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NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Inaugural award scheme supports NC3Rs-funded junior researchers

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Eight NC3Rs-funded early career researchers have been awarded funding to undertake dissemination activities to maximise the impact of their 3Rs-focused research projects.

The Early Career Engagement Award scheme was set up to further support NC3Rs-funded junior researchers, recognising the challenges they have faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While all research has been impacted, the effect of Covid-19 on junior researchers has been particularly evident limiting their ability to network and disseminate the 3Rs outputs from their projects. Final year PhD students, Fellows and postdoctoral researchers were invited to apply for funding to attend/organise events or activities aimed at furthering the impact of their projects by achieving wider awareness and uptake of the 3Rs approach.

Examples of the awards made include one to David Massey at Newcastle University that will enable him to attend the American Society of Primatologists annual meeting. He will also visit the California and Oregon National Primate Research Centres, two of the seven National Primate Research Centres in the USA. These opportunities will enable David to disseminate the refinement approaches for macaque weaning ages through studies undertaken during his PhD. Through an NC3Rs-funded Training Fellowship, Dr Nargess Khalilgharibi developed a computational platform to study the role of extracellular matrix mechanics in tissue architecture, avoiding the use of animals. She will now use the engagement award to maximise the applicability of the model by incorporating automated testing into the model. The funding will also support Nargess with a collaboration with the Advanced Research Computing Research Software Development team at UCL to further develop the platform so that it is accessible to researchers who do not have a coding background.

Other activities include presenting 3Rs approaches at scientific conferences to facilitate networking, establishing training resources for use within the scientific community, and performing validation experiments to catalyse the adoption of 3Rs approaches.

Over the next year we will be promoting the activities of all our early career engagement awards and inviting the awardees to describe how the award has helped them develop and build their 3Rs legacy.

Early Career Engagement Awards were awarded to:

  • Olga Baron (Fellow, KCL. £14,900)
  • Madeleine Carter (PhD Student, Newcastle University. £700)
  • Deborah Caswell (Fellow, Francis Crick Institute. £7,000)
  • Ciara Doran (Postdoctoral researcher, University of Sheffield. £15,000)
  • Nargess Khalilgharibi (Fellow, UCL. £15,000)
  • David Massey (PhD Student, Newcastle University. £5,500)
  • Alice Scemama (PhD Student, QMUL. £2,300)
  • Sian Wilcox (PhD Student, University of Oxford. £3,900)