Big data projects lining up to replace animal tests

For the first time this year, three of the nine winners sharing the £250,000 Lush Prize, were working on big data projects designed to replace animal tests.
Winners from Cambridge University, Utrecht University and a Milan Research Institute were all using computer databases to successfully predict the toxicity of chemicals for humans.

The winners received their awards at an online ceremony on November 11th, which also featured poetry, dancing, animation and sculpture.  The ceremony followed an online conference exploring the question ‘Can big data replace animal testing?’ that heard from scientists, campaigners and regulators around the world.  

The conference panel sessions were recorded and can be viewed online, and the awards will be live streamed at 4.00pm GMT on the November 11th are also archived as a recording on the Lush Prize website.

The three computational winners were:

The MIE Atlas Team

Cambridge University/Unilever, UK

In Silico Models to Predict Human Molecular Initiating Events



Edoardo Carnesecchi, 

Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS) Netherlands

An innovative software platform to assess chemical mixtures toxicity and exposure



Domenico Gadaleta

Computational Toxicology Unit – Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research , Italy

Screening Based on Structure-Activity Relationships Predicting Molecular Initiating Events of Neurotoxicity



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Notes to Editors

Lush Prize was founded in 2012 in the UK with a goal of helping to bring forward the date when no further product safety testing on animals was required.  It is a collaboration between the campaigning cosmetics company Lush and the campaigning research group Ethical Consumer.

The £250,000 prize fund is the biggest prize in the non-animal testing sector, and is the only award to focus solely on the complete replacement of animal tests. 

It its now in its eighth prize cycle.

The list of all nine winners appears below.

More details of this year’s prize winners, including short videos, can be found on the website at

The Prize categories (

  • Public Awareness: public awareness-raising of on going testing
  • Science: for the development of replacement non-animal tests
  • Training: training researchers in non-animal tests
  • Lobbying: policy interventions to promote the use of replacements
  • Young Researcher: to researchers under 35 years old specialising in animal replacement research

About Lush: Lush is a campaigning manufacturer and retailer of fresh handmade cosmetics with shops in 48 countries. The Lush Prize is one element in a broader campaign called ’Fighting Animal Testing’. 


About Ethical Consumer: Ethical Consumer Research Association is a not-for-profit research and consultancy co-operative specialising in independent research into social, animal welfare and environmental issues.


Every year, it is estimated that more than 115 million animals are used in testing laboratories around the world.