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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Funding scheme outputs 2022

NC3Rs funding schemes impacts


We use the Researchfish platform to gather information on the outputs and outcomes that arise from the research and early career awards we fund. The data allows us to monitor progress and identify trends as well as providing information we can use in case studies, corporate reports and funding bids.

NC3Rs grant holders report outputs into Researchfish that have resulted from, or are directly linked to, their awards. Researchfish is open to researchers all year round, but there is an annual submission period when researchers are asked to confirm their information is accurate and up to date. All NC3Rs grant holders are required to submit a report during the submission period for each year of their grant and typically for five years following the grant’s completion.

The most recent Researchfish submission period ran from 7 February 2022 to 17 March 2022. We had 430 awards (excluding CRACK IT Challenges contracts) on the Researchfish system, of these 217 were expected to submit in the 2022 submission period. In practice data from 412 grants from 341 grant holders was submitted, representing approximately £74.7M of awards. In this report we summarise the 2022 data collection, including data reported on 3Rs impacts, publications, further funding secured and examples of policy influences and engagement activities.

There are a number of points to note:

  • We have collected data via Researchfish annually since 2013 and in 2017 3Rs impacts were included as an additional question set. Some grant holders with awards that pre-date this have chosen to use Researchfish, where this data has been submitted it has been included in analysis, although the dataset is not complete.
  • The data submitted to Researchfish is ‘cleaned’ by the NC3Rs team liaising with grant holders where necessary to check for accuracy, completeness and avoid duplication of data.
  • Each graph includes an ‘n’ number, which indicates the total sample presented in the graph. Differences between header statements (in highlighted boxes) and graph ‘n’ numbers are due to incomplete data for some of the categories of information presented in graphs. 0% indicates a value less than 1% that has been rounded down during analysis.
  • All averages have been calculated as the mean of data between 2013 and 2021 only as this is the period we have a complete set of reported Researchfish data.

Researchfish data summary

Figure 1 shows the number of grants reporting a 3Rs impact. Many of the grants that have not reported 3Rs impacts are active awards, with 21 of these grants starting in the 12 months before the submission period.

 A bar graph showing 186 NC3Rs awards have had a 3Rs impact to date and 112 have not.

Figure 2 shows the breakdown by ‘R’ of those grants that report a 3Rs impact.

A bar graph showing 119 (59%) replacement grants have had a 3Rs impact, 36 (63%) reduction grants and 31 (79%) refinement grants.

Figure 3 shows the percentage of awards by ‘R’ where the grant holder has reported a 3Rs impact in their own laboratory. 

A bar graph showing 88 (51%) of replacement grants have had an impact in the grant holder's laboratory, 52 (60%) of reduction grants and 18 (59%) of refinement grants.

Figure 4 shows the percentage of awards where the 3Rs approach developed has been validated or used by another laboratory.

A bar graph showing 75 awards (25%) have been independently validated or replicated by another lab and 114 awards (38%) have had an approach applied to a different research question.

Figure 5 shows the percentage of grants by ‘R’ that have led to the 3Rs approaches developed being used in laboratories nationally or internationally (i.e. beyond that of the grant holder).

A bar graph showing 49 (28%) of replacement awards have had a national impact, 33 (38%) of reduction awards and 15 (41%) of refinement awards. 38 (27%) of replacement awards have had an international impact, 21 (31%) of reduction awards and 12 (35%) of refinement awards.

Figure 6 shows the types of research materials developed and the relative proportions.

A pie chart with 11 categories, n=314 26% of research materials developed are technology/assays/reagents, 15% of models are in vitro models of mechanisms or symptoms, 11% are cell lines, 9% are non-mammalian in vivo models of mechanisms or symptoms, 9% are biological samples, 8% are physiological assessments or outcome measures, 8% are mammalian in vivo models of mechanisms or symptoms, 6% are human models of mechanisms or symptoms, 5% are improvements to infrastructure, 3% are DNA products and 0% software.

Figure 7 shows the sectors with which NC3Rs grant holders report collaborations with. Note 85% of all collaborations were reported as active collaborations at the time of Researchfish submission (data not shown).

A pie chart with 6 categories of collaboration sectors, n =925 70% of collaborations were with academic/university, 15% with industry, 7% with public, 5% with charity/non profit, 3% with hospitals and 0% learned society.

Figure 8 shows the number of publications arising from NC3Rs grants from the start of the award. Note the average time taken for an NC3Rs grant holder to report a publication is three years after their grant begins (data not shown).

