Board member vacancies

The NC3Rs is a leading scientific organisation dedicated to replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). 

COVID-19 has reaffirmed the importance of supporting research and innovation. The 3Rs, and the NC3Rs, have a vital role to play in the UK’s research and innovation system, empowering researchers to make informed decisions that underpin the performance of reproducible, rigorous and high-quality science benefitting animals, humans, the environment and the economy.

The NC3Rs is a government-backed organisation with core funding provided via the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The NC3Rs works with organisations across the bioscience and biomedical sectors in the UK and internationally including universities, industry, other research funders and regulatory authorities.

Its mission is to use the 3Rs to accelerate scientific discovery, support innovation and technology development, and address societal concerns about animal research. 

To deliver its mission, the NC3Rs;

  • Funds research
  • Supports scientific training and career development
  • Facilitates open innovation in the 3Rs
  • Provides a forum for scientific debate and exchange, and access to resources which accelerate the uptake of the 3Rs
  • Stimulates changes in policy, practice and regulations

Its activities are divided between its role as a research funder and its in-house programmes, led by NC3Rs scientists, which focus on providing independent advice and guidance, facilitating data sharing and knowledge exchange, and collaborating with industry.

Joining the NC3Rs Board presents an opportunity to help shape the NC3Rs strategy and promote the UK’s position as a world leader in 3Rs research and development. 

NC3Rs Board overview | Current vacancies | Selection criteria | How to apply | Related documents


The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which for logistical reasons operates under the umbrella of the MRC which in turn is part of UKRI. It has responsibility for setting and delivering its strategy and for the use of its resources.

Further information on the NC3Rs, including the NC3Rs Vision 2015-2025, can be found on our website.

The NC3Rs Board

The NC3Rs Board is a non-executive body which provides advice to the Chief Executive on the NC3Rs strategy and work plan, and monitors delivery against its mission and agreed objectives.

The Board acts as the custodian of the NC3Rs mission. Board members are not involved in the day-to-day business of the Centre but have a central role in contributing to the development of strategy, monitoring and evaluating delivery, and ensuring that financial planning and risk management is robust. Specifically, the Board:

  • Monitors delivery against strategy and objectives
  • Advises on the scientific and regulatory environment in which the NC3Rs operates, highlighting potential opportunities and risks to the Centre
  • Agrees the annual budget and reviews financial forecasts and controls
  • Is consulted on major policy and spending decisions
  • Reviews the performance of the Chief Executive

The Board acts as a single body, with all members sharing collective responsibility for all of its advice. In providing advice and guidance the Board is required to:

  • Take account of emerging science and technology, national and international regulations and policies relating to animal use
  • Seek expert advice where necessary
  • Ensure a balanced portfolio of research to support the delivery of the NC3Rs' objectives

The Board delegates specific responsibilities to the NC3Rs Funding Panels, which include members independent of the Board. Each Funding Panel makes recommendations on applications for funding, advising the budget holder (the NC3Rs Chief Executive) on funding decisions within the allocated budget.

As primary funders of the NC3Rs, the BBSRC and MRC have permanent membership of the Board and have additional responsibility for ensuring feedback to their organisations on the NC3Rs and providing advice to the NC3Rs on their organisations’ activities.

Board Member role and responsibilities

The key responsibilities of NC3Rs Board members are to:

  • Attend and actively contribute to Board meetings, major NC3Rs events and, where appropriate, chair NC3Rs Funding Panels or working groups and accompany NC3Rs staff to Grant holder meetings.
  • Advise on the vision, mission, strategy, work plan and major spending decisions, and to monitor progress against aims.
  • Support the Chief Executive and staff in ensuring effective delivery of NC3Rs' strategy and work plan.
  • Act as an advocate for the NC3Rs within the scientific community and more broadly.

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Current vacancies

The NC3Rs is recruiting for up to four members to join its Board from 1 January 2021. Accomplished senior scientists based in leading research organisations and also from within the pharmaceutical and chemicals industries are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications are also welcome from senior managers and veterinarians from laboratory animal facilities.

