NC3Rs e-newsletter - May 2021

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May 2021

Join us and discover this year’s 3Rs Prize winner

Register for this year's 3Rs Prize announcement

Join us online on Tuesday 8 June from 4pm to 5pm (BST) for the announcement of this year’s 3Rs Prize winner. The Prize, sponsored by GSK, recognises exceptional science with a significant 3Rs impact – previous winners have made advances in fields as diverse as organs-on-chips, laboratory rat housing and in silico cardiotoxicity testing. The event will feature a presentation by the winning scientist, as well as speeches by NC3Rs Board Chair Professor Kevin Shakesheff, and Dr Nick McMahon representing GSK.

Register now

Join our team and support the 3Rs in Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham

We are currently recruiting a Regional Programme Manager for the Midlands, working across the Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham to provide dedicated 3Rs support. This varied role involves working with a range of stakeholders, including researchers, animal care staff and senior administrators, to identify 3Rs opportunities and maximise their impact.


The closing date to apply for this role is Wednesday 9 June.

Learn more and apply

  Join the NC3Rs team

Download the latest issue of Tech3Rs

The May issue of Tech3Rs, our quarterly newsletter for animal technicians, is now available to read online and download. In this issue, we share Stephen Woodley’s career journey from junior animal technician to Director of Biological Services at King’s College London, discuss non‑invasive methods of oral administration in mice, highlight our newest resources and more.

Read and download Tech3Rs

  Tech3Rs Issue 11 (May 2021)
"3 Minute 3Rs" podcast
10 years of CRACK IT

10 years of CRACK IT webinar: Chipping away at in vivo nephrotoxicity testing

Wednesday 9 June, 2-3pm (BST)


This webinar will showcase the NephroScreen human kidney-on-a-chip platform, developed by Mimetas to address the 2013 NephroTube Challenge. Mimetas Project Scientist Dr Linda Gijzen will describe how NephroScreen is replacing animal use in screening for drug-induced nephrotoxicity, how the system was validated with compounds provided by industry sponsors, and how Mimetas is delivering further 3Rs products for assessing neurotoxicity and immunomodulation.

Register now

  10 years of CRACK IT webinar: Chipping away at <strong>in vivo</strong> nephrotoxicity testing
10 years of CRACK IT product showcase

Digitise your rodent behavioural monitoring with the Home Cage Analyser

Our latest ten years of CRACK IT webinar showcased the Home Cage Analyser, which was developed by Actual Analytics to address the Rodent Big Brother and Rodent Little Brother Challenges through refining rodent behavioural monitoring. The recording is now available to watch online and includes presentations by Professor Douglas Armstrong, co-founder of Actual Analytics, and Dr Sonia Bains, Phenotyping Technical Developer at MRC Harwell, where the Home Cage Analyser has been successfully deployed.

Watch the recording

The Home Cage Analyser provides unobtrusive, continuous monitoring of group-housed rodents, refining animal use by avoiding the need for single housing for some studies and testing and testing in the familiar home cage environment. The system combines monitoring via RFID chips and high quality video recording, including automatic detection of specific behaviours, to yield new insights into rodent behaviour. It has wide applicability and has so far been used in safety pharmacology studies, neurological disease research, and mouse phenotyping programmes.

Key features of the Home Cage Analyser

  • 24/7 recording and analysis: data is recorded around the clock, using infrared lighting to provide high quality video even during the night.
  • A real home cage: as well as allowing group-housing, the system fits into most standard desktop cages and IVC racks with no need to modify existing caging.
  • Multiple data levels: various levels of data are collected for each individual animal, including movement, behaviour, temperature and circadian rhythm.

Learn more about the Home Cage Analyser system

£200k awarded to deliver the 2020 Single Phase CRACK IT Challenges

Two teams have been awarded £100k each to develop products that aim to improve the welfare of mice. Dr Matthew Leach (Newcastle University) and colleagues will develop an app to automate the detection of changes in facial expression and body condition of mice, while a team led by Dr Fang Liu (Fluid Pharma Ltd) will refine studies involving inducible transgenesis by improving the palatability of tamoxifen when added to rodent chow.

Learn more

  £200k awarded to deliver the 2020 Single Phase CRACK IT Challenges

Opportunity to validate an in silico platform for gut research

Are you a gut researcher curious about how in silico models could further your work? If so, check out our latest partnering request on the konfer platform. Dr Jan Ulrich Kreft at the University of Birmingham is seeking collaborators to help further develop and validate his eGUT computer simulation tool, partly funded by the NC3Rs, which could reduce the use of mammalian models in studies of gut microbiota and their interactions with the host.

Learn more and connect

  eGUT logo

Complete our survey on non-animal technologies in the UK

We are reviewing how non-animal technologies are currently being applied in the UK to identify how we can best support the sector in maximising their 3Rs, scientific and commercial benefits. If you are involved in the development or application of non-animal technologies, we would like to hear your views on the challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered, including funding, regulatory acceptance and building collaborations.


The survey is open until Monday 31 May and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey

  Organ-on-a-chip technology
NC3Rs webinars

Recording: Rat playpens for improved welfare

If you work with laboratory rats, don’t miss this webinar recording, which highlights how playpens could help improve the welfare of your animals. It features presentations by Dr Jessica Eddy from the NC3Rs, who gives an overview of playpens and tips for setting them up, and Kirsty Watson, a Senior Animal Technician at University College London, who outlines how rat playpens were introduced at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology and the positive results staff saw.

Watch the recording

  Rat playpens for improved welfare

Recording: Managing aggression in laboratory animal species

Whatever species you work with, aggression among laboratory animals can cause serious problems. At this year’s virtual IAT Congress, we ran an interactive workshop exploring why aggression may occur, how it can affect welfare and science, and how it can be managed and prevented. The presentation from this workshop is now available to catch up on, and includes advice specific to mice, rats, rabbits, macaques, dogs and pigs.

Watch the recording

  Minimising aggression in group-housed male mice

Apply for an EPAA 3Rs student grant

Every year the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) sponsors grants to support students in attending scientific events relevant to the 3Rs. This year grants are available to cover costs associated with participating in the WC11 Virtual Congress or EUROTOX. Applicants must be based in the EU or UK and must have completed a BSc (or equivalent), but not have obtained a doctoral degree.

Learn more and apply

  EPAA logo