NC3Rs e-newsletter - April 2021

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April 2021

Opportunities to join the NC3Rs team

Are you interested in taking a new step in your career? We are currently recruiting for two roles within the NC3Rs team, supporting our mission to advance the 3Rs and pioneer better science:

  • Programme Manager – Replacement Technologies (closing date: Monday 3 May)
  • Programme Manager – Early Career Awards, maternity cover (closing date: Tuesday 11 May)

Learn more and apply

  Join the NC3Rs team

Refining non-human primate vaccine studies in the age of COVID-19

A new review paper in Vaccines, co-authored by NC3Rs staff, identifies best practice for vaccine studies that use non-human primates, including those performed in biocontainment. The paper describes opportunities to refine these studies, including social housing, environmental enrichment and appropriate animal training.

Learn more

  Refining non-human primate vaccine studies in the age of COVID-19

Find resources on zebrafish welfare

We have pulled together information on zebrafish welfare from our science programmes – a must visit for all researchers and animal care staff who work with zebrafish. Topics covered include refinements for common procedures, welfare monitoring and anaesthesia.

Learn more

  Find resources on zebrafish welfare
"3 Minute 3Rs" podcast
10 years of CRACK IT

10 years of CRACK IT webinar: Rodent behavioural monitoring... what have you been missing?

Wednesday 12 May, 2-3pm (BST)


This webinar will highlight how the Home Cage Analyser, developed through the Rodent Big Brother and Rodent Little Brother Challenges, is being applied across a range of disciplines and sectors to refine rodent behavioural monitoring. Speakers include Professor Douglas Armstrong, who will share how Actual Analytics developed and commercialised the Home Cage Analyser, and Dr Sonia Bains, who will explain why MRC Harwell posed the Rodent Little Brother Challenge and how they are using the technology within their mouse phenotyping programme.

Register now

  Rodent behavioural monitoring... what have you been missing?

We are celebrating the first decade of CRACK IT throughout 2021 with monthly webinars showcasing products developed through CRACK IT Challenges. All upcoming webinars are now open for registration – visit our website to learn more or keep an eye on our newsletter for regular updates.

Register for upcoming events

10 years of CRACK IT product showcase

Vivaltes – non-mammalian testing for toxicology and human health

In our most recent ten years of CRACK IT webinar we highlighted the PREDART Challenge, which focused on developing non-mammalian models for developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) testing. The recording is now available to watch online, featuring presentations by Dr Marjolein Wildwater, Founder and General Director of Vivaltes, the company founded to address the Challenge, and Dr Martijn Rooseboom (Shell), one of the original Sponsors who set and helped deliver the Challenge.

Watch the recording

Vivaltes combines data science and wet lab testing using C. elegans to assess adverse and positive health effects of compounds while replacing the use of mammals. The company has expanded beyond DART testing to offer a range of tests for different compounds, including those with unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products, or biological materials.

Key features of Vivaltes’ services

  • In vivo testing without mammals: C. elegans is a multicellular organism that exhibits sensory and behavioural responses to stimuli, enabling a systems approach to testing while avoiding the use of mammalian models
  • High human relevance: many key biological pathways and essential genes are conserved between humans and C. elegans
  • Cost- and time-effective: multiple concentrations and exposure times can be assessed simultaneously and C. elegans’ short lifecycle enables multigeneration and progeny testing in weeks rather than years

Learn how Vivaltes could support your work

2021 NC3Rs PhD Studentship scheme now open

We are pleased to announce we are now accepting informal outlines for our 2021 PhD Studentship funding scheme, including up to two joint awards with the British Heart Foundation for projects advancing the 3Rs in cardiovascular research. Please note that this year we are also accepting applications for four-year standalone PhD projects, in addition to our existing three-year awards.


The deadline to submit an outline is Wednesday 12 May – find details of how to apply on our website or email if you have any questions.

Learn more and apply

We recently held a webinar for prospective applicants to learn more about the PhD Studentship scheme and how to apply. The recording is now available to watch online.

Watch the recording

  NC3Rs-funded PhD Studentships
NC3Rs webinars

Register now: Rat playpens for improved welfare

Wednesday 5 May, 3-3.45pm (GMT)


This webinar will focus on the welfare benefits of playpens for laboratory rats. Dr Jessica Eddy from the NC3Rs will present an overview of playpens and tips for setting them up. Kirsty Watson, a Senior Animal Technician at University College London, will then outline how rat playpens were introduced at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology and the positive results staff saw. The webinar will be relevant for anyone involved in the care of laboratory rats.

Register now

  Rat playpens for improved welfare

Recording: Refining rodent stereotactic surgeries

Rodent stereotactic surgery is used in many studies and applying best practice is important, not only for animal welfare, but also for good experimental outcomes. In this webinar recording, Amanda Novak, Named Veterinary Surgeon for the University of Edinburgh, covers current advice on good surgical technique and refinements to incorporate into rodent stereotactic surgery procedures.

Watch the recording

  Refining rodent stereotactic surgeries

What’s in a legacy? Part 1 – Small acts to make a big impact

When considering your 3Rs research, how do you ensure its impacts are fully adopted across other labs and institutes over a sustained period? In the first of our new blog series, we speak to Dr Alasdair Nisbet from the Moredun Research Institute about how he planned his 3Rs legacy and the impacts on his subsequent work.

Read the blog post

  The 3Rs valley of death

Share your thoughts on rodent health monitoring strategies

Researchers at the North American 3Rs Collaborative and the University of Washington invite you to participate in a short research survey (around ten minutes) on your institution’s rodent health monitoring strategies. Participants will subsequently be contacted annually for three years to assess whether changes have occurred over time. Multiple individuals within each institution are encouraged to take part and responses are welcomed from anywhere in the world.

Take the survey

  Share your thoughts on rodent health monitoring strategies

6th Meeting of the LASA Large Animal Research Network

Tuesday 11, 18 and 25 May


The LASA Large Animal Research Network invites you to their 6th annual meeting, which this year will be held online over three afternoons. Topics covered include poultry in biomedical research, refining sheep models and behavioural analysis of cattle in biocontainment. You will also have the opportunity to pose your questions to the speakers.

Register now