Imaging technology development for the 3Rs

This call is closed.


This call focuses on the development of preclinical imaging approaches to address technological challenges in preclinical imaging which if overcome could advance science and the 3Rs. 

The key challenges associated with this call are:

  • Tracking cell fate and distribution
  • 3D gene expression profiling
  • Imaging bioengineered tissues
  • Molecular imaging of biodistribution
  • Improving sensitivity and resolution
  • Phenotyping genetically modified mice 

This call is co-funded by the EPSRC.

Further information can be found in the call handbook.

Research in this theme is inherently multidisciplinary and the research team should include both imaging end-users and biologists and, ideally, an imaging technology manufacturer/developer. If any of these groups are only represented as a collaborator, it should be demonstrated that there will be a significant level of collaboration. If any of these groups are not represented on the research team, a clear description of how they will be engaged after the completion of the project should be provided.

Who can apply | How to apply | Assessment procedure | Assessment panelResources and awards

 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.

Overseas researchers

Overseas researchers cannot be principal applicants but can be included as collaborators. Overseas co-applicant status can be obtained in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the NC3Rs; approval should 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.

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How to apply

This call is now closed. For information on future Strategic Award calls please sign up to the NC3Rs Newsletter for updates.

Assessment procedure

Applications are evaluated by international peer reviewers and assessed by the NC3Rs Strategic Award Panel.

The following criteria will be taken into consideration when making funding decisions:

  • Relevance to the strategic call
  • Potential impact on the 3Rs
  • Quality of the science
  • Current or future importance of the techniques to medical, biological or veterinary research
  • Strategy for promoting the proposed research to the scientific community
  • Expertise and track record of the team
  • Relevance to the NC3Rs strategy
  • Value for money

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Assessment panel

The following panel considered applications submitted to this competition.

Member Name  Institution
Dr Ian Ragan (Chair) Independent
Professor Kurt Anderson University of Glasgow
Dr Kumar Changani GlaxoSmithKline
Professor Stephen Faulkner University of Oxford
Professor Sheila MacNeil University of Sheffield
Professor Stephen Mather Queen Mary, University of London
Professor Alison Murray University of Aberdeen
Professor Geoffrey Parker University of Manchester

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Resources and awards

A total budget of up to £1.5 million was available for projects of up to three years duration.

Five awards were made in March 2014

Professor Andrew Harvey
(University of Glasgow)

Implanted imaging laboratories for deep-tissue in vivo imaging

Professor Malcolm Clench
(Sheffield Hallam University)

Labelled IMS TAG proteins for Quantitative Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Dr Tristan McKay
(St George's University of London)

Non-invasive real-time bioluminescence imaging in living mice to interrogate transcription factor activity and fate of engrafted stem cells

Dr Anna Maria Grabowska
(University of Nottingham)

Targeted, radiolabelled near-infrared quantum dots for high sensitivity and resolution, dual modality imaging of human tumours in mice

Professor Stephen Morgan
(University of Nottingham)

Ultrasound mediated bioluminescence tomography for high sensitivity, high spatial resolution 3D imaging

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