Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Helpathon: £10,000 available for pilot study grants

Deadline 30 June

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK are teaming up with members of the Dutch TPI Helpathon initiative to bring the first Helpathon to the UK on 11 and 12 October.

Helpathons are used in the Netherlands to help researchers who might otherwise undertake animal experiments to make the shift towards animal free methods.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 June 2022.

Researchers should send a short summary of their research interests and what they would like to achieve from the Helpathon to

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

UK’s first Helpathon to accelerate human-relevant science announced

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK have teamed up with Dutch partners from the Transition Programme for Innovation to launch Britain’s first Helpathon.

Helpathons are used in the Netherlands to help researchers who might otherwise undertake animal experiments to make the shift towards animal free methods.

Carla Owen, Chair of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and CEO of Animal Free Research UK said “The arrival of the project in Britain will help the country’s scientists transition away from outdated animal-based medical research methods and grasp a human-relevant future.”

TPI Helpathon team member Pepik Henneman, said: “A Helpathon invites anyone to ask a question to help resolve a societal issue. We will invite medical researchers to ask how they can innovate their research methods in an animal free way.”

Prof Sue Gibbs of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre and TPI Helpathon team member, said: “By obtaining advice and eliciting answers from trail blazing scientists already using human-focused methods, our Helpathons are undoubtedly shifting mindsets and making it easier to transition to human relevant science.”

The first UK Helpathon will be hosted by the Alliance for Human Relevant Science on 11 and 12 October.

Owen added: “All research scientists are invited to become involved in the project. Our Helpathon is the next step in the innovation wave that is transforming medical research in the UK and beyond.”

Owen is currently chair of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science, an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals. Working together, the Alliance aims to improve awareness of the transformative potential of human-focused research tools and increase their use to improve public health.

For more information, please contact or visit

Notes to Editors: 

Animal Free Research UK CEO, and chair of The Alliance for Human Relevant Science Carla Owen, is available for interviews about the Helpathon.   Please contact Animal Free Research UK Media and PR Manager Peter Simpson : Tel (+44) 07803 051 848

Animal Free Research UK funds pioneering research that saves humans and animals and is forging a future where animals are replaced with modern, human relevant techniques. With over 92 percent of new drugs tested on animals failing to benefit human health, the charity recognises that a transition to animal-free human-relevant technology will help position the UK as a science powerhouse. For more information visit

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science is an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals. Working together, we will accelerate innovation and create positive change.  Click here to find out more Who we are – Human Relevant Science

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022


On Tuesday 22nd March 2022, Grahame Morris MP hosted the publication of the APPG for Human Relevant Science’s new report “Bringing Back the Human: Transitioning from Animal Research to Human Relevant Science in the UK” at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

The report makes the case that the UK’s system for funding research and innovation is holding back the discovery and development of new medicines and treatments to meet today’s health challenges. MPs called for a new government Minister for Human Relevant Science to drive the transition to human relevant science necessary to advance treatments for diseases.

Read the full report and a summary here.

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Sir David Amess (1952-2021)

Members of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science were devastated to hear the news of the tragic passing of Sir David Amess on Friday 15th October. Sir David was Vice Chair of the APPG for Human Relevant Science and understood the way in which human health could be improved without the need to use animals. He supported the launch of our Whitepaper in March 2020 and was keen to see change in biomedical science for the benefit of all. Above all, he was approachable, caring and genuinely interested in our cause. His compassion was clear and is reflected in the many tributes now being paid for his charitable work and steadfast dedication to the constituents he represented. He will be sorely missed and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

Fourth APPG meeting Tuesday 14th September

The fourth APPG on human relevant sciences will be held (virtually) on the Tuesday 14th September 2021 at 4.45 – 6.15pm UK time where we will explore how countries other than the UK have successfully addressed the transition to human relevant approaches and how EU and international animal law and ethics are important factors in this transition.

This final meeting for 2021 for this APPG will be followed by a report of our findings to be published in Nov 2021. Call back here after the meeting to hear what was discussed at the fourth meeting and our plans for the launch of the final report.

Confirmed speakers

Pepik Henneman is co-director and co-founder of Mister Lion, an Amsterdam and Ghent based lab for societal change (Meneer de Leeuw), helpathon specialist and transition management expert. Pepik lectures at the Rotterdam University Erasmus Academie on transition management and social innovation.

