ASPIS Open Symposium during ESTIV Congress 24-25 November 2022

ASPIS Open Symposium during ESTIV Congress 24-25 November 2022

The ASPIS Open Symposium will happen during the 21st European Society of Toxicology In Vitro (ESTIV) Congress on 24-25 November 2022 in Sitges, Barcelona (Spain), a bi-annual appointment aiming to create a forum of scientists in a unique atmosphere for discussions and knowledge exchange focusing on the development of in vitro and in silico approaches.

During this event, the ASPIS cluster will present the work performed by the three Horizon 2020 projects composing the consortia (ONTOX, PrecisionTOX, and RISKHUNT3R). The objectives of the ASPIS Open Symposium will include: 

  • Increasing confidence in and promoting NAM regulatory uptake; 
  • Delineating foreseen ASPIS impact on regulatory issues; 
  • Engaging young researchers and supporting scientific networking; 
  • Facilitating interactions among ASPIS and international stakeholders

To consult the tentative agenda, please click here. Registration are already open! You can access the registration page by clicking on the following button.


Leveraging NAMs for a safer and healthier environment

Leveraging NAMs for a safer and healthier environment


            Working towards the ambition to achieve a “toxic-free” environment by 2050, the European Commission is currently hosting a publicconsultation on the revision of the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH Regulation). Stakeholders and citizens have until 15 April 2022 to provide their inputs on how to better protect health and the environment from harmful substances while reducing animal testing. 

However, several NGOs and industries have gravely criticized the multiple-choice survey distributed by the Commission, arguing that its questions are biased in ways suggesting that reducing and replacing traditional animal testing with New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) will weaken protection from chemical hazards while hampering the competitiveness of the EU industry. 

The language of the survey is misleading because it contradicts the tremendous scientific progress in a wide range of fields developing and using NAMs for precision medicine and safety sciences. These methods include: in silico (computer-based modeling) methodologies; robust in vitro test methods, such as human cell line cultures, fresh leftover human surgical material, stem cell technology-derived test methods, micro-physiological systems involving multicellular organoids and organ-on-a-chip, and alternative model species; genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics technologies; and Artificial Intelligence analysis strategies. Several NAM-based approaches have been successfully validated and implemented in regulatory frameworks worldwide and are used in sophisticated testing strategies outperforming the traditional in vivo approaches. 

The wording of the questionnaire can potentially damage the very confidence and trust that the industry and research communities need to further support the development and uptake of NAMs by the private sector towards a new market for chemical safety testing and the design of safer chemicals that can maintain Europe’s leading position worldwide. 

With the financial support of the EU H2020 programme, our three consortia – ONTOX, PrecisionTox and RISK-HUNT3R collaborate to build confidence in NAMs to improve chemical safety assessment while striving to reduce, refine and replace (the 3Rs) animal testing. The name of our cluster, “ASPIS” refers to a revolutionary Ancient Greek defensive tool designed to better protect against opposing forces by joining together our defenses. NAMs are important tools that are improving chemical safety assessment to better ensure human and environmental health.  

We are committed to support the Commission’s ambition for a toxic-free environment with our research and innovation towards precision toxicology for enhancing the protection of humans and the environment by developing NAMs as essential and valuable tools for EU and international regulatory bodies to close the knowledge gaps in chemical safety assessment.  

On behalf of the ASPISCLUSTER: 

  • For PrecisionTox, Prof. John Colbourne (University of Birmingham) Grant agreement ID: 965406 
  • For ONTOX, Prof. Mathieu Vinken (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) Grant agreement ID: 963845 
  • For RISK-HUNT3R, Prof.Dr. Bob van de Water (Leiden University) Grant agreement ID: 964537 
ASPIS Cluster solidarity with Ukraine

ASPIS Cluster solidarity with Ukraine

We would like to express our solidarity with Ukrainian toxicologists, scientists, students, and the whole Ukrainian nation. We fully condemn the unprovoked military aggression of the Russian government against Ukraine, and we join the numerous calls from around the world for a swift return to diplomatic relations and respect of International Law.

Today, our thoughts are with all the victims of this act of war – the displaced people, separated families, including Russian and Belarusian academics, journalists and citizens who protest against this illegal invasion and support fundamental human rights, regardless of the consequences.   

Our 70 academic, private and public partners want to convey their support to the Ukrainian researchers and students. ASPIS is driven by free thought and exchange of knowledge and we will continue our research collaboration with all those who defend peace and democratic values across borders.



  • For PrecisionTox, Prof. John Colbourne (University of Birmingham) Grant agreement ID: 965406
  • For ONTOX, Prof. Mathieu Vinken (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) Grant agreement ID: 963845
  • For RISK-HUNT3R, Prof. Bob Van de Water (Leiden University) Grant agreement ID: 964537


A new postdoctoral position has opened at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). The available position is in the department Safety of Pesticides of the BfR and especially in the unit “Testing and Assessment Strategies. The activities includes:  modeling of Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP) in silico, bioinformatic preparation and statistical analysis of omics data, contributing to the development of regulatory concepts for ab initio testing using in silico based NAMs, and also the publication of the acquired results.

The unit is looking for a person with a degree preferably in bioinformatics, chemoinformatics, computer science or a comparable discipline who has experience with modeling omics data is an advantage in the field of toxicology. You can access the entire job description as well as the application platform by clicking on the following link: Ph.D. job position in BfR full description.

Applications are open until March 2nd.