The principles of 3R

​​​​​​​Comparative Medicine strives to continuously and in a broad perspective work with 3R perspectives based on an evidence based foundation. The goal of the 3R office is that an under­standing for the 3R policy shall permeate the work of the whole research community at Karolinska Institutet.

What is 3R?

The principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Refinement and Reduction) were developed over 50 years ago by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch, as a framework for humane animal research.

  • Replace animal experiments with alternative methods when possible
  • Refine methods and procedures so that pain and discomfort are avoided
  • Reduce the number of animal used

Today the 3Rs are increasingly seen as a framework for conducting high quality science in the academic world with more focus on developing alternative approaches which avoid the use of animals.

The overall policy at the Karolinska Institutet concerning the 3Rs is that no unnecessary experiment shall be performed and that no animal should be subjected to research if not deemed needed.

Swedish 3R-center

For annual report, please visit The Swedish 3R-center (Swedish Board of Agriculture). 

Implementation of the 3R policy aims to:

  • Improve and consolidate the culture of care.
  • Evidence-based guidelines and recom­mendations.
  • Evidence-based humane endpoints.
  • An optimized experimental design and development of the statistical evaluation.
  • Transparency regarding animal experiments.
  • Communicate the value and goal for each animal experiment that has to be performed in relation to the research outcome.
  • Follow up the relevance of each animal ex­periment, that is to compare the research outcome to the animal welfare.
  • Create pre-conditions to improve and standardize husbandry of research animals at KM’s facilities with the aim to promote reduction and refinement.
  • That only animals in good health and with a documented background shall be used in experiments. This will promote reproduc­ibility and reduce the number of animals needed to reach statistical power (refinement).

Alternative methods

​​​​​Meet three researchers seeking alternatives.

Educational requirements

It is mandatory to have basic education in laboratory animal science before being permitted to work with laboratory animals. Educational requirements for animal experimentation.