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Board member vacancies

The NC3Rs is recruiting for up to two members to join its Board from 1 January 2023. One of these new appointments will also be appointed as Chair of the CRACK IT Advisory Panel.

About the NC3Rs

The NC3Rs is a leading scientific organisation dedicated to replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). The 3Rs, and the NC3Rs, have a vital role to play in the UK’s research and innovation system, empowering researchers to make informed decisions that underpin the conduct of reproducible, rigorous and high quality science benefitting animals, humans, the environment and the economy.

The NC3Rs is a UK-based scientific organisation with core funding provided via the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Centre works with organisations across the bioscience and biomedical sectors in the UK and internationally including universities, industry, other research funders and regulatory authorities.

Its mission is to use the 3Rs to accelerate scientific discovery, support pioneering innovation and technology development, and address societal concerns about animal research.

Its activities are divided between its role as a research funder and its in-house programmes, led by NC3Rs scientists, which focus on providing independent advice and guidance, facilitating data sharing and knowledge exchange, and collaborating with industry.

Joining the NC3Rs Board presents an opportunity to help shape the NC3Rs strategy and promote the UK’s position as a world leader in 3Rs research and development. 

NC3Rs Board overview


The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which for logistical reasons operates under the umbrella of the Medical Research Council (MRC) which in turn is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It has responsibility for setting and delivering its strategy and for the use of its resources.

The NC3Rs Board

The NC3Rs Board is a non-executive body which provides advice to the Chief Executive on the NC3Rs strategy and work plan, and monitors delivery against its mission and agreed objectives.

The Board acts as the custodian of the NC3Rs mission. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day business of the Centre but have a central role in contributing to the development of strategy, monitoring and evaluating delivery, and ensuring that financial planning and risk management are robust.

Specifically, the Board:

  • Monitors delivery against strategy and objectives
  • Advises on the scientific and regulatory environment in which the NC3Rs operates, highlighting potential opportunities and risks to the Centre
  • Agrees the annual budget and reviews financial forecasts and controls
  • Is consulted on major policy and spending decisions
  • Reviews the performance of the Chief Executive

The Board acts as a single body, with all members sharing collective responsibility for all of its advice. In providing advice and guidance the Board is required to:

  • Take account of emerging science and technology, national and international regulations and policies relating to animal use
  • Seek expert advice where necessary
  • Ensure a balanced portfolio of research to support the delivery of the NC3Rs’ objectives

The Board delegates specific responsibilities to the NC3Rs Funding Panels, which include members independent of the Board. Each funding panel makes recommendations on applications for funding, advising the budget holder (the NC3Rs Chief Executive) on funding decisions within the allocated budget.

As primary funders of the NC3Rs, the BBSRC and MRC have permanent membership of the Board and have additional responsibility for ensuring updates on the NC3Rs are fed back to their organisations and providing advice to the NC3Rs on their organisations’ activities.

Board Member role and responsibilities

The key responsibilities of NC3Rs Board members are to:

  • Attend and actively contribute to Board meetings, major NC3Rs events, where appropriate, chair NC3Rs Funding Panels or working groups and accompany NC3Rs staff to Grant holder visits
  • Advise on the vision, mission, strategy, work plan and major spending decisions, and to monitor progress against aims
  • Support the Chief Executive and staff in ensuring effective delivery of NC3Rs’ strategy and work plan
  • Act as an advocate for the NC3Rs within the scientific community and more broadly

Current vacancies

The NC3Rs is recruiting for up to two members to join its Board from 1 January 2023. One of these new appointments, will also be appointed as Chair of the CRACK IT Advisory Panel.

Applicants should be internationally recognised leaders with commercial/business specialism, experience of working at the academic/industry interface and science innovation or commercialisation expertise.

Applications from candidates based in the pharmaceutical or chemicals industry are particularly encouraged, as are those with current in vivo expertise.

The CRACK IT Advisory Panel

The CRACK IT Advisory Panel performs an important role in advising the NC3Rs on its CRACK IT innovation programme. Its functions include assessing potential CRACK IT competitions and recommending to the NC3Rs which competitions to invest in, reviewing and providing guidance to awardees nearing the end of their research contracts and assessing applications to the Business Growth Scheme.

