In this section

David Sainsbury Fellowships

The David Sainsbury Fellowship Scheme is for exceptional early-career researchers. It aims to attract the best new talent to the challenge of developing models and tools with reduced reliance on in vivo research and/or improved animal welfare ('the 3Rs'). Up to five awards are available each year, with a value of £65k per annum for three years.

Blue pipette tips



Applicants must provide an outline (using the outline template) to the Office before being invited to submit a full application. The deadline for submitting outlines and full applications has now passed.

Read about the experiences of current Fellows on the NC3Rs blog.


Who is eligible for funding?

Researchers with up to five years post-doctoral experience at the time of application are eligible to apply. Applicants slightly over this criteria should contact the NC3Rs office ( as they can be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applications will also be accepted from final year PhD students, but they must have been awarded their PhD before the Fellowship can commence.

Applications will need to be submitted via an eligible host Research Organisation and a letter of support is required from a Head of Department, guaranteeing the Fellow space and facilities for the duration of the award.

Applicants should also identify a sponsor who works in a field relevant to the proposal, who can provide them support and guidance with the scientific aspects.

As with other Research Council fellowships, applicants are not eligible to apply if they already hold a permanent contract of employment at the host institute.

Points to consider

  • Applicants must contact the NC3Rs Office to discuss their proposal prior to submission:
  • Proposals relevant to any area of medical, biological or veterinary research or safety testing are sought
  • Applications that include an industrial partner or other collaborations are particularly welcomed.
  • Proposals can complement existing research at the host institute or can be made in their own right.
  • A clear scientific rationale for the proposed work and description of how it will impact on the 3Rs are essential
  • Measures of the potential impact of the work on the 3Rs and how this has been arrived at should be provided, where possible. This should include, where appropriate, an estimation of the reduction in animal use in your laboratory/establishment/discipline and/or objective indicators of how animal welfare has improved
  • If the proposal presents an alternative non-animal model, it is important to describe what scientific advantages it could have over in vivo methods
  • Proposals should outline plans for promoting the outcomes of the research to scientific peers, for example through publications and presentations at scientific conferences.

Requests for funding

These awards will be made for three years; financial support is fixed at £65k per annum (£195k total) and is expected to cover:

  • The salary of the Fellow (appointed at a suitable spine point by the institute)
  • Consumables
  • Animal costs
  • Equipment
  • Travel costs

Please note that these awards will only fund the directly incurred costs of the research at 100% of the full economic costing value. Indirect and Estate costs are not eligible for funding under this scheme, and only certain Directly Allocated costs are allowable.

Submitting applications

The NC3Rs uses the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS). All applications must be submitted via Je-S, however applicants should follow the NC3Rs guidance for fellowship applicants to assist with the completion of the form.

We have a list of David Sainsbury Fellowships that have already been funded by us within our research portfolio.


"I am very pleased to support this exciting initiative. It will help nurture the UK's best new talent in the important challenge of finding ways to minimise animal use. This is a significant challenge and to make real progress we must engage scientists at all stages of their careers and particularly the research leaders of the future."


  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS Feed
  • Email