Black Box Prize

The Lush Prize Black Box Award aims to stimulate a worldwide research and training focus on 21st Century toxicology with a view to replacing animal tests completely.

In 2019 Lush Prize decided to re-focus its criteria for awarding a Black Box Prize on projects most likely to lead to practical non-animal tests which could be accepted by regulators.

We think the most promising approaches include:

  • adverse outcome pathways
  • organs on chips, and
  • computational toxicology


Specifically the Black Box Prize is looking to award either:

  • the first, fully accepted, human relevant adverse outcome pathway for systemic toxicology or developmental toxicology OR
  • the first internationally recognised and fully endorsed regulatory acceptance of a new substance using entirely non-animal methods


The Black Box Prize offers a £250,000 award for a key breakthrough in either of these areas of research.

We are not requesting nominations for the Black Box Prize, but welcome your ideas, feedback and suggestions.



What do we mean by ‘fully accepted, human relevant AOP’? Essentially, we are looking to reward significant progress towards replacing animals for systemic or developmental toxicity endpoints.

We believe that this will most likely be accomplished by the development of sets of interconnected AOPs called networks, ideally with some quantitation of important key event relationships, to allow for the conduct of a chemical risk assessment for a particular mechanistic domain, such as thyroid disruption or developmental neurotoxicity.

While the network is not required to be fully built from human evidence, it should have evidence to provide a clear indication that the AOPs are relevant to human biological processes.

An accepted AOP network is characterised by the publication of this network by OECD through its AOP programme or active use by a regulatory agency to support hazard or risk characterisation.