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Reducing the use of animals in research: apply for SBRI funding

Up to £2.3 million is available to UK SMEs across 3 challenges to replace, refine and reduce the use of animals.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) plus sponsors will invest in collaborative projects that address some of the challenges posed by animal experiments.

This is designed to:

  • minimise the use of animals in research
  • support the development of marketable products
  • improve business processes

Collaborations are encouraged between industry, research organisations and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

What you need to know

The centre is launching 3 challenges as part of its Crack It initiative.


This challenge aims to develop an effective data strategy and data management structure to map the developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) genes of different species. You should compare the effects of toxic compounds across species.

It is in 2 phases. There is up to £100,000 for phase 1. Phase 2 has funding of up to £1 million. Shell and Syngenta are the sponsors.

Dosing for controlled exposure (DoCE)

This challenge aims to improve dosing methods and strategies for in vitro dose-responses and to encourage their uptake, application and use in risk-based decision making. This could offer the potential to eventually replace the need for in vivo animal studies.

It is in 2 phases. There is up to £100,000 for phase 1. Phase 2 has funding of up to £1 million. Unilever and Shell are the sponsors.


In this challenge the aim is to develop a model that reliably predicts human respiratory irritation to chemicals. It should use in silico-based tools.

This is a single-phase competition. Up to £100,000 is available. The competition is sponsored by Shell.

The background

NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation that supports the UK science base to find alternative applications to the use of animals in research and improve welfare.

This competition is being run through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 11 September 2017
  • there are different deadlines depending on the competition you are applying into. These are:
    • 8 November 2017 at midday for the 2-phase DARTpaths and DoCE challenges
    • 15 November 2017 at midday for the single-phase RespiraTox challenge
  • there will be a launch event on 7 September 2017 to find out more. You will need to register for the event
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