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New funding scheme: £4M available for proposals to establish infrastructure needed to accelerate use of non-animal methods. Apply now.

NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

Non-animal methods infrastructure grants

Key information about applying for an infrastructure grant (non-animal methods)

Scheme at a glance

A total of £4M is available for infrastructure to accelerate the use of approaches that replace the use of animals in research and testing. 


A key part of the NC3Rs mission is to promote the use of non-animal methods such as 3D tissue models, microphysiological systems and in silico/computational tools to actively replace in vivo studies. The widespread use of non-animal methods across the biosciences sector is often limited by access to the required infrastructure and we are committing £4M to help address this through our new infrastructure grants. 

Key information about applying for this call is given below. Applicants should read the Applicant guidance, which contains more detailed information about the application process.


This funding call is exclusively for non-research proposals that will increase the capacity and capabilities of the UK research base to use non-animal methods. 

Please note that by non-animal methods we are specifically referring to full replacement approaches only (e.g. the use of human volunteers, tissues and cells, mathematical and computer models, and established cell lines). Infrastructure to support the use of so-called partial replacement (e.g. primary animal cells or tissues, invertebrates and species not protected under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act) is not in scope of this call. Further information on the definitions used for this call can be found on the our 3Rs pages

Examples of initiatives that are within scope include:

  • Equipment and associated consumables to facilitate the adoption of non-animal methods – this could be at the level of an individual research group or ideally for supporting multiple groups and where appropriate, multiple sites. The purpose of the equipment should be to enable research groups/institutes to transition to non-animal methods or to scale-up existing activities. Establishing a core facility to run/provide non-animal methods to reduce costs and leverage scale is in scope.  
  • Platforms for data sharing, including establishing new databases – these could focus on combining data from different types of non-animal methods to maximise their use, or collating data from historic in vivo studies to allow comparative studies with non-animal methods or for use by others to avoid new animal studies. Datasets should be interoperable to allow them to be used in meaningful ways and be consistent with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles.
  • Creation of hubs and networks to facilitate the collation and distribution of resources that support the use of non-animal methods (or their qualification/validation for demonstrating that they are fit-for-purpose). These include but are not limited to human tissues, cell lines, microphysiological systems and reagents (e.g. compound sets for use for qualification/validation purposes). 
  • Costs to cover access to demonstrator labs for the installation and running of non-animal methods in order to explore scale-up, enable access and training for new users, qualification of the model against compound sets and comparison to data generated from animal studies. 

Multidisciplinary, cross-institutional, cross-departmental or cross-sector applications are of particular interest. Proposals with an industrial partner are strongly encouraged. The call will not provide capital funds for improving buildings. 

Please note awards will be made for spending in the 2024/25 financial year. We recognise that the call is ambitious and that in some cases the work proposed may be focused on laying the foundations for the long-term infrastructure that is required to deliver the widespread use of non-animal methods. Ideally proposals should explain how the infrastructure will be sustained at the end of the award.

Key dates

Key date Details
30 May 2024, 9am Application form available on TFS
30 July 2024, 4pm Deadline for submitting full application on TFS
September 2024 Board assessment meeting
End of September 2024 Applicants notified of outcome
31 October 2024 Latest date to start award

Award values and duration

The maximum amount that can be requested is dependent on the need of the project. Equipment only grants should not exceed £500k.

Successful applicants need to complete their spending by 31 March 2025.

Eligibility criteria

Establishment eligibility 

Any UK research establishment including:

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • Eligible independent research organisations (IROs) 
  • Research institutes 
  • Public sector research establishments

Individual eligibility 

Applicants should be UK-based researchers who can demonstrate that they: 

  • Will direct the plans set out in the proposal. 
  • Will be actively engaged in accomplishing the proposal’s aims. 
  • Hold a graduate degree – the minimum formal qualification required. However, it would normally be expected that an applicant has been awarded a PhD. Applications involving less experienced researchers should be made in collaboration with a more senior colleague. 

We particularly welcome applications from currently under-represented groups in the research and innovation community (including, but not limited to, early career researchers, women, those with a disability and members of minority ethnic groups).

Overseas researchers 

Overseas researchers cannot be Project Leads but can be included as collaborators or project partners. Project co-Lead (international) status can be obtained in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NC3Rs – approval must be sought from the NC3Rs Office ( before applying.

Industrial researchers 

Industrial researchers cannot be Project Leads but are eligible to apply for funding from the NC3Rs as a Project co-Lead. Please note that industry investigators are eligible for 100% directly incurred costs only, which should be entered under the Exceptions cost heading. Alternatively, a researcher based in industry may be included as collaborator or project partner.

How to apply

Applications to this funding call should be made via the UKRI Funding Service (TFS).

Applicants are advised to read and refer to the Applicant guidance, which contains more detailed information on submitting an application. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact, before submitting an application, to determine whether the proposed research fits the scheme remit and to confirm eligibility. 

To start an application on the Funding Service use the opportunity reference: OPP638: NC3Rs Non-animal methods Infrastructure grants 2024

Completed applications received after 4pm on the deadline date will not be considered, without exception.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by the NC3Rs Board. Applications will not be sent for external peer review and there will be no Project Lead rebuttal stage.

Your application will be assessed against the criteria for assessment as outlined below:

  • Potential impact on the uptake of the non-animal method(s) in the research group, host organisation or where appropriate multiple institutions.
  • Demonstrable need for the infrastructure in the research group, host organisation or where appropriate multiple institutions.
  • Expertise and track record of the team.
  • Support from the host organisation or other partners.
  • Value for money.
  • Sustainability of the resource after the grant funding has ended.

Depending upon the number of applications received, a triage stage may be introduced. In this case, applications would be reviewed by the Board to identify those which are not competitive. Applications that address an area of high strategic importance to the NC3Rs, and score within the fundable range, may receive an uplift in the recommendations for funding.

In order to maintain transparency and integrity of the peer review process the NC3Rs has adopted the UKRI principles of peer review

The non-animal methods infrastructure grants are open for applications. Deadline: 30 July, 4pm.