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Sponsor a Challenge

The NC3Rs is inviting submissions from organisations that would like to sponsor new CRACK IT Challenges. Please read the guidance below for further information on how to submit your idea or contact the CRACK IT team at

Challenges come from industry, academia and the charitable sectors. As Sponsor of a Challenge you will gain early end-user input to the development of new technologies that will deliver 3Rs, scientific and business impacts to your organisation and the wider scientific community.

As Sponsor you must be able to provide in-kind contributions and/or funding to support your Challenge. Contributions can include access to compound libraries, expertise, in-house studies for validation of prototypes and co-funding. See current Challenges for examples of in-kind contributions provided in previous competitions and the Sponsor roles and responsibilities document for more information. 

A Challenge should be a call for a product, technology or process that:

  • Will have a significant impact on the 3Rs.
  • Is innovative and breaks new ground in areas where technologies would improve science and business.
  • Adds value or accelerates the availability of technologies.
  • Brings in new audiences/technologies.
  • Has wide applicability/leads to step change.
  • Ideally has significant commercial potential.
  • Is focused on developing and leveraging new technologies into broader use across the bioscience sector.
  • Is clearly defined so that the scope and endpoints are understood.
  • Has defined deliverables so that applicants and assessors are clear as to what is expected from the Sponsors.
  • Has scope for Sponsor in-kind contribution that brings genuine added value to the collaboration.

If your Challenge proposal is selected:

Graphic summarising the Challenge proposal process

How to submit your Challenge

Assessment process

Challenge submissions are considered by both independent scientific experts and the CRACK IT Advisory Panel, who will take the following criteria into consideration prior to making their final recommendations:

  • Level of 3Rs impact.
  • Scientific quality.
  • Commercial potential/potential for broad uptake of the technology.
  • Level of Sponsor input (e.g. co-funding, in-kind contributions, potential for co-Sponsors).
  • Alignment with current NC3Rs portfolio and external activities.
  • Low risk of Challenge not being solved.
  • Time to impact.

Dates and deadlines

2024 Challenges

Deadline for Challenge submission 16 February 2024
Notification of Challenge selection April 2024
Deadline for Challenge Brief completionJune 2024
2024 Challenges AnnouncedJuly 2024
 Two Phase ChallengesSingle Phase Challenges
Challenges Launch eventSeptember 2024September 2024
Phase 1 application deadline24 October 2024-
Single Phase application deadline-31 October 2024
Phase 1 Review Panel meetingNovember 2024 
Single Phase Review Panel November 2024
Single Phase Challenge Panel January 2025

2023 Challenges 

Deadline for Challenge submission8 March 2023
Notification of Challenge selection April 2023
Deadline for Challenge Brief completionJune 2023
2023 Challenges AnnouncedAugust 2023
Single Phase application deadline2 November 2023
Single Phase Review PanelNovember 2023
Single Phase Challenge PanelJanuary 2024
Phase 2 application deadlineJune 2024
Phase 2 Challenge Panel meetingJuly 2024