After having graduated at the T.U. Delft (1996) Pepik began his career as a petroleum engineer at Shell International Exploration & Production BV. Taken by the concept of sustainability he developed the basis of his vision and practice at Schumacher College (MSc Holistic Science 2001). In 2000, Pepik founds Innovaders consultancy from which he advises organizations on sustainable business. In 2006 he became affiliated to the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) at Rotterdam Erasmus University where he brings the concepts of transition management into practice. At Meneer de Leeuw, Pepik leads co-creation processes between local government, institutions and citizens on a broad range of societal issues across Europe. His work includes interventions and visionary publications on regional development, urban mobility, living streets, urban climate mitigation, energy saving, sustainable agriculture, youth employment, international cooperation, refugee shelter, social divide, elderly care and citizen participation and more recently animal free innovation and sustainable transitions in the construction sector.

Pepik is the author of Frontrunners in action (Burgermeesterboek, van Gorcum 2012). Frontrunners in action describes a perspective on societal change and proposes a method for local sustainable innovation. ‘In our method we call up on officials of municipalities and departments to radically involve the frontrunners and pioneers to contribute to the development of their region. We call upon leaders of organizations and business to take on the role of regional change agents.’

Mister Lion is a social enterprise
Mister Lion is a social enterprise based in Ghent and Amsterdam, we have intervened in a wide range of societal transitions in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and various other EU countries. We have 15 years of experience in organizing coincidence. We enter into an open dialogue with people in an area, a sector or an organization. We immerse ourselves in each complex social system. Together with our stakeholders we explore new ways of doing, thinking and organizing – and try them out right away.

The way we work
Our clients see the urgency and the potential, our innovation networks explore the possibilities and we listen and look for openings. We follow the energy and discover new organizing ideas. We help our clients innovate and become more effective in accomplishing their societal mission. We ask for space and freedom to look afresh and find suitable ways to achieve results.

Animal Free Innovation
Mister Lion was asked in 2014 to lead round table discussions for the think tank on alternative financing for animal-free testing from a transition perspective, via the co-creative ‘temporary innovation network’ approach. From these conversations, the first transition sketch of the animal testing regime emerged. This sketch is included in the publication In Transitie!, together with the recommendation to continue the ‘temporary innovation networks’ approach. At the end of 2017, Mister Lion was asked by the Ministry of LNV to help set up the temporary renewal networks strategy, which forms the basis of the current TPI programme. Mister Lion was then challenged to show how the concept of temporary innovation networks can be successfully put into practice. Mister Lion organised and led the Innovative Health Research network. At the beginning of 2019, this new network presented its progress report with clarification, results and challenges. The network also introduced the Helpathon as a new innovation protocol. Since then Mister Lions co-organized five successful TPI Helpathons.

Prof. dr. Sue Gibbs is Chair in skin and mucosa regenerative medicine at both Amsterdam University Medical Center and Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA). Her entire career has focused on human skin and mucosa biology, in particular in animal alternative methods to develop novel therapeutic strategies for treating and preventing human disease. In vitro models are currently implemented for risk assessment and testing mode of action of compounds and novel actives, in collaboration with industry. In 2015, she received the national ‘’Daring in the Lab’’ prize by the Dutch Animal Protection society. Recently, her research has extended into the field of hair follicles and importantly ‘’organ-on-a-chip’’, in particular immune competent ‘’skin-, melanoma-, lymph node- and gut- on-a-chip’’. These models have the potential to provide a personalized medicine approach to treating human disease. She joined the TPI network in 2018 and helped initiate the Helpathon to assist scientists willing to transition to animal free innovations. The Helpathon team won the international LUSH prize in 2020 enabling the funding of Helpathons in 2021.

David Thomas is a solicitor. He has acted for nearly all the major animal protection organisations in the UK (and beyond) and is highly experienced in EU and international animal law, including trade law. He has also acted extensively in human rights cases (which can be relevant to animal protection law), much of it again international, and public law more generally. He is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, a former chair of the RSPCA (currently a trustee) and a former director of Cruelty Free International and Compassion in World Farming. He has written extensively about animal protection law and ethics and taken part in numerous presentations, debates and media appearances. He gave oral evidence to the Burns Inquiry on hunting and has given oral testimony to several parliamentary committees and a Royal Commission as well as holding countless meetings with ministers and officials. He has been a member of European Commission and UK government panels and is an experienced teacher of law.



