creating a
healthier future

Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Body

In order to uphold the higher standards on animal welfare and ethics i3S has a committee to supervise and counsel on these matters.

ORBEA (Orgão de Bem-Estar e Ética Animal  / Animal Welfare and Ethics Body) approves and oversees all research projects requiring the use of vertebrate animals.

The animal care and use program at i3S is the first and presently only in Portugal to be accredited by AAALAC International. In addition to the ORBEA and the animal facility, the program also includes training for researchers in the 3Rs and other aspects of responsible research with animals, with a FELASA accredited course. In addition, i3S is one of the signatories of the Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Portugal.


Public Statement on Animal Research


  • The evolutionary similarity between species makes it possible to learn about biology in health and disease by studying other species. Therefore, correctly designed and well-executed research with animals provides results that are useful in understanding human disease, in the development of treatment and in advancing scientific knowledge in general;
  • Animals are used as one of several research approaches at i3S and will continue to be used in studies where there is no scientifically equivalent alternative;
  • Animals, in particular vertebrates, are sentient beings. Their health and welfare matter; they can suffer from physical as well as psychological harm;
  • Both animal welfare and human health are morally relevant issues and research with animals creates an ethical dilemma between the harm caused to animals and the benefit derived from the research;
  • In order to promote best practices, i3S provides training that is mandatory for all personnel involved in research with animals. The institution has its own animal welfare and ethics review body reviewing all projects with animals before they start, and overseeing the work that is developed;
  • Research done at i3S respects the 3Rs principle of Replacement (of animal research with alternative methods), Reduction (of the number of animals used) and Refinement (of research protocols in order to minimize the harm caused to animals). This is both an individual and institutional responsibility. A correct application of the 3Rs principle in combination with high-quality research is the most effective way of easing the ethical dilemma between animal welfare and human benefit;
  • i3S plays an active role in the public debate over animal research and is a signatory to the Transparency Agreement on Animal Research in Portugal.