News story

Reducing animal use in research: apply for innovation funding

Businesses are invited to apply for funding of up to £1 million to develop new ways to minimise the use of animals in research.

Innovative businesses and academics can apply for contracts to come up with new ways of minimising the use of animals in research.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), through its CRACK IT programme, is inviting small or medium enterprises (SMEs) to find solutions to a series of challenges.

Through the SBRI programme, successful applicants will receive a contract to develop their innovation. Depending on the challenge, contracts of up to £1 million over 3 years are available.

The 2016 challenges include:

  • improving implantation rates of early-stage embryos
  • developing reliable predictions for chemical toxicity
  • establishing a 3D retinal cell model for use in new ophthalmology treatments
  • developing an in vitro model to recapitulate the human osteoarthritic joint

There are 2 types of competition:

Two-phase challenges

These will include proof-of-concept studies for up to 6 months. At the end of phase 1, we will invite candidates to apply for phase 2 and attend a Dragons’ Den-style interview.

Single-phase challenges

These challenges focus on the validation of new technologies, prototypes and methods that are closer to market. We will invite the most promising candidates to a Dragons’ Den-style interview.

NC3Rs is a UK-based scientific organisation. Its aim is to find ways of replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing. NC3Rs is funding this competition with support from Innovate UK’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). Multinational pharmaceutical, chemical and consumer product companies are also sponsoring the competition. They are providing in-kind contributions such as access to data, compounds or expertise.

Competition information

  • This competition opens on 12 September 2016
  • Potential applicants can attend a launch event on 8 September 2016
  • The application deadline for the single phase competition is noon on 16 November 2016
  • The application deadline for phase 1 of the 2-phase competition is noon on 9 November 2016
  • The competition is open to SMEs and academics
  • We expect most projects to include multi-disciplinary teams