Friday, July 30th, 2021

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science Offers to Support a Governmental Review of Animal Testing for Medicines in the UK

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science, an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals working together to support and promote human relevant research for improved health, welcomes reports that the Government will review the use of animals in the development of medicines. Data obtained in animals is of limited relevance to humans and has not enabled development of effective treatments for many life-threatening and debilitating diseases.  There is an urgent need to transition from reliance on animal procedures to use of methods that focus directly on human biology which can provide more useful insights into human diseases and disease treatments. The opportunity provided by methods that use human organs, tissues and cells grown in the lab is a step forward in this transition and has already been highlighted in the Alliance’s series of APPG meetings this year.

Many of our members have worked with pharmaceutical companies, regulators, and academics to address issues raised in making this transition, and a wealth of data supporting the benefits of the new approach methodologies (NAMs) is available. There may be apprehension surrounding this move but we offer our expertise and advice to officials carrying out this review on how this can be done in a measured, responsible and fully informed way.


Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Third APPG on human relevant science

The third APPG on human relevant sciences will be held (virtually) on the Wednesday 12th May 2021 at 3 – 4.30pm UK time where we will continue to gather evidence of funding sources and gaps for human relevant approaches in the UK.

Our final meeting will focus on defining changes required in regulations (Sept 2021) in order for these methods to be more widely adopted. A report of our findings will be available in Nov 2021. Call back here after the 12th May 2021 to hear what was discussed at the third meeting.

Click here for more info

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Next APPG meeting date confirmed.

Our second APPG meeting will be held (virtually) on Tuesday 9th February at 4pm UK time, where we will start the process of examining whether the current regulatory framework is designed to promote the implementation and adoption of human relevant technologies in the  UK.

Future meetings will focus on defining changes required in funding (May 2021) and regulations (Sept 2021) in order for these methods to be more widely adopted. A report of our findings will be available in Nov 2021. Call back here after the 9th February 2021 to hear what was discussed at the second meeting!

Click here for more info.

Monday, January 11th, 2021

CN Bio’s PhysioMimix™ technology receives FDA recognition

Alliance member CN Bio announces how a joint publication with the FDA demonstrates the advantages of their PhysioMimix™ in drug safety and metabolism applications, over standard techniques. This represents the first co-published, peer-reviewed article between a microphysiological system provider and a regulator:

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

PRESS RELEASE New Parliamentary group calls for human relevant science moonshot

Tuesday 6 October, London: A new All-Party Parliamentary Group today held its first AGM with the aim of accelerating the development and uptake of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

The APPG on Human Relevant Science held its first meeting remotely on Tuesday 6 October, where the group outlined its priorities.

The APPG will be a discussion forum for politicians, the human relevant life sciences sector, third sector groups, scientists and stakeholders to promote new approach methodologies that provide unique insights into human biology, transform our ability to understand human disease and can develop effective new medicines more quickly and without the use of animals.

Its programme will cover the themes of strategic funding to incentivise the development and use of human relevant methods and technologies, and incorporation of human relevant methods into regulatory guidelines on medicines development.

The APPG’s statement of purpose is to bring together MPs and Peers of all parties to accelerate the development and uptake of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

Replacing poorly performing animal tests with innovative human relevant new approach methodologies will directly benefit the UK science base and enhance the efficiency and profitability of industries that make vital contributions to the UK economy.

Speaking at the launch, the APPG’s Chair, Labour MP Grahame Morris, said, “I am delighted to Chair the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the current approach to developing new treatments is simply not fast enough to meet humanity’s needs. We urgently need a moonshot to transition to new approach methodologies which promise to deliver safer and more effective medicines, more quickly and at less cost.”

APPG Vice Chair Conservative MP Sir David Amess said, “I am thrilled to be Vice Chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science. With the cancellation of the Autumn Budget, the Government now has more time to think about what it can do to provide much-needed financial support to boost growth in the human relevant life sciences sector and enable the UK to remain an innovative science superpower.

“As the country seeks a COVID-19 vaccine, this is the perfect time for parliamentarians to take seriously the growing evidence in favour of the pioneering human relevant medical research techniques that are replacing the outdated use of animals.”

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science acts as the group’s secretariat.


For more information please contact the Cruelty Free International media office;

email:  or telephone: +44 (0) 7590055 206.


About the Alliance for Human Relevant Science

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science is an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals, working together to show how significant advances in science and technology can deliver new methods based on human biology, with the potential to improve the safety of medicines and other chemicals.