Skills and Knowledge Transfer grants

What is a skills and knowledge transfer grant?

A skills and knowledge transfer grant supports the adoption of alternative, novel 3Rs models, tools and technologies within routine research practice, through the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise. Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged. Awards are for up to 12 months with the amount requested dependent on the science and limited to a maximum of £75k (80% fEC). This competition is run annually and the budget for the 2016/17 call is £250k.

Scheme remit:

  • The model/tool/technology, upon which the application is based, must be at a development stage appropriate for adoption by another laboratory.
  • All applications to this scheme must include both the ‘developer’ and ‘end-user(s)’ of the model/tool/technology. Either party may be identified as the primary investigator, and the other(s) must be co-investigator(s) or project partner(s). 

Highlight notice for applications involving the use of human tissue:

The NC3Rs recognises that the use of human tissue is essential for better understanding human health and disease, and to reduce the reliance on animal models in basic and biomedical research. As such we welcome applications involving the use of human tissue to the 2016/17 call for applications.

Highlight notices do not have a separate budget and applications submitted under highlight notices are considered in competition with the other applications received; however strategic relevance to the highlight will be one of the assessment criteria taken into consideration during the review process. 

Potential applicants are advised to contact the NC3Rs funding team before submitting an application under this highlight notice. Further information on accessing human tissue is available on our ‘Increasing the use of human tissue’ web resource.

Key information on the application process is given below. Applicants are advised to read the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook, which contains more detailed information about the application process.

Who can apply | How to apply | Assessment procedure | Related documents

Key dates

25 November 2016, 4pm* Deadline for informal outline submission to Office
7 December 2016 Application form live on Je-S
2 February 2017, 4pm Deadline for full applications via Je-S
April 2017 Panel meeting convenes
End of April 2017 Applicants informed of outcome
1 June 2017 Expected project start date
1 August 2017 Latest date for commencing projects
13 September 2017 Grantholder introductory meeting

*For informal outlines falling under the highlight notice, the deadline for submission has been extended to 9 December, 4pm.

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Who can apply?

Establishment eligibility

Any UK research establishment including:

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

Individual eligibility

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

  • Will direct the proposed research
  • Will be actively engaged in accomplishing the project’s aims
  • Hold a graduate degree – the minimum formal qualification required. However, it would normally be expected that an applicant has been awarded a PhD. Applications involving less experienced researchers should be made in collaboration with a more senior colleague

Prospective applicants ineligible to apply for this scheme due to their model/tool/technology not being at a suitable development stage or where the lead applicant is from the European Union or Industry may be interested in our  technology partnering hub, CRACK IT Solutions.

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.

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How to apply

Applicants are advised to read and refer to the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook which contains more detailed information on submitting both an outline and full application.

Outlines and full applications received after 4pm on the deadline date will not be considered, without exception.

Applicants submitting under the highlight notice, should note this within their outline forms and, if invited, the ‘Objectives’ and the ‘Case for Support’ sections their full applications.

Outline stage

Before submitting a full application applicants are required to complete an outline of the research proposal (see Related Documents below). Please email completed outlines to 

Submitting a full application

We use the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK Shared Business Services. Invited, full proposals must be submitted via Je-S.

If you experience difficulties using Je-S or have questions regarding its use, contact the Je-S helpdesk.

Email:      Phone: +44 (0) 1793 44 4164

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Assessment procedure

Applications are assessed by the NC3Rs Development and Impact Assessment Panel. The following criteria are taken into consideration when making the funding decisions:

  • Potential impact on the 3Rs at both a local and international level
  • Quality of the science
  • Current or future importance of the techniques to medical, biological or veterinary research
  • Strategy for promoting the proposed research and 3Rs outcomes within the scientific community
  • Expertise and track record of the team
  • Risk management strategy
  • Value for money
  • Strategic relevance to the highlight notice (where appropriate)

In order to maintain transparency and integrity of the peer review process the NC3Rs has adopted the MRC policy on peer review. Please note the Panel assessment guidance and scoring criteria below.

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Related documents

Application process

Assessment criteria

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