Skills and Knowledge Transfer grants

What is a skills and knowledge transfer grant?

Skills and knowledge transfer grants support the wider adoption and use of models, tools and technologies with proven 3Rs impacts through the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise. Applications from any area of medical, biological or veterinary research are within remit; those that integrate a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged. 

Awards are for up to 24 months with the amount requested dependent on the science and limited to a maximum of £75k (80% FEC). 

Scheme remit

The model/tool/technology, upon which the application is based, must be at a development stage appropriate for adoption by another laboratory. Some validation work to establish that the 3Rs approach is robust and reproducible in the end-user(s) lab is permitted.

All applications to this scheme must include both the ‘developer’ and ‘end-user(s)’ of the model/tool/technology. Either party may be identified as the primary investigator, and the other(s) must be co-investigator(s) or project partner(s). 

Joint CRUK-NC3Rs awards

This is the second year of our collaboration with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) for the Skills and Knowledge Transfer grant call. CRUK will contribute up to £50k for grants that seek to obtain 3Rs impact within the field of cancer research. Additional eligibility criteria apply for applicants wishing to apply for a joint CRUK-NC3Rs grant and awards made under this collaboration will be subject to joint CRUK-NC3Rs terms and conditions.

This competition is run annually. Key information on the application process is given below. Applicants are advised to read the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook which contains more detailed information about the application process.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to watch the recording of our webinar from Tuesday 27 October, which provides further information and guidance on the application process.

Key dates | Who can apply | How to apply | Assessment procedure | Related documents

Key dates

Please note that the NC3Rs Office will be closed from 18 December 2020 until 4 January 2021. Should you have any queries you are encouraged to contact the Office before 18 December. Any queries received within this period may receive a delayed response.

27 November 2020, 4pm Deadline for informal outline submission to Office
16 December 2020 Application form live on Je-S
11 February 2021, 4pm Deadline for full applications via Je-S
April 2021 Panel meeting convenes
End of April 2021 Applicants informed of outcome
1 June 2021 Expected project start date
31 July 2021 Latest date for commencing projects
September 2021 Grant holder introductory meeting

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Who can apply?

Establishment eligibility

Any UK research establishment including:

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • Independent Research Organisations (IROs)
  • Research Council (RC) Institutes
  • Small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs)*

Individual eligibility

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

  • Will direct the proposed research
  • Will be actively engaged in accomplishing the project’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 

*The definition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) used by the NC3Rs is set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Eligibility criteria for joint CRUK-NC3Rs awards

  • Applicants must hold a current Cancer Research UK (CRUK) grant, or have held a CRUK grant in the previous 18 months prior to the call deadline or, at the time of application, be a group leader at a CRUK core funded institute. Confirmation must be included in a cover letter with the application.
  • The Research Organisation (RO) must not be in receipt of research funding from the tobacco industry or have any links to the tobacco industry as outlined in ‘CRUK’s Code of Practice on Tobacco Industry Funding to Universities’ policy. A statement to this effect must be included within an accompanying cover letter at the time of application.

Further criteria and information can be found in the additional eligibility criteria. Prospective applicants should ensure that they meet these criteria prior to application and can contact either the CRUK team or the NC3Rs Office should further information be required. Applications for the CRUK-NC3Rs joint award will not be accepted if the above eligibility criteria are not met.

Overseas researchers

Overseas researchers cannot be Primary Investigators but can be included as collaborators. Overseas co-applicant status can be obtained in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the NC3Rs; approval must be sought before applying.

State aid

Any UK registered business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see section 4.2 (i) in the NC3Rs Applicant and Grant Holder Handbook.


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.

Please note: The same or similar application cannot be considered by any other Research Council, the Health Departments or any other research funder at the same time.

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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 both an outline and full application.

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

Prospective applicants are welcome to contact the Office for further information and are encouraged to register for our webinar, on 27 October 2020, which will provide further information and guidance on the scheme and application process.

Outline stage

Before submitting a full application applicants are required to complete an outline of the research proposal (see Related Documents below). Please email completed outlines to 

Submitting a full application

We use the Research Councils' joint electronic submission system (Je-S) and applications are processed by the RCUK Shared Business Services. Invited, full proposals must be submitted via Je-S.

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

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Assessment procedure

Applications are assessed by the NC3Rs Skills and Knowledge Transfer Assessment Panel. The following criteria are taken into consideration when making the funding decisions:

  • Potential impact on the 3Rs at both a local and international level
  • Quality of the science for which the model/tool/technology is being used
  • Quality of skills transfer plan
  • Expertise and track record of the team
  • Risk management strategy
  • Value for money
  • Strategic relevance to the highlight notice (where appropriate)

In order to maintain transparency and integrity of the peer review process the NC3Rs has adopted the MRC policy on peer review. Please note the Panel assessment guidance and scoring criteria below.

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Related documents

Application process

Additional information for joint CRUK-NC3Rs award

Assessment criteria

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