INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES AND SKILLS News Release issued by The
Government News Network on 7 December 2007
Funding aimed at
reducing, and ultimately replacing, the use of animals in research
will double, Science and Innovation minister, Ian Pearson, has
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction
of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) will see their funding
substantially increase over the next three years. They provide a
UK focus for the promotion, development and implementation of the
3Rs in animal research and testing.
The Centre currently receives just over £2 million per year from
the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) via
the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and
Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). However, this will
increase to just over £5 million in 2010/11.
Mr Pearson said:
"Animal research plays a vital part in medical research and
has helped save millions of human lives. Nonetheless, we should
always look for alternatives and Government is committed to the
replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research. It
is an area where we are leading the world.
"We have a proud history of animal welfare and protection in
this country and the work of the NC3Rs builds on that tradition.
This rise in funding ensures the Centre can increase not only the
research they fund but also their impact."
Dr Vicky Robinson, chief executive of the NC3Rs, said:
"We're delighted to be receiving this additional
funding between now and 2011. As a young and growing organisation,
getting strong support from Government helps to emphasise how
important our efforts to replace, refine and reduce the use of
animals in research and testing are for UK science."
"The extra money will allow the NC3Rs to further broaden its
reach in the scientific community and fund more high-quality
research to minimise the use of animals and improve their welfare
where they are still needed."
Examples of the benefits such funding can bring include the
discovery that through using tissue engineering, researchers now
have the potential to grow whole embryonic kidneys from individual
cells. This means that they won't have to be harvested from
mice and will make research aimed at growing human kidneys in the
same fashion quicker, easier and cheaper.
Notes to Editors
The NC3Rs brings together stakeholders in the 3Rs in academia,
industry, government and animal welfare organisations to
facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and the
translation of research findings into practice that will benefit
both animals and science.
It was established in 2004 in response to the report of the House
of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures
which was published in July 2002. It replaced and builds upon the
Medical Research Council's Centre for Best Practice for
Animals in Research.
Replacement is the ultimate aim for the Centre, but as long as
the use of animals continues to be necessary, every effort must be
made to minimise the numbers used and improve their welfare.
Optimal laboratory animal welfare is critical for scientific,
ethical and legal reasons.
The use of animals in medical research is key to the
understanding and treatment of human and animal disease.
Government accepts that animal experiments are currently necessary
to develop human and veterinary medicine, to protect humans and
UK, EU and US legislation requires the data on the safety,
quality and efficacy of new medicines and their potential to harm
human health and the environment to be assessed. All medicines
made available for use in the UK need to be tested in animal studies.
The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) regulates the
use of animals in scientific procedures in the UK. The principles
of the 3Rs are implict in the ASPA; all UK scientists are
therefore legally obliged to use alternatives approaches to the
use of animals where possible, to use the minimum number of
animals, and to use protocols which cause the least pain,
suffering or distress.
The NC3Rs works on three important