RISK-HUNT3R project

Human-based testing strategies for next generation risk assessment

A primary goal of modern risk assessment is to better understand the mechanisms leading to toxic effects in humans and susceptible human subpopulations. The animal tests used so far are, therefore, increasingly being replaced by human in-vitro and in-silico approaches, in line with the principle of the 3Rs (“reduce, refine and replace animal testing”).

The development and further improvement of these new integrated testing strategies is the focus of the European project RISK-HUNT3R. Coordinated by Prof. Bob van de Water of Leiden University (The Netherlands), 37 partners from industry (40%), academia (55%) and regulatory authorities (5%) are cooperating in the project consortium. 

© Fraunhofer ITEM, Ralf Mohr
In-vitro models are a part of next generation risk assessment: The exposure system P.R.I.T.® ExpoCube® allows the effects of volatile substances on human lung cells and tissue to be studied at the air-liquid interface. The situation in human lung can thus be mimicked in vitro.

The vision of RISK-HUNT3R is to develop, validate and implement integrated approaches to pave the way for next generation risk assessment (NGRA). Innovative mechanism-based novel methods (NAMs) relevant to human health will be exclusively in vitro and in silico. Through systematic and iterative evaluation of the NAM toolbox, the project will optimize a strategy for chemical exposure assessment, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics. Fraunhofer ITEM scientists will contribute substantially to the development of an exposure model that combines external human exposure with internal concentration modeling via physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) approaches. Among others, in-vitro ADME models will be developed to address the absorption, metabolism and distribution of inhaled substances in the respiratory tract. Another focus is the integration of NAM data and models into regulatory risk assessment and decision-making.

RISK-HUNT3R: Establishing a reliable and cost-effective chemical risk assessment strategy based on novel approaches

RISK-HUNT3R stands for RISK assessment of chemicals integrating HUman centric Next generation Testing strategies promoting the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animal- based models).


The consortium includes 37 partners (24% SMEs, 16% industry, 55% academia and 5% regulatory organizations) and the project runs from 2021 to 2026.

Funded budget of 23 million euros from the European Horizon 2020 program

RISK-HUNT3R is one of three projects constituting the research cluster ASPIS. Together with the projects ONTOX and PrecisionTOX, this will represent Europe’s 60-million-euro effort towards the sustainable, animal-free and reliable chemical risk assessment of tomorrow.


Sylvia Escher

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Sylvia Escher

Head of Department of In-silico Toxicology

Phone +49 511 5350-330