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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science
3Rs prize

International 3Rs prize

An annual prize awarded for a paper that describes outstanding and original work that has or could have major impacts on the replacement, reduction or refinement of the use of animals in research.
Stained brain organoid seen under a microscope

Have you published a paper that describes outstanding and original work that has or could have major impacts on the replacement, reduction or refinement of the use of animals in research? If so, then you should apply for the annual NC3Rs prize which is co-funded by GSK to recognise a paper published in the last three years with demonstrable 3Rs impacts.

This prestigious award consists of a £28k prize grant and a £2k personal award. A £20k contribution is provided by GSK with all remaining funds, including the personal award made by the NC3Rs.

This year's competition is now open. The deadline to submit your application is Wednesday 1 May 2024.

For further information on the 3Rs prize, please contact 3Rsprize@nc3rs.org.uk.

On this page:

What is the 3Rs Prize?

This prestigious award consists of a £28k prize grant and a £2k personal award.

Where a publication is highly commended by the Panel, a £4k prize grant and £1k personal award may also be awarded.

In previous years, the prize grant has been used to:

  • Update a 3Rs in silico modelling software to increase usability and extend its use within industry.
  • Optimise a 3Rs method to test novel vaccine candidates to provide data for grant applications.
  • Fund personal salary enabling the researcher to further establish themselves in a 3Rs field.
  • Purchase new equipment to increase the experimental capabilities of a 3Rs in vitro method.
  • A follow up in-depth characterisation study to further validate a 3Rs in vitro method.

Who can apply?

What types of papers are eligible?

The primary research must have been published in a peer-reviewed journal between 1 September 2020 and 1 September 2023. Papers that are in press by 1 September 2023 will also be considered. Primary research includes any experimental or laboratory-based research. Review articles (including systematic reviews and meta-analyses) are not eligible.

Eligible papers include those where the main purpose of the research was to achieve a 3Rs impact as well those where the 3Rs impacts were a secondary benefit.

Who is eligible?

The Prize is awarded to an individual who may be the Principal Investigator, research lead or any other author. Any researcher in academia or industry, in the UK or overseas is eligible.

Where there are multiple named individuals who substantially contributed to a manuscript (e.g. joint first authors), the Prize can be awarded collectively. This should be made apparent in the application form.

How to apply

A 3Rs prize nomination form should be completed with the research paper attached and emailed to 3Rsprize@nc3rs.org.uk

Guidance on completing the nomination form is also available.

Assessment procedure

Applications are assessed by a 3Rs Prize Selection Panel.

Entries are assessed by the 3Rs Prize Selection Panel based on:

  • The actual and/or potential impact on the 3Rs
  • Importance of the research question
  • Transparency and robustness of the study design
  • How well the impacts (3Rs and scientific) have been disseminated to date
  • Strength of plans for the Prize grant
  • Potential impacts for the research, 3Rs and development of the individual

3Rs Prize selection panel

Member name Institution Term Ends 
Professor Julia Buckingham (Chair) Institute of Cancer Research 2027
Dr Michelle Embry Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) 2025
Dr Lorna Ewart Emulate 2025
Professor Alex Frangi University of Leeds 2024
Professor Lars Lewejohann Freie Universität Berlin 2024
Dr Dominick McIntyre

CRUK Cambridge Centre

2024
Professor Roos Masereeuw  Utrecht University 2024
Dr Ivan Pavlov Medical Research Council 2024
Professor Dan Weary University of British Columbia 2025

Conflicts of interest

All Panel members are required to declare any private, professional or commercial interests that give rise to, or could give rise to, a conflict of interest as detailed in the UKRI conflicts of interest policy.

Past winners

An animal-free organoid model of the adaptive immune response to support the rapid development of broadly protective vaccines.

Dr Lisa Wagar

A method to enable organ-on-a-chip systems to be designed, developed and printed with commercially available equipment and materials.

Portrait of 3Rs Prize winner Dr Daniel Ferreira

A method for developing cerebral organoids representative of the choroid plexus, the protective barrier between the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), similar to the blood-brain barrier.

Portrait of Dr Laura Pellegrini

The use of patient-derived stem cells to study motor neuron disease.

The three winners of the 2018 3Rs prize. Left to right: Dr Diogo Mosqueria, highly commended. Dr Rickie Patani, winner. Dr Bernhard Voelkl. All three men are stood on stage in front of a presentation screen holding their prize certificates in front of them.

An in silico model that predicts the risk of drug-induced heart arrhythmias more accurately than animal studies.

The three winners of the 2017 3Rs prize. Winner, Dr Elisa Passini in the middle. To each side of her is a highly commended winner: Dr Christian Tiede and Dr Michael Walker

Evidence that natural behaviours such as burrowing and standing upright are important for the welfare of laboratory rats.

A computer model of cardiac electrophysiology that incorporates natural variability, offering the potential to screen cardiac drugs without using animals.

A culture system that enables adult mouse stem cells to grow and expand into fully functioning three-dimensional liver tissue.

An innovative 'lung-on-a-chip' microdevice that can accurately replicate conditions in a diseased human lung, offering a viable alternative to using animals in preclinical drug testing.

The use of artificial liver cells to model inherited metabolic disorders of the liver has the potential to reduce the number of animals used in this type of research.

An optimised culture medium for growing mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and utilised it to derive ES cells from non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice.

A new application of DNA fingerprinting which replaces the need for using animals in schistosomes research.

Emergence of a 'hyperinfectious' bacterial state after passage of Citrobacter rodentium through the host gastrointestinal tract.