Percic M, Jukes N. The InterNICHE Alternative Loan System: Facilitating Implementation through Access to Alternatives. Paper presented at: Alternatives in the Mainstream: Innovations in Life Science Education and Training. 2nd InterNICHE Conference; 2005 May 12-15; Oslo, Norway


The InterNICHE Alternatives Loan System is an evolving library of alternatives for application in life science education and training. Based in Slovenia, the alternatives are available for free loan worldwide. The Loan System was established during 2001-2002 as a resource primarily for borrowers to familiarise themselves with the diversity and quality of existing alternatives, and to trial individual products. Over 100 CD-ROMs, videos, simulators and training mannekins are included for their pedagogical value and potential to replace common dissections and animal experiments within all life science disciplines. Borrowers include teachers, students, animal ethics committees, government ministries, organisations and campaigners in over 30 countries. The Loan System has serviced over 100 loans, comprising over 1000 usages of individual alternatives. The loans have successfully given access to alternatives where none existed before, provided a resource for demonstrations at conferences, outreach tours and training, and supported the work of campaigners. As a tool for facilitating implementation, the value of the Loan System is indicated by a number of positive results: significant teacher use and the high number and wide geographical range of loans, positive feedback from borrowers, subsequent purchase and implementation of products, direct replacement of harmful animal use, and providing an international resource for campaigners. Small-scale ‘micro-Loan Systems’ have now been established in Brazil, Russia, India and Japan.