The UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has announced, as part of its main 3Rs research funding call in 2009, a priority funding area for projects that replace animals protected under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 with invertebrate models. Those interested in submitting an application in this area should contact the NC3Rs. The closing date for full applications is 25 February 2009.

The NC3Rs is a scientific organization established by the UK government to provide a national focus for promoting, developing and implementing the 3Rs in animal research and testing. Working closely with scientists, veterinarians, animal care staff, funders and regulators, both in the UK and internationally, the NC3Rs funds research, organizes workshops and symposia, and develops information resources and guidelines.

The 3Rs funding scheme is for hypothesis-driven and applied research that will advance knowledge and application of the 3Rs and improve laboratory animal welfare. Proposals that are relevant to any area of medical, biological or veterinary research or testing can be submitted and applications that integrate a range of disciplines are invited. In 2009, up to £2.5 million will be available for research grants.

Examples of projects in this priority area that could fall under the NC3Rs remit are:

  • use of invertebrates as replacement models for vertebrate tests in toxicity screening or drug discovery

  • development/implementation of invertebrate replacements for vertebrate models of human diseases.

The NC3Rs also manages a Small Awards Scheme, run in conjunction with the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA), that provides funds of up to £2000 per application to support small-scale projects, pilot studies, exchange visits, equipment, and training in the 3Rs and laboratory animal welfare. There is one deadline per year and application is via an online submission. The next deadline for applications to this scheme is 24 October 2008.

The NC3Rs also awards an annual prize for an original contribution to scientific and technological advances in the 3Rs in medical, biological or veterinary sciences published within the last 2 years. Sponsored by GSK, the prize consists of a prize grant of £10,000, plus a personal award of £1000 to the lead author, and is part of the Centre’s commitment towards recognizing and rewarding high quality UK-based research that has an impact on the use of animals in the life sciences. The deadline for submission for the 2008 prize is 7 November 2008.

Further information on these funding opportunities, including details of previously awarded grants and prizes, plus other NC3Rs activities and a 3Rs information portal can be found at