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About us

About us

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is an independent scientific organisation. We support the UK science base by driving and funding innovation and technological developments that replace or reduce the need for animals in research and testing, and lead to improvements in welfare where animals continue to be used.

The need for animal research can be reduced by implementing the 3Rs principles (replace, reduce and refine), without compromising on scientific and medical advances.


The NC3Rs promotes robust and ethical scientific practice through collaborating with research funders, academia, industry, regulators and animal welfare organisations, both in the UK and internationally.

Replacing, reducing and refining animal research is a global challenge. Our approach is to:

  • stimulate 3Rs advances by inspiring and funding original ideas, and training early-career scientists in universities and industry
  • accelerate scientific discovery by bringing together the best talent from a range of disciplines to energise technological development
  • inform a culture shift across the scientific community and society by raising the profile of alternative approaches and best practice
  • change international regulations on animal use by brokering data sharing across industry to build an evidence-base for change.

The NC3Rs was launched in 2004 following a House of Lords Select Committee report on Animals in Scientific Procedures. Today we are the largest funder of 3Rs research in the UK and an authoritative international voice on ways to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research and testing.

Useful publications:

The Challenge of Animal Research - Provides an introduction to the 3Rs
Annual Report 2013 - A report on our 2013 activities
Research Review 2013 - Case-studies of some of the research we fund
Evaluation Framework - How we evaluate our impact, and why the Home Office animal use statistics are not a gauge of 3Rs progress

More NC3Rs publications

In this section:

Mission and strategy

The Centre's mission is to use the 3Rs principles to accelerate scientific discovery, support innovating and technological development, and address societal concerns about animal research. 

Origins and history

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) was established in May 2004. 


The NC3Rs Board is comprised of experts across the spectrum of animal research, care and welfare. 


The NC3Rs delivers its activities through programme areas, each of which is controlled by a programme manager, with scientific and administrative support. 

What are the 3Rs?

The 3Rs - Replacement, Refinement and Reduction - are a widely accepted ethical framework for conducting scientific experiments using animals humanely. 

Animal use in the UK

Over 3.7 million animals were used in scientific procedures in the UK last year (Home Office data for 2011). 

3Rs and the public

The 3Rs link science and society by bringing together opportunities for scientific innovation and the ethics of animal research. 

3Rs in the UK

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) regulates the use of animals in scientific procedures in the UK. 


Answers to frequently asked questions. 

Contact us

Details of how to contact the NC3Rs. 

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