels inside and outside our institutions.
Still, the number of animals used in science has not decreased in the last year.
How can we accelerate the dissemination and acceptance of animal-free innovations and stimulate the attitude going with it even more through effective policy measures?
Can we innovate this complex ecosystem of food safety testing (regulators, large companies, startups, universities, research centers) without using animals?
To accomplish this, we have to start focusing on educating the next generation of researchers, educators and legislators.
The course is in collaboration with Proefdiervrij NL and RIVM.
Students from TU/e and WUR can register for this challenge via EduXchange.nl
In order to structure the learning process, we will facilitate four different milestone events. If Covid allows it, these events will be organized on-site, on alternating locations. In between events the education will be mostly online and partly a-synchronous. The educational design is divided into three different phases with an increasing level of responsibility:
- During the first phase the core-team will facilitate weekly learning activities to create a common base of skill and knowledge relevant to grasp the formulated challenge.
- During the second phase the learning community as a whole (including the students) will be responsible for acquiring and sharing relevant expertise to tackle the defined problems.
- During the third phase each team of students is responsible to obtain the required expertise needed to finalize and validate their proposed solution(s).
Throughout the entire learning process each team will be supported by an assigned coach to steer their project progress and facilitate learning. Next to regular group meetings each student will have at least three individual meetings. This, so called individual track, is focused on personal learning goals and cyclic reflections.
Please note: this challenge is a cooperation between multiple institutions and in collaboration with external stakeholders. Therefor our learning activities can not strictly follow the planning of one specific institution (periods, timeslots, etc.). The second semester (for UU/UMCU and TU/e) starts on February 6th so our first live event will most likely take place in that first week which means for WUR students during the resit exams. All live events will have a full day program and are a crucial part of the challenge. For all other learning activities we will try to be flexible and schedule these mostly on afternoons.
|To participate in the RAT Challenge, the student must have (disciplinary) knowledge in his/her field of study and should have successfully completed (at least!) the first two years of their BSc program. Furthermore, the student should master information literacy, computer literacy and presentation skills; English verbal and writing skills should be on a level which allows full contribution to the project development, and full independent functioning in a student team.||Verplicht materiaal-|Werkvormen
AlgemeenCourse starts on the 6th of February and will continue for 10 weeks as a parttime course. This means we expect students to need 20h per week for this course. Workshops and meetings hosted by the RAT team will be scheduled on afternoons mondays to fridays.
Bijdrage aan groepswerkStudents will work in a multi-disciplinary student team on a real-life challenge for which finding a solution requires the creative co-creation of new knowledge across the boundaries of existing practices (individual track 30%, group track 70%).
|Full day event|
AlgemeenDuring this challenge there will be 4 physical full day events. These will start with a kick-off on Monday 13th of February, followed by events on Friday 24th of February and Tuesday 21st of March, and the final event on Friday 14th of April. We aim to have these events scheduled from 12:30h to 20:00h. We can imagine you might want to work with your team on those days in the morning as well. In any case we would advise you to save the mornings on those days as well.
|Group track deliverables|
Beoordelingproof of concept, final presentation and final report
|Individual track deliverables|
Beoordelinglearning goals, action plan and reflection report