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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Latest news from the NC3Rs: December 2023

Please note that the NC3Rs office will be closed for the festive season from Friday 22 December 2023 to Tuesday 2 January 2024.

A message from our Chief Executive

"As 2023 draws to an end I would like to recognise the continued dedication of all those working around the world to advance the 3Rs. Among the impressive work of the NC3Rs team some of the moments I am most proud of this year include the launch of impact stories and research round-ups to highlight the 3Rs legacy of the research we fund, a new refined mouse handling e-learning course, making our largest ever single award to the first CRACK IT mega-Challenge aiming to replace the dog in chronic toxicity studies, welcoming our new Board Chair Julia Buckingham, submitting our recommendations to the World Health Organisation to embed the 3Rs in global biologics testing requirements for batch release testing and commissioning a report assessing the 3Rs landscape in UK review and regulatory processes to support implementation across the academic community. I am looking forward to celebrating 20 years of the NC3Rs in 2024 and continuing our work to deliver 3Rs advances and innovations to pioneer better science." 

Dr Vicky Robinson, NC3Rs Chief Executive

£1M awarded for PhD Studentships to develop replacement technologies

Across 15 years of awarding PhD Studentships we have embedded the 3Rs in the training of over 170 students at the start of their scientific careers. This year we have evolved the scheme to support the future skills base in non-animal technologies and made nine awards focusing solely on replacement projects. The latest cohort of students will work on projects involving complex in vitro models from organoids to ‘on-chip’ and tissue engineering approaches, and develop in silico platforms to replace animal use in research from fibrosis drug screening to Dengue fever. 

£500k Gates Foundation funding to deliver 3Rs impacts

We have been awarded follow-on funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a project to accelerate the adoption of 3Rs approaches in quality control and batch release testing of biological products. This builds on previous work to review animal testing requirements within WHO testing guidelines and recommend opportunities for the wider integration of 3Rs approaches. The funding will enable us to continue working with the WHO and biologicals manufacturers and regulators globally to implement our recommendations and reduce the reliance on animal testing.

Impact stories: Oncology and cardiovascular biology

Our latest three impact stories focus on oncology and cardiovascular biology, representing over £500k of investment from NC3Rs and The British Heart Foundation to the University of Glasgow, University of Cambridge and Keele University. Find out more about how NC3Rs-funded research is delivering new 3Rs tools and technologies to replace the use of animals in research into cancer and heart disease.

We are looking for experts from across the biosciences to submit their ideas for new Challenges that could overcome scientific barriers with 3Rs driven solutions. Contact the CRACK IT team to discuss ideas for Challenges. 

The deadline for new Challenge submissions is Friday 16 February 2024.

Learn more about the experiences of our current Challenge Sponsors and how to apply on our Innovation Platform.

Deadlines approaching in January 2024

There are a few weeks left to submit your applications for a number of funding opportunities, apply for a vacancy in our Experimental Design and Reporting team or complete our Named Information Officer (NIO) survey. Here are reminders of the upcoming deadlines in the new year:

CRACK IT: aTRACKtive Challenge

Thursday 4 January 2024

The aTRACKtive Challenge has been re-opened with enhanced scope to cover approaches that include wearables. Apply now for up to £100k to develop non-invasive and non-toxic methods to identify individual mice from birth. 

Vacancy: Programme Manager – In Vitro Research

Monday 8 January 2024

We are looking for an in vitro expert to join our Experimental Design and Reporting team to improve the reliability and reproducibility of in vitro models and accelerate the uptake of replacement approaches.

Funding: Project grant outline applications

Thursday 11 January 2024

If you have an idea for a new 3Rs approach or want to demonstrate a 3Rs method is fit-for-purpose for wider use by the research community, then submit an application for our Project grant scheme.

Survey: Named Information Officer (NIO) role

Friday 12 January 2024

If you are currently in an NIO role working in a UK research establishment take a few minutes to help us understand how the role is supported and identify opportunities for further support.

Funding: Public Engagement awards

Monday 22 January 2024

Everyone whose work advances the 3Rs, regardless of role or funder, can apply for up to £2k to support a public facing activity or event in 2024. 

Webinar: Effective and engaging 3Rs communication

Thursday 11 January 2024, 11.30 – 12.00 (GMT)

Building skills and confidence in science communication supports scientists to highlight the 3Rs impacts of their work and navigate conversations about animal research with diverse audiences. Dr Genevieve Barr (NC3Rs Communications Science Manager) will discuss addressing animal use in the context of the 3Rs, maximising the impact of your scientific writing and opportunities to share your work with wider audiences. This webinar is open to all scientists working to replace, reduce or refine the use of animals, but would be particularly useful for early careers researchers. 

Experimental design support

Virtual demonstration of the Experimental Design Assistant
Tuesday 16 January 2024, 9.00 – 10.00 (GMT)

Our Experimental Design Assistant (EDA) tool helps researchers at any level design robust in vivo experiments. Following a presentation of the key aspects of the online tool, Dr Esther Pearl (NC3Rs Experimental Design Programme Manager) will answer questions on how you can use the EDA to design and plan your next study. Limited spaces are available on a first come first served basis and attendees are eligible for CPD points.

Robust experimental design with the EDA
Monday 15 January 2024, 12.00 (GMT)

Esther will also be discussing key strategies to improve experimental design and highlighting how the EDA can help researchers implement these in a webinar organised by the Fin3R Center.

Improving welfare and reproducibility in zebrafish research

Tuesday 9 – Thursday 11 April 2024, Exeter, UK

A workshop to address the latest developments in the field of zebrafish husbandry and care, including the effects of water chemistry on reproducibility and welfare supported by the NC3Rs and the RSPCA Animals in Science Department. There is an open call for abstracts for short talks and poster presentations related to any aspect of welfare and reproducibility in zebrafish research.

  • Abstract deadline: Friday 19 January 2024.
  • Registration deadline: Friday 22 March 2024.

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