A bar graph showing 113 grants had papers the same year they were awarded, 320 1 year after, 383 2 years after, 385 3 years after, 343 4 years after and the slope declines rapidly to 1 paper 16 years after the grant started.

Figure 9 shows the types of journal articles published by NC3Rs grant holders and the relative proportions by article type.

A bar graph showing 1168 journal articles were primary papers, 110 were methods papers, 286 were reviews and 169 did not fit these categories.

Figure 10 shows the length of time it takes for NC3Rs grant holders to secure further funding after their NC3Rs award has started. Further funding secured in the same year as the NC3Rs grant starts is marked as 0 years.

A bar graph showing 59 grants received further funding the year they were awarded, 109 awards 1 year after they begun, 138 after 2 years, 138 after 3 years, 123 after 4 years and the graph declines rapidly to 1 award having received funding after 12 years.

Figure 11 shows the types of further funding secured by NC3Rs grant holders and the relative proportions by grant type.

A bar graph showing 396 instances of further funding were research grants, 132 were studentships, 85 were travel or small personal awards, 50 were Fellowships and 22 were capital/infrastructure (including equipment).

Figure 12 shows the sectors from which investment is secured by NC3Rs grant holders and the relative breakdown.

A bar graph showing 346 instances of further funding were from the charity/non profit sector, 189 from public, 81 from academic/university, 54 from industry, 6 from learned society and 1 from hospitals.

Figure 13 shows the amount of further funding received by NC3Rs grant holders.

A bar graph showing 47 instances of further funding were between 101 and 1,000 pounds, 90 between 1,001 and 10,000 pounds, 261 between 10,001 and 100,000 pounds, 246 between 100,001 and 1,000,000 pounds and 45 over 1,000,000 pounds.

Table 1 shows the spin-out companies established as a result of NC3Rs research funding.


Year established

Destina Genomics








Renovos Biologics Limited


Bioflares Ltd


Science Engineered Limited


Figure 14 shows the types of policy influences that NC3Rs grant holders have had and the relative breakdown by policy types.

A pie chart with 10 categories, N=148 showing 49% of policy influences were influencing training of practitioners/researchers, 18% participation in an advisory committee, 17% membership of a guideline committee, 3% contribution to new/improved professional practice, 3% participation in a national consultation, 3% citation in policy documents, 2% citation in systematic reviews, 2% evidence in a government review and 2% implementation in a circular/rapid advice

Figure 15 shows the types of engagement activities performed by NC3Rs grant holders and the relative breakdown by activity type.

A pie chart with 8 categories, n = 2090. 53% of engagement activities were a talk or presentation, 26% participation in an activity/workshop, 6% a formal working group, 5% participation in an open day/research visit, 4% a press release, 3% a magazine/newsletter, 2% engagement focused website/blog/social media, 1% a broadcast.

Figure 16 shows the reach of the engagement activities by NC3Rs grant holders reported by geographical location from local to international. 

A bar graph showing 891 engagement activities had an international reach, 522 a national reach, 384 a local reach and 281 a regional reach.

Figure 17 shows the audience size of reported engagement activities.

A bar graph showing 87 engagement activities had 1 - 10 attendees, 543 had 11 - 50 attendees, 556 had 51 - 100 attendees,  501 had 101 - 500 attendees and 291 had more than 500 attendees.

Figure 18 shows the audiences reached through the engagement activities described in Figure 15, with the relative breakdown by audience type.

A pie chart with 16 categories, N=2067, 34% of audiences were professional practitioners, 16% were public, 10% postgraduate students, 8% other audiences, 8% schools, 5% industry, 4% other academic audiences, 3% media, 3% undergraduate students, 3% participants in research, 3% policymakers, 1% patients, 0% supporters, 0% study participants, 0% health professionals.

Figure 19 shows the personal awards and types of recognition that NC3Rs grant holders have reported, with a breakdown by type.

A pie chart with 11 categories, n=731, 47% of awards and recognition were being personally asked as a conference key note speaker, 14% research prizes, 11% prestigious position in an external body, 10% poster/abstract prize, 7% appointed as editor/advisor to journal or book series, 4% honorary learned society membership, 4% visiting staff/user to research group, 2% medal, 1% national honor, 0% honorary degree, 0% NIHR award.

Figure 20 shows the next destination of people who change position during, or after, an NC3Rs award with a breakdown by sector.

A pie chart describing next destinations with seven categories. Academic/University makes up 74% of next destinations, industry 8%, charity/non profit 6%, company 6%, public 4%, hospital 2% and multiple 0%. N = 301.


If you have any questions, comments or feedback on this report please contact the NC3Rs funding team.