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Sponsor a Challenge: overcome scientific barriers with 3Rs-driven solutions

08 December 2023

We are looking for stakeholders from across the biosciences to submit their ideas for new CRACK IT Challenges. 

The CRACK IT programme addresses scientific problems with 3Rs-driven approaches. Research questions that have not yet been solved are submitted to the NC3Rs as Challenge proposals by potential Sponsors. These ideas can be developed into Challenges that are pitched to the scientific community to solve as a funding competition. 

Sponsors are stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines, including the pharmaceutical industry, fast-moving consumer goods, agrochemical producers and research charities. Challenges have been successful in a range of areas across the biosciences, delivering technologies in gene therapy safety testing, in vitro models for drug development and animal welfare.

"The CRACK IT programme serves as the perfect platform where the most innovative 3Rs technologies are developed and get embraced by the pharmaceutical industry. I strongly believe that the CleanCut and the T-ALERT Challenges will shape the future of genotoxicity evaluation of gene therapies."  

Dr Silvana Libertini, Novartis 

Sponsors have an integral role in Challenges. Having identified the scientific or business issue, they have unique insights into the specific requirements of the solution and can ensure that the technology developed is fit-for-purpose. Sponsors support the innovators working to solve the Challenge by providing expert insight and in-kind contributions. In return, they gain unique insight into the development and validation of new technologies and have early access to the product and services developed. Sponsors collaborate with the team awarded funding to solve the Challenge, creating multidisciplinary, cross-sector consortia working together to develop tools and technologies with 3Rs impacts. 

Interested in becoming a Sponsor or have an idea for a Challenge? Get in touch with the CRACK IT team

Visit the Sponsor a Challenge page for more information about the role of a Sponsor. The deadline for new Challenge submissions is Friday 16 February 2024.

"The CRACK IT Challenges programme, led by the NC3Rs, provides a unique platform through which solutions to innovation Challenges are co-created by fostering collaboration between industry, academic and SME scientists.  Unilever has co-funded, and with AstraZeneca co-sponsored, the Animal-free in vitro Challenge, which aims to remove a reliance on animal-derived components from in vitro assay design.  Supporting this Challenge gave us valuable insight into the technical background of the project and early access to apply developed methods within our laboratory programme."  

Dr Andrew Scott, Unilever

Learn more about the benefits of CRACK IT from our Challenge awardees and Sponsors, who helped us to celebrate 10 Years of CRACK IT in 2021. 

"The Mary Lyon Centre has gained so much from being involved in the CRACK IT programme. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside technology experts to solve challenges to refine our procedures. Through the Tat-Fit Challenge, we have explored different solutions with scientists we would not usually collaborate with and had early access to prototype technologies leading to some real progress, which we hope will be useful for many." 

Dr Sara Wells, Mary Lyon Centre, MRC Harwell  

Disclaimer: the views and options expressed in this article are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities they represent.