Peer review and advice service

We work with research funding bodies to embed the 3Rs in their policies and practice. This includes reviewing research proposals and developing guidelines. These activities help to ensure that animal welfare standards are genuinely high and exceed the legal minima, and overseas work is conducted to standards equivalent to those in the UK.

Peer review of research proposals

We review grant applications for 28 funding organisations, including members of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), where these propose to use non-human primates, dogs, cats and equines (plus pigs for BBSRC and a minority of other funders). Other research proposals that raise special concerns can also be referred to the NC3Rs on a case-by-case basis. We advise on opportunities to implement the 3Rs, raise specific animal welfare concerns, highlight where good practice is not being adopted, and monitor implementation of specific policies and guidance. This advice is used during decisions on funding and when drafting the terms and conditions of grant awards.

We have reviewed over 1,300 proposals since 2004. Details of the organisations using our peer review service are given below. We apply the same process to research proposals submitted to NC3Rs funding schemes.


For further background information on the remit, focus and process of our peer review service, see this blog post marking the 900th completed review.

Supporting good practice through guideline development

Working with funders, we have published guidelines to promote high standards in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of animal research. Compliance with the principles in each of the following guidelines is a condition of receiving funds for animal research:

Examples of the 3Rs impacts that our review and guidelines have achieved can be found in Table 2 of the NC3Rs Evaluation Framework report.

Further resources to support applicants seeking funding for animal research are given below.

For information on these initiatives, please contact Dr Mark Prescott.

How best to prepare for the NC3Rs' review of your research proposal.
The policy of the funding bodies for animal research outside of the UK.
Library of 3Rs resources from the NC3Rs.
Videos from our May 2018 workshop on experimental design for panel members of major funding bodies.
Dr Simon Bate, from Statistical Sciences, GSK, covers a few nagging questions about statistics and the 3Rs that he regularly encounters.
Free tool to guide researchers through the design of their experiments.