Seven Finalists Compete for IFER Fellowships

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Each year, thanks to your generosity and commitment to advancing science without harming animals, NAVS awards a grant to the International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER). This grant funds Graduate Student Fellowships for the next generation of researchers—the young men and women who are developing and using human-relevant methodologies that also spare animal suffering. 

IFER was founded by NAVS 36 years ago to support student scientists developing alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical research, safety testing and education. Since that time, NAVS and IFER have provided funding for exciting, human-relevant research projects, supporting scientists from around the world working in diverse areas of research. 

Earlier this year, IFER solicited pre-proposal applications for its 2021-22 Graduate Student Fellowship for Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Science. IFER’s Scientific Advisory Board reviewed 22 pre-proposals this spring and narrowed down the field of applicants to seven. 

These seven finalists are working on innovative, human-relevant research projects to overcome the reliance on animal models for a wide range of topics. Some are using 3D human brain models developed from stem cells to assess developmental neurotoxicity or to study neurodevelopmental diseases in vitro. Other projects involve the development of a 3D-kidney-organoid-on-a-chip to study toxicity in the kidney and the development of a micro-engineered in vitro model of age-related macular degeneration.

The finalists submitted their full fellowship proposals last week. IFER’s Scientific Advisory Board is now in the process of reviewing the details of their proposed projects. They are eager to select this year’s fellowship recipients. 

Our ability to support outstanding graduate students like these researchers who are dedicated to developing animal-free alternatives is limited only by our available funding. Please consider making a donation today to help NAVS and IFER continue funding smarter, human-relevant science that does not harm animals. 

We will be sure to keep you updated on progress that is being made with the IFER fellowships this cycle—please stay tuned! In the meantime, please visit the NAVS website to see and hear from our current fellowship recipients who are developing human-relevant methodologies to replace animal experiments.

You can help raise visibility for NAVS’ work on behalf of animals by posting a review of your experience with us on Your positive review will help NAVS earn recognition as a 2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit. Thank you!