ONTOX is part of the ASPIS cluster, together with two other Horizon 2020 funded projects: RISK-HUNT3R and PrecisionTox. The aim of the ASPIS cluster is to collaborate on Europe’s effort towards the sustainable, animal-free and reliable chemical risk assessment of tomorrow. ASPIS cluster is the largest public funding of this type of research in Europe in relation to the advancing safety assessment of chemicals without the use of animal testing.
The ASPIS cluster kick-off meeting took place on November 4 in Brussels, at the EU-ToxRisk Final Open Symposium, the hybrid event with physical and virtual attendances. ONTOX has been in close collaboration with RISK-HUNT3R and PrecisionTox even before the kick-off meeting but this event was the official start of the joint partnership.
During the ASPIS kick-off meeting, projects coordinators introduced scopes and activities of the engaged projects. ONTOX was introduced by Prof. Mathieu Vinken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), RISK-HUNT3R by Prof. Bob Van De Water (Leiden University) and PrecisionTox by Prof. John Colbourne (University of Birmingham). Prof. Bob Van De Water then gave an overview of the ASPIS cluster and how will each of the projects contribute to the common target.
Next on the program was the introduction of the ASPIS cluster joint activities. Dr. Jonathan Freedman (PrecisionTox) disclosed the test chemical selections and risk assessment. Prof. Mark Cronin (RISK-HUNT3R) drew close to the topic of computational approaches (omics, qAOP).
Dr. François Busquet (ONTOX, PrecisionTox) and Dr. Giorgia Palloca (RISK-HUNT3R) described the essential need for strong and coherent communication in their explanation of the impact of the cluster in future risk assessment policy programs. Only the joint effort to clear and precise communication towards the target audience will bring the required outcomes of the ASPIS cluster collaboration.
The meeting continued with the presentation of the ASPIS regulatory forum, introduced by Elisabet Berggren (Joint Research Centre, European Commission) and was finished by the mutual discussion with the involved stakeholders.
The next open ASPIS cluster meeting will be held in November 2022 at the 21st international congress of the European Society of Toxicology In Vitro in Barcelona.