Innovative methods and alternatives to animal research


The Innovative Methods and Alternatives to Animal Research Online Support provides guidance and training resources to members of the research community interested in developing alternatives to animals in fundamental research and testing. These can be innovative methods to entirely replace the need for an animal model, or the replacement of an animal product in an assay or procedure (e.g. animal derived antibodies for immunoassay).

We are the Australian contact for SYRCLE (Expertise in Systematic Review), an alternatives research centre located in the Netherlands at the University Medical Centre, St Radboud University Nijmegen.

In pursuing animal replacement alternatives, the following methods have been proposed:

  • Data storage & sharing
  • Physical/chemical modelling + predictions
  • Mathematical & computer models, informatics
  • "Lower" organisms (e.g. yeast)
  • Cell culture - human ex vivo methods
  • Human studies (from: Balls M. (1994). Laboratory Animals, 28:193-211)

Please also see this contemporary review of alternatives to animals for testing and research here

There is research expertise for the above alternatives at the ANU, and via our national and international collaborative network.

ANU expertise

CECS: Biomedical & Tissue - Engineering in collaboration with Orthopaedic research at The Canberra Hospital


Australian Collaborators and Connections:

The University of Sydney in general and a specific project on animal-free cell culture models for malaria and vascular pathology

International Links and Collaborators:

Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA) and CAAT-Europe (University of Konstanz, Germany)

The Swedish Fund for Research Without Animal Experiments

How to get help?

For advice on the 3Rs and alternative strategies to reduce or replace animals in research and testing, please contact:

Dr Brett Lidbury (Associate Professor and Alternatives Advisor to ANU Animal Ethics Committee)

Telephone: +61 2 6125 7875            Email:

Advice and assistance includes guidance on grant applications, data acquisition and human ethics. 

Resources to Support Alternatives Research:

ANU Office of Research Integrity - Links to animal and human ethics policies and requirements

ANZCCART - Booklets with animal replacement ideas for research and teaching.

ALTWEB - Via the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (John Hopkins, United States)

ATLA - Via FRAME (United Kingdom)

ALTBIB - Via the National Library of Medicine (United States)

ALTEX - International journal of "Alternatives to Animal Experimentation" (2015: Impact Factor = 5.824)

ARRIVE - Guidelines and checklist for the reporting of research using animals in publications (UK, endorsed by ANZCCART)

NC3Rs (UK) - Many excellent resources and information available via this site. Go to the "Our Resources" link at the top of the NC3Rs home page for guidance on experimental design, sampling, ARRIVE and more.

PREPARE - Guidelines and checklist for planning animal research and testing (UK, endorsed by ANZCCART)

Useful Publications

These publications contribute to the debate on whether the use of animals as research models in the biomedical field are valuable and justified.

Research reproducibility

Criticizing animal experimentation at my peril

Can Animal Models of Disease Reliably Inform Human Studies?

Is animal research sufficiently evidence based to be a cornerstone of biomedical research?

Improving Bioscience Research Reporting: The ARRIVE Guidelines for Reporting Animal Research

Too many mice are sacrificed for seriously flawed studies

Page owner: Research Services