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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

Training Fellowships

Key information about applying for a Training Fellowship

What is a Training Fellowship?

Training Fellowships support the development of promising early career researchers with less than three years’ post-doctoral experience, focusing on developing new skills and gaining a breadth of research experience. 

Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines or include an industrial partner are particularly encouraged. 

Funding for Training Fellowships is non-FEC and applicants can apply for a commensurate salary (as agreed by the host research organisation) and up to £15k per annum for other directly incurred research costs. Awards are for a two year duration and there is one competition per year. 

The Training Fellowship scheme will not be running in 2022.

Key dates

Key date Details
8 July 2021 Application form available on Je-S
9 September 2021, 4pm Full application deadline on Je-S
End of November 2021 Training Fellowship Assessment Panel meeting
Mid-December 2021 Applicants informed of outcome
Within 12 months of award Fellowship start date
Spring 2022 Fellows' meeting

Please sign up to the NC3Rs Newsletter for updates on funding schemes.

Who can apply?

Establishment eligibility

Any UK research establishment including:

  • UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • Independent Research Organisations (IROs)
  • Research Council (RC) Institutes

Industrial organisations may act as collaborators but are not eligible to be primary host Research Organisations. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find a host Research Organisation that will act as their employer.

Individual eligibility

Applicants should be early career researchers with a maximum of three years' postdoctoral experience at the time of application.
  • Final year PhD students may apply, but must be awarded their PhD before the Fellowship commences.
  • There are no residency requirements and international applicants are eligible to apply. However, the host Research Organisation must ensure that all necessary work permits are in place prior to the fellowship starting.
  • Applicants are ineligible to apply if they already hold a permanent contract of employment at the host institution (e.g. lectureship position).
  • Applicants must identify a Sponsor at the host Research Organisation. If time will be spent outside the host Research Organisation, a Sponsor must also be identified at the collaborating institute.
  • If an NC3Rs grant holder has more than 12 months remaining on their NC3Rs grant, at the time of application, they are not permitted to apply as a Primary Investigator for further NC3Rs funding (excluding CRACK IT and Skills and Knowledge Transfer grants – please contact the Office to discuss).

Additional considerations

Applicants should assess their career stage and suitability for the scheme against the NC3Rs Skills and Experience Framework. This framework is intended to provide general guidance and clarity on the types of skills and competencies that potential applicants should seek to demonstrate at each career stage, taking into account career breaks, part-time working, and changes in discipline.

Applicants with more than three years' postdoctoral experience who have had a career break due to personal reasons or work outside of active research should contact to discuss their eligibility.


The NC3Rs does not allow resubmission of previously unsuccessful proposals, unless explicitly invited by the Panel. 

Proposals previously declined by the NC3Rs will not be considered by another Research Council or funder within 12 months (from the date of submission to the original Research Council) unless substantially revised. More information can be found in the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook.

How to apply

Applicants are advised to read and refer to the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook, which contains more detailed information on submitting an application.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact, before submitting an application via Je-S, to determine whether the proposed research fits the 3Rs remit and to confirm eligibility. 

Applicants contacting the Office regarding eligibility should also send their CV as part of their query. Please ensure that the following information is provided within the CV:

  • Award date of PhD (date on degree certificate)
  • Employment history
  • Full list of publications (including those submitted or in press)

Submitting a final application

We use the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK Shared Business Services. Completed proposals should be submitted through Je-S. 

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

Applicants submitting under the highlight notice, should note this within the ‘Objectives’ and the ‘Case for Support’ sections of their applications.

If you experience difficulties using Je-S or have questions regarding its use, contact the Je-S helpdesk.

Email:      Phone: +44 (0) 1793 44 4164

Assessment procedure

Applications are assessed by the Training Fellowship Assessment Panel. The following criteria are taken into consideration when making funding decisions:

  • Competitiveness, potential, and track record of the applicant including publication history
  • Scientific independence of the applicant as measured against the NC3Rs Skills and Experience Framework
  • 3Rs acumen of the applicant
  • Potential 3Rs impact of the proposed project
  • Scientific quality of the proposed project
  • Expertise and track record of the sponsors
  • Suitability of the research environment
  • Strategic relevance to the highlight notice (where appropriate)

A triage process will occur prior to the Panel meeting. Applications will be reviewed by the Panel to identify those which are not competitive.

In order to maintain transparency and integrity of the peer review process we have adopted the MRC policy on peer review. Please note the Training Fellowship Panel Scoring Criteria and Guidance below.


Assessment criteria

Useful information

Common reasons why proposals are returned to applicants during the checking process.

Funding application forms with an NC3Rs pen on top