The NC3Rs announces new funds and research projects to advance the 3Rs

The Board has allocated £500K to be awarded in 2005 for new research projects into the 3Rs and also announced two new projects to start this year, totalling over £360K. The decisions were taken at the Boards inaugural meeting on Thursday 23 September, 2004. Research funding will increase as additional funds become available.

Established in May 2004, the NC3Rs aims to advance and promote all 3Rs, that is the replacement of animals with alternatives, reduction in the number of animals used and the refinement of procedures to minimise any pain, suffering or distress that might be caused.

The NC3Rs is inviting research proposals relevant to any area of medical, biological or veterinary research and applications that integrate a range of disciplines are welcomed. Proposals may complement existing research or be submitted as stand-alone 3Rs projects. The closing date for applications is 17 January 2005.

In addition to the £500k for next year, the National Centre today announced the award of its first two research grants, totalling £360K over three years, to Professor Christine Nicol of the University of Bristol and Dr John Roughan of the University of Newcastle. Professor Nicol will work on developing a method for detecting changes in the behaviour of genetically modified mice that may help identify animals with poor welfare. Dr Roughan aims to evaluate cancer pain in rodents and develop strategies for pain avoidance and alleviation.

At its first meeting the Board had in depth discussion of ways to identify the most useful areas of work for the Centre, and on how these should be prioritised in the coming year. It was decided that, as a first step, the Centre will host a meeting of stakeholders in January 2005 to exchange ideas and information on current priorities and to consider how efforts could be better coordinated on all 3Rs.

Lord Turnberg, Chair of the NC3Rs Board, said: "I'm delighted to be able to announce £500K for next year for UK research into the 3Rs. It seems particularly appropriate that one of the first actions taken by our new Board is to announce funds for research to fulfil the key aims the NC3Rs has been set up to achieve, namely the replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research."

Dr Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive of the NC3Rs, said: "The 3Rs are an integral part of animal research and the announcement of new funds for projects to advance 3Rs knowledge and practice is just one of the key initiatives the National Centre will be undertaking to build on existing 3Rs and best practice welfare initiatives in the UK."

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