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International 3Rs Prize now open for applications. £30k prize (£2k personal award) for outstanding science with demonstrable 3Rs impacts.

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PhD Studentship

Refinement of the use of fluid control as a motivational tool for non-human primates in neuroscience research

Two macaques looking towards the camera

At a glance

Award date
September 2012 - September 2016
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Professor Alex Thiele


Newcastle University


  • Refinement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR

Application abstract

Behavioural neuroscience is important for understanding how the brain works, and aids the discovery of appropriate treatments for human brain diseases and conditions. Non-human primates have similar neural structures to humans, and are therefore used as a model species in this type of research. They are often motivated to perform in behavioural neuroscience experiments through the use of fluid rewards during the tasks, and an associated control of fluid intake outside of the experimenteg. Fluid control protocols are contentious, and yet there are very few scientific data to inform how these protocols could be refined or replaced. This project is the first to systematically measure how fluid protocols impact on the physiology and behaviour of individual animals, and tests whether more palatable fluids or social rewards might increase motivation, and reduce or eliminate the need for fluid control. In addition, by refining current motivational methods, it may also be possible to reduce the number of non-human primates used in behavioural neuroscientifc studies through improved data collection.



  1. Gray H et al. (2018). Using preferred fluids and different reward schedules to motivate rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in cognitive tasks. Lab Anim. doi: 10.1177/0023677218801390
  2. Gray H et al. (2017). The use of preferred social stimuli as rewards for rhesus macaques in behavioural neuroscience. PLoS ONE 12(5) e0178048. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178048
  3. Gray H et al. (2016). Physiological, behavioral, and scientific impact ofdifferent fluid control protocols in the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). eNeuro 3(4):1-15. doi: 10.1523/eneuro.0195-16.2016