Project grants

What is a project grant?

A project grant is a research project which supports the development of new 3Rs approaches and technologies. Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines or include an industrial partner are particularly encouraged.

Awards are for up to 36 months with the amount requested dependent on the science. There is one competition per year.

Panel meeting outcome reports and award rates for previous calls can be found here.

Key information about applying for a project grant is given below. Applicants should read the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook, which contains more detailed information about the application process.

Key dates Who can apply How to apply Assessment procedure Related documents

Key dates

16 November 2016 Outline application form available on Je-S
4pm, 15 January 2017  Deadline for submitting outline via Je-S
March 2017 Outline assessment meeting
Mid-March 2017 Applicants notified of outcome
March 2017 Applicant workshop for those invited to submit full application
4pm, 19 April 2017 Full application deadline on Je-S
July 2017 Panel meeting for full applications
End of July 2017 Applicants notified of outcome
1 August 2017 Expected project start date
30 September 2017 Last date for commencing projects

Please sign up to the NC3Rs newsletter for updates on our funding schemes.

Back to the top

Who can apply?

Establishment eligibility

Individual eligibility*

Any UK research establishment including:

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • Independent Research Organisations (IROs)
  • Research Council (RC) Institutes
  • Hospital/NHS Trusts
  • Charity Laboratories
  • Industry

Applicants should be UK-based researchers who can demonstrate that they:

  • Will direct the proposed research
  • Will be actively engaged in accomplishing the project’s aims
  • Hold a graduate degree – the minimum formal qualification required. However, it would normally be expected that an applicant has been awarded a PhD. Applications involving less experienced researchers should be made in collaboration with a more senior colleague.

Individual eligibility update*

If an NC3Rs grant holder has more than 12 months remaining on their NC3Rs grant, at the time of application, they are not permitted to apply as a Primary Investigator for further NC3Rs funding (excluding CRACK IT and Strategic Awards – please contact the Office to discuss).

Overseas researchers

Overseas researchers cannot be Primary Investigators but can be included as collaborators. Overseas co-applicant status can be obtained in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NC3Rs; approval must be sought before applying.


The NC3Rs does not allow resubmission of previously unsuccessful proposals, unless explicitly invited by the Panel. Proposals previously declined by the NC3Rs will not be considered by another Research Council or funder within 12 months (from the date of submission to the original Research Council) unless substantially revised. More information can be found in the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook.

Please note: The same or similar application cannot be considered by any other Research Council, the Health Departments or any other research funder at the same time

Back to the top

How to apply

We use the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK Shared Business Services.

Applicants are advised to read and refer to the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook, which contains more detailed information on submitting both an outline and full application. 

Formal outlines and full applications received after 4pm on the deadline date will not be considered, without exception.

Outline stage

Before submitting a full application applicants are required to submit a formal outline of their research proposal via Je-S. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact before submitting an outline via Je-S to determine whether the proposed research fits the 3Rs remit. Outline applications that do not fit this remit will be rejected at an early stage.

Important points to note at outline stage:

  • The maximum length of the case for support is two sides of A4
  • Applicants are required to provide metrics regarding the potential 3Rs impact of their research as part of their outline proposal, please see Section 4.1 of the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder handbook for further information

Submitting a full application

Successful outline applicants are invited to submit a full proposal via Je-S. A workshop for those submitting full applications will be held in central London.

If you experience difficulties using Je-S or have questions regarding its use, contact the Je-S helpdesk.

Email:     Phone: +44 (0) 1793 44 4164

Back to the top

Assessment procedure

Proposals are assessed in a two stage process.

  1. Outline proposals are reviewed by the NC3Rs Grant Assessment Panel.  Successful outline applicants are invited to submit a full application.
  2. Full applications are evaluated by international peer review and assessed by the NC3Rs Grant Assessment Panel

The following criteria are taken into consideration when making the funding decisions:

  • Potential impact on the 3Rs
  • Quality of the science
  • Current or future importance of the proposal to medical, biological or veterinary research
  • Strategy for promoting the proposed research and 3Rs outcomes within the scientific community
  • Expertise and track record of the team
  • Value for money

In order to maintain the transparency and integrity of the peer review process we have adopted the MRC policy on peer review.  Please note the Referee and Panel assessment guidance and scoring criteria below.

Back to the top

Related documents

Application process

Assessment criteria

Back to the top