ReThink3R is a cooperation project between AniMatch and the innoki GmbH that aims at organizing interdisciplinary workshops focusing on the 3Rs using Design Thinking methods.

The Team

Laura Behm
Cecilia Hilmer
Annemarie Lang

Target Groups

interested scientists with experiences in animal experimentation or alternatives (10-20 people)


  • Basics around animal experiments (history, legislation, administration)
  • 3R principles and examples of the 3Rs in practice
  • Funding opportunities and institutions which are committed to promote the 3Rs
  • Possibility to integrate 3R in the daily lab routine
  • Design Thinking

Our Motivation

Many efforts have been made during the last years to implement the 3Rs in university education. 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 Reduction, Refinement and Replacement.

Our Offer

In order to provide knowledge and join scientific forces, we organize interdisciplinary workshops focusing on the 3Rs using Design Thinking methods. Thus, young scientists get an unbiased and playful approach to the 3Rs and find creative space to exchange experiences and work on ways to further implement these principles. The workshop includes the Design Thinking process to find key questions, perform research with a focus on gaining empathy for the users, and design a serious, realistic solution.

Our Workshop Format is designed for interested Universities, Graduate Schools or Companies.

What is Design Thinking? How does it work?

Design Thinking is a creative process to stimulate innovation. It combines creative with analytical methods from engineering, design, arts, social sciences, and business, to exploit the intrinsic innovative potential of multi-disciplinary teams. The given challenges for the teams can be about the practical work, e.g. implementation of a specific in vitro assay in the lab routine, or about general purposes, e.g. integration of the 3R topic on international scientific conferences. Instead of trying to quickly find a first solution the process allows the team to extensively explore the complexity of the challenge, getting to know different perspectives and developing a common language. This means, e.g. interviewing other stakeholders, university professors, animal keepers, veterinarians, and sharing individual interview experiences within the team. The following step includes the definition of the underlying problem. This could be e.g. the difficulty of access to information about alternative methods, or the lack of time. All gathered information, different perspectives and experiences are incorporated into the solution process creating a space between user needs and feasibility. The decision for one solution is made by the team after prototyping and intensive testing of selected ideas.

The whole workshop is supported by short briefings about basics concerning history, laws and bureaucratic procedures, financial support possibilities, and examples of alternatives to animal testing.

Our Cooperation Partners

Andrea Scheer – Design Thinking Coach
Julia Rummel – Design Thinking Coach