The idea of our ReThink3R-Workshops arose from our own experience as young scientists in life sciences, that the 3R principle is not addressed enough yet in the daily education and research routines. One big challenge for PhD students and Postdocs performing animal experiments is to address this sensitive topic and ethical concerns in a satisfying manner and to gain deep knowledge in alternatives for animal testing. Reasons for this may be the ignorance about the 3Rs as well as the restricted time besides the pressure to finish their thesis or to publish newest findings. Nevertheless, most of the scientists working with animals are willing to use and work on the 3Rs.
To drive the implementation of the 3R principle and the development of alternative methods in biomedical research, especially young scientists need to be able to rethink current research processes including animal models, to include existing 3R-approaches in their projects and to create innovative solutions and methods where they are missing. For this, one the one hand awareness for the 3R-principle and knowledge of successful examples is required. On the other hand, there is a need for training meta-competences such as flexible thinking, critical thinking, creativity and teamwork. We believe that with our approach – the combination of 3R with Design Thinking – both competences can be trained. Moreover we provide the room, an open atmosphere and a constructive mindset to discuss problems, opinions, and to search for solutions.