Person specification

Applicants will need to meet the following essential criteria:

  • A commitment to the mission and broad objectives of the NC3Rs
  • Scientific expertise relevant to the Board's, and where appropriate CRACK IT’s, remit with an excellent track record of conducting internationally leading-edge research
  • A good understanding of the use of animals in research and display a commitment to the development of all three ‘Rs’
  • An understanding of the priorities, challenges and opportunities for the 3Rs across the biosciences sector
  • Proven ability to exercise judgement across a broad spectrum of policy and research issues
  • A first-class record in conducting and leading internationally respected research
  • A strong strategic perspective with the ability to tackle issues outside their immediate area of expertise
  • Line management experience at a senior level such as research group or university department.
  • Current, or previous, membership of a scientific advisory panel or funding panel with a major research funder e.g. MRC, Wellcome, Cancer Research UK
  • An ability to work effectively within the public sector requirements for accountability and openness, and within financial constraints

Selection criteria

The following general criteria will be used for shortlisting:

  • Scientific ‘fit’ for the vacancy
  • Breadth of knowledge
  • Demonstrable understanding/commitment to the 3Rs
  • Appropriate level of experience
  • Location and sector - we are seeking broad representation from across the UK and Europe, as well as the academic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical and agrochemical sectors, and those with current in vivo experience

Assessment of suitability for the role will be made on the information provided in the application form and CV and also the balance of applicants’ expertise, geographic location and interests.

Individuals’ protected characteristics may also be considered where nominees who share a protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage linked to that characteristic, have different needs to other groups, or have a disproportionately low level of participation.

If this results in an evidenced need, the NC3Rs may take appropriate and proportionate interventions, including in final appointment decisions, such as through use of the tie break provision (Section 159 of the Equality Act). This is in accordance with our duty to advance equality of opportunity between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Candidates for this role will be shortlisted for interview primarily using the criteria listed in the person specification below, also taking into account the balance of the overall Board membership as per the above.


Board members are expected to attend four Board meetings annually and the Chair of the CRACK IT Advisory Panel attends the Advisory Panel meetings and Challenge Panels as appropriate. Participation in other activities, such as attending NC3Rs events may be required.

Board members will be appointed from 1 January 2023 for a three-year term with a possibility of an extension of up to two further years at the discretion of the NC3Rs Board Chair. There will be an opportunity to review membership with the Board Chair during the first year of appointment if requested.

Appointments are made in a personal capacity. It is essential that individuals should be able to commit the necessary time and attention to the role, and have the full support of their employer and organisation in doing so.

Declaration of interests

Board members are expected to abide by the principles set out in the ‘UKRI Conflicts of Interest Policy’ and are required to declare any private, professional or commercial interests that might, or might be perceived to, conflict with the NC3Rs interests. Board members’ declaration of interest forms are published on the NC3Rs website.


An allowance is payable per day for attendance at Board meetings (the current rate is £160 per day). Travel (standard class) and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) will be reimbursed.

Induction for successful candidates

An induction meeting where new members meet the NC3Rs Chief Executive and Board Chair, in advance of attending the first Board meeting, will be arranged in due course.

How to apply

An application form can be downloaded from the 'Download' section below. Submit a completed application form and CV to by 8 September 2022. All applications will be acknowledged by the NC3Rs team.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview by an Appointment’s Panel, chaired by the NC3Rs Board Chair, Professor Kevin Shakesheff (Open University). 

Interviews will be held on 19 October 2022. All reasonable expenses incurred in connection with attending an interview will be reimbursed. 

If you have any queries, or you would like further information about the role, please email


Details Key dates 
Application deadline  8 September 2022
Interviews 19 October 2022
Notification of interview outcome November 2022

Privacy notice

The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which for logistical reasons operates under the umbrella of the Medical Research Council (MRC) which in turn is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

All personal data provided to the NC3Rs will be processed in accordance with current UK data protection legislation. The information you provide will be retained and used to manage recruitment in accordance with UKRI’s retention policy.

The appointed individual’s Conflicts of Interest information (including name and institution) will be published on the NC3Rs website under the NC3Rs Board members webpage.

Information on how we use personal data can be found in the UK Research and Innovation Privacy Notice.