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Scientists from EURL ECVAM show you what they are doing to advance safety assessment of chemicals without relying on animal testing

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Transcript also available: EN; FR; DE; IT.

Version updated June 2014.




Vision & Mission


The aim of EURL ECVAM (the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing) is twofold:

  • to promote the scientific and regulatory acceptance of non-animal tests which are of importance to biomedical sciences, through research, test development and validation and the establishment of a specialised database service
  • to co-ordinate at the European level the independent evaluation of the relevance and reliability of tests for specific purposes, so that chemicals and products of various kinds, including medicines, vaccines, medical devices, cosmetics, household products and agricultural products, can be manufactured, transported and used more economically and more safely, whilst the current reliance on animal test procedures is progressively reduced.

EURL ECVAM is committed to support and serve:

  • the European Commission, and thereby the EU Member States;
  • the spirit and specific provisions of Directive 2010/EU/63; and
  • the objectives of scientific validation and justifiable regulatory acceptance, and thereby the protection of man, animals and the environment.

EURL ECVAM is independent of:

  • any particular tests or individual scientists or groups of scientists; and any commercial or financial interests.
  • Nevertheless, EURL ECVAM openly has external consultants and collaborators, who are also committed to:
  • enhancing the quality of scientific validation; and
  • facilitating the regulatory acceptance of relevant and reliable non-animal tests and testing strategies.

EURL ECVAM is now firmly established as the leading international centre for coordinating the validation of alternative methods. 

It is a source of expert advice on:

  • theoretical and practical aspects of the validation of new tests;
  • the current state of validation of alternative methods for use in toxicology and the biosciences in general;
  • in vitro tests for topical toxicity, embryotoxicity, haematotoxicity, metabolism-mediated toxicity, metal toxicity, neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity; and
  • general animal welfare issues (scientific and ethical), such as the use of transgenic animals.



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Activities & Services

The key areas in which EURL ECVAM is active include:

  • Topical Toxicity (e.g. local adverse effects on skin or eyes)
  • Systemic Toxicity (which requires absorption of the toxicant within the blood and then distribution to the target organ(s) and system(s) which are the place of action (e.g. to the liver, kidneys or the blood-forming system, immune, nervous and reproductive system )
  • Special Aspects (e.g. carcinogenicity, integrated testing, metals toxicity)
  • Ecotoxicity and Strategic Activities which have relevance to all different kinds of toxicological studies. 

EURL ECVAM also covers the topic area of Biologicals and biomaterials quality control and safety testing (e.g. vaccines, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, hormones, biocompatibility of medical devices) and in silico methods (e.g. Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships).

The European Commission will cooperate with the Member States when setting priorities for validation studies. The Member States will assist the European Commission in identifying and nominating suitable laboratories to carry out such validation studies.

More details are provided in the section Validation and regulatory acceptance.

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EURL ECVAM provides technical support to the following Commission services:

  • DG Environment: in relation to chemical products, to the Directive 2010/63/EU (Protection of animals used for scientific purposes) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 440/2008 (European Test Methods Regulation);
  • DG Enterprise: in relation to chemical products, medicines, and vaccines;
  • DG Health and Consumer Protection: in relation to the safety of cosmetics and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS);

In addition, EURL ECVAM collaborates with:

  • DG Research: which funds research on the development of alternative test methods.

EURL ECVAM's external customers and stakeholders include EU Agencies and EU-wide animal welfare organisations, consumer organisations, and industry associations in particular:





EURL ECVAM, hosted by the Joint Research Centre, Directorate F. Health, Consumer and Reference Materials, is located in Ispra (Northern Italy). To open the map, please click on the link in the address below:

Via E. Fermi 2749 
21027 Ispra (Varese) Italy

The closest major city is Milan (approximately 60 km south-east), and the region is best served by the Malpensa International Airport (located about 30 km from the JRC).
More information can be found on the web sites of the Province of Varese and the Municipality of Ispra.

Arrival by plane

Milan has two international airports: Malpensa and Linate.

Malpensa The distance between Malpensa Airport and JRC is about 30 km (around 30 minutes car ride).  A cab ride from Malpensa to the JRC would normally cost around euro 45 (one way).

Linate The distance between Linate and JRC is about 95 km (around 1 hour and 15 minutes car ride).  The nearest train station is Milano Centrale and for Malpensa it is Gallarate. From either of these stations, you can take a train to Sesto Calende. A taxi service is available just outside the station.


Arrival by carIspra ingresso

  • From Milan On the highway, follow signs for Autostrada Laghi (A8) to Gravellona Toce and Gallarate.
  • Take exit at Sesto Calende. 
  • Travel on SS 394 towards Laveno - Luino.
  • On SS 394, turn left at the traffic light (after 7 km) in Travedona-Monate
  • Follow the signs CCR ISPRA towards Cadrezzate and Ispra. The road will take you right to the JRC-Ispra entrance.
  • From Switzerland Arriving from San Gottardo or San Benardino (CH), continue along the A2 and then the A9.
  • Take A8 after Saronno towards Gallarate and Sesto Calende and then as above. The signs CCR ISPRA will bring you to the entrance of the JRC.


Find more information on page 'Living and working in Ispra'.



Work opportunities


For open positions related to EURL ECVAM please check here.


FAQs on alternatives to animal testing

A list of FAQs (updated March 2013) is available on this web site.


See disclaimer on linked sites