Person specification

Applicants will need to meet the following essential criteria:

  • A commitment to the mission and broad objectives of the NC3Rs
  • A good understanding of the use of animals in research and display a commitment to the development of all three ‘Rs’
  • An understanding of the priorities, challenges and opportunities for the 3Rs across the biosciences sector
  • Proven ability to exercise judgement across a broad spectrum of policy and research issues
  • A first class record in conducting and leading internationally respected research
  • A strong strategic perspective with the ability to tackle issues outside their immediate area of expertise
  • Line management experience at a senior level such as a research group or university department
  • Current, or previous, membership of a scientific advisory panel or funding panel with a major research funder e.g. MRC, Wellcome, Cancer Research UK
  • An ability to work effectively within the public sector requirements for accountability and openness, and within financial constraints

Applicants should be experienced senior scientists based in leading research organisations, including the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical and agrochemical sectors. 

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Selection criteria

The following general criteria will be used for shortlisting:

  • Scientific ‘fit’ for the vacancy
  • Breadth of knowledge
  • Demonstrable understanding/ commitment to the 3Rs
  • Appropriate level of experience
  • Location and sector - we are seeking broad representation from across the UK and Europe, as well as the academic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical and agrochemical sectors.

Assessment of suitability for the role will be made on the information provided in the application form and CV and also the balance of applicants’ expertise, geographic location and interests.

The NC3Rs values the diverse skills and experience of its Board members and is committed to achieving equality of treatment; all individuals shall have equal opportunities for advancement on the basis of their skills, aptitudes and abilities. Applications from women, those with a disability, and members of minority ethnic groups, who are currently under-represented at senior levels in the research and innovation community, are therefore especially encouraged.


Board members are expected to attend two (one day) Board meetings annually. Participation in other activities, such as attending NC3Rs events and Grant holder meetings, may be required.

Board members will be appointed from 1 January 2021 for a three year term with a possibility of an extension of up to two further years at the discretion of the NC3Rs Board Chair. There will be an opportunity to review membership with the Board Chair during the first year of appointment if requested.

Appointments are made in a personal capacity. It is essential that individuals should be able to commit the necessary time and attention to the role, and have the full support of their employer and organisation in doing so.

Declaration of interests

Board members are expected to abide by the principles set out in the ‘Code of Practice for members of Council and MRC Boards’ and are required to declare any private, professional or commercial interests that might, or might be perceived to, conflict with the NC3Rs interests. Board members’ declaration of interests forms are published on the NC3Rs website.


An allowance is payable per day for attendance at Board meetings (the current rate is £160 per day). Travel (standard class) and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) will be reimbursed.

Induction for successful candidates

An induction meeting where new members meet the NC3Rs Chief Executive and Board Chair, in advance of attending the first Board meeting, will be arranged in due course.

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How to apply

Submit the application form to before 4pm on 7 October 2020. All applications will be acknowledged by the NC3Rs team.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview by an Appointment’s Panel, chaired by the NC3Rs Board Chair, Professor Kevin Shakesheff (University of Nottingham). 

Interviews will be held on 10 November 2020. All reasonable expenses incurred in connection with attending an interview will be reimbursed. 

If you have any queries, or you would like further information about the role, please email

Key Dates

Application deadline

7 October 2020, 4pm


10 November 2020

Notification of interview outcome

November 2020

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Privacy notice

The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which for logistical reasons operates under the umbrella of the Medical Research Council (MRC) which in turn is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

All personal data provided to the NC3Rs will be processed in accordance with current UK data protection legislation.

The information you provide will be processed by the NC3Rs solely for the purpose of NC3Rs Board member recruitment. Your information will be retained and used to manage recruitment in accordance with the UKRI’s retention policy.

Information on how we use personal data can be found in the UK Research and Innovation Privacy Notice.  

The appointed individual’s Conflicts of Interest information (including name and institution) will be published on the NC3Rs website under the NC3Rs Board members webpage.

Related documents

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