£1 million boost for infrastructure and networks to reduce animal use in science

UK animal research laboratories will get £1 million to develop networks of shared resources to reduce and refine their animal use, the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) announced today (26th February, 2013).

A new initiative of the NC3Rs, the 'Infrastructure for Impact' scheme supports the development of shared tissue banks, databases and equipment across multiple sites and institutes using animals resources that would otherwise be managed and utilised independently.

Open for applications today, the scheme aims to reduce and refine animal use in science in the short- to medium-term by funding improvements to the infrastructure that underpins UK biosciences research.

The funding has been provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as part of the £600 million extra science funding allocation from the 2012 Autumn Budget Statement.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, said:"This investment will further support the excellent work of the NC3Rs. It helps deliver the Government's commitment to using scientific advances to replace, reduce and refine animal use wherever possible."

Dr Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive, NC3Rs, said: "Existing NC3Rs funding schemes primarily support hypothesis-driven research and technology development. We have identified a need to fund proposals which are not driven by a specific research question, but could nevertheless have a significant impact on reducing and refining animal research."

"Our new scheme will provide the funds necessary for the collaborative development of networks to share resources between laboratories and institutions. For example, we will be supporting  the sharing of data from animal experiments to avoid studies being repeated, the sharing of cells and tissues to maximise the use of animals that are killed for this purpose, and where appropriate the sharing of animals, particularly genetically altered mice to avoid the potential for overbreeding."

Today's announcement from the NC3Rs' Annual Science Review meeting in London was accompanied by the publication of the Centre's 2012 Annual Report. Playing a key role in supporting the Coalition Government's pledge to work to reduce the use of animals in science, the NC3Rs reports on a number of key milestones achieved over the previous year.

Alongside making the single biggest investment in 3Rs research to date of £5.1 million, the NC3Rs published the first evaluation framework for measuring progress in the 3Rs. The report also highlights new initiatives launched in 2012 including a Fellowship scheme to support early-career scientists, and a new approach to replacing animal use with £750k funding for interdisciplinary projects between mathematicians and toxicologists.


Notes for Editors:

  1. About the NC3Rs: The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which leads on the discovery, development and promotion of new ways to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). It is supported primarily by Government, but also receives funding from the charitable and industrial sectors. The Centre has an annual budget of approximately £6.75 million and is the UK’s major funder of 3Rs research. Further information about NC3Rs activities and programmes can be found at http://www.nc3rs.org.uk 
  2. About the Infrastructure for Impact Scheme: The Infrastructure for Impact scheme is designed to support non-research proposals which could have a significant impact on replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in science over three-to-five. This includes:
    1. ​resource sharing (such as animals, tissue banks and databases) 
    2. data sharing
    3. establishing networks
    4. multi-user equipment. 

The scheme is not intended to provide capital funds for improving buildings or other facilities. Applications are invited from eligible UK institutions for proposals up to a maximum of £500k. Applications which are cross-departmental or cross-institutional are particularly encouraged. The deadline for applications is 4pm on 5 June 2013. 

Subscribe to our newsletter