New BBSRC/NC3Rs funding call to support next generation non-animal technologies
A total of £4M will be available to fund alternatives to in vivo models for bioscience research.
The BBSRC and NC3Rs are collaborating to fund projects that drive the development and uptake of non-animal technologies for bioscience research, including complex 3D tissue models, organ-on-chips / microphysiological systems, stem cell platforms, and in silico / computational tools. These technologies can provide an alternative and often improved option to the use of animal models in terms of cost and physiological relevance. They also offer advanced solutions for modelling human and animal biology and predicting interactions to external challenge.
The BBSRC and NC3Rs have previously collaborated on the use of non-animal technologies for advancing predictive biology as part of a UK cross-funder initiative. The new joint call is intended to build on this foundation as well as the BBSRC’s recent work with the Physiological Society on the use of model systems. The NC3Rs has a long track record of supporting the development of non-animal technologies for a range of scientific purposes through research funding and its innovation programme CRACK IT Challenges.
The aim of the call is to support proposals that:
Proposals should build upon existing knowledge to develop non-animal technologies that offer advanced solutions for modelling human and animal biology and predicting interactions to external challenge. This next generation of non-animal technology should incorporate a systems approach, that enables the study of intra-organ interactions, microenvironmental factors, or whole systems approaches. This could include addressing biological questions by integrating complex in vitro experiments with computational modelling.
Proposals should support a step-change in current non-animal technologies in aspects such as physiological relevance and predictivity, throughput, and breadth of application to facilitate new research discoveries and translational approaches. Applications that include comparative analyses of different models/technologies and/or validation and feasibility or reproducibility studies are in scope.
Proposals with an industrial partner are strongly encouraged to foster collaborations, improve understanding of cross-sector requirements, and bridge the gap between development, proof-of-concept and scale-up and help drive the development and commercialisation of non-animal technologies. It is envisaged that there will be substantial in-kind and/or financial contribution from a business partner.
The full economic cost of projects submitted for this call can be up to £250k. The BBSRC and NC3Rs will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Projects can run up to 24 months. Proposals must fall within the BBSRC’s remit to qualify for funding, and should have the realistic possibility of replacing the use of specific in vivo models or animal studies in line with the NC3Rs mission.
The application form for this call will be available on Je-S from 23 June and the competition will close on 8 September. Guidance for applicants and assessment criteria will be published in early June. To keep up to date with the latest announcements, subscribe to the NC3Rs newsletter or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Further details on the remit of this funding call, eligibility criteria and timelines.