Technologies to Tools awards

What is a Technologies to Tools award?

The Technologies to Tools (T2T) awards support the translation of non-animal in vitro models and technologies, developed with NC3Rs grant funding, into research tools that can be applied confidently in the pharmaceutical industry to support improved medicines discovery. The aim is to bridge the gap between model development and the wider uptake needed to achieve the greatest 3Rs, scientific and commercial impacts. 

These awards are being offered in collaboration with the Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC). Eligible researchers will have the opportunity to develop a collaborative project with MDC which builds upon the scientific findings arising from their NC3Rs grant. Applicants can apply for up to £50k, to cover 100% of their directly incurred costs, for projects of up to 24 months duration. The MDC will provide in-kind contributions (for example, access to industrial expertise, facilities and equipment), equivalent in value to the funding offered by the NC3Rs. 

Please note that this scheme will not be running in 2020.

Key information on the application process is given below. Applicants should read the Applicant Guidance, which contains more detailed information about the application process.

 Who can apply How to apply Assessment procedure Related documents

Who can apply?

Establishment eligibility

Any UK research establishment including:

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • Independent Research Organisations (IROs)
  • Research Council (RC) Institutes

Note: Awards made under this scheme constitute de minimis aid. Any one organisation cannot be provided with more than the de minimis funding threshold of €200k over a three-year fiscal period.

Individual eligibility

Applicants must be UK-based researchers who can demonstrate that they:

  • are the recipients of an NC3Rs reponse mode grant that has developed a non-animal, human relevant in vitro or in silico model system.
  • have completed, or be within the last year, of their NC3Rs grant.
  • have a contract of employment that will outlast the duration of the proposed project.

Applicants must:

  • present the outcomes of their NC3Rs grant to the MDC at a Researchers Showcase event hosted by the MDC and organised by the NC3Rs.
  • submit only one application per grant.
  • be invited to apply to the scheme in collaboration with the MDC.

    Overseas researchers

    Overseas researchers cannot be Primary Investigators but can be included as collaborators. Overseas co-applicant status can be obtained in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NC3Rs; approval must be sought before applying.


    The NC3Rs does not allow resubmission of previously unsuccessful proposals, unless explicitly invited by the Panel. Proposals previously declined by the NC3Rs will not be considered by another Research Council or funder within 12 months (from the date of submission to the original Research Council) unless substantially revised. More information can be found in the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook.

    Please note: The same or similar application cannot be considered by any other Research Council, the Health Departments or any other research funder at the same time

    Back to the top

    How to apply

    Prospective applicants are required to present the outcomes of the NC3Rs grant, upon which an application would be based, to the MDC at a Research Showcase event organised by the NC3Rs.The MDC will then select projects that fall within their remit and to which their expertise can add value and work with the research team to develop a collaborative application for submission to the T2T competition.

    MDC criteria for selecting projects
    • Ability to add value with their available expertise and technologies and move the technology to the desired mTRL
    • Fit with MDC priority to make humanised preclinical research more readily available to SMEs
    • Alignment with MDCs goal of developing novel in vitro approaches for drug discovery
    • Potential for the project to impact more widely across MDC programmes
    • Expertise of the team
    • Potential for the project to significantly improve current standard used for drug discovery
    • Does the proposed work fit with the project budget?

    Applications must be made using the application form.

    Completed applications must be sent by email to All applications are treated in confidence.

    General guidance

    • Application forms and attachments must be submitted as PDF files.
    • Failure to complete mandatory fields on the application form and to submit all required attachments may result in the application being rejected.
    • The application form should be completed using a font size no smaller than 10pt (Arial) and text limits must not be exceeded.
    • The use of acronyms should be kept to a minimum. 

    Back to the top

    Assessment procedure

    Proposals are assessed by the NC3Rs Technologies to Tools Assessment Panel. 

    Member Institution Term ends
    Dr Ian Ragan Independent 2019
    Dr Jamie Bilsland C4X Discovery Ltd 2019
    Dr Lorna Ewart AstraZeneca 2019
    Professor Christopher George Swansea University 2019
    Dr Diane Harbison Decipher Analytics Ltd 2019
    Dr Mark Holbrook VAST pharma solutions Ltd and Certara Ltd 2019
    Dr John Kendrick Covance Ltd 2019
    Dr Nicola Valeri The Institute of Cancer Research 2019
    Dr Debbie Taylor LifeArc 2019

    ​The following criteria are taken into consideration by the Panel when making the funding decisions:

    Panel Assessment criteria
    • Potential for the T2T funding to progress technology to mTRLs 5-7
    • Potential 3Rs impact
    • Scale of the market opportunity
    • Value for money and justification for use of funds in achieving deliverables
    • Expertise and track record of the team
    • Eligibility of funding within the de minimis aid criteria

    In order to maintain the transparency and integrity of the peer review process we have adopted the MRC policy on peer review.  

    Please note the T2T Panel assessment guidance and scoring criteria below.

    Back to the top

    Related documents

    Application process

    Assessment criteria

    Award agreement template

    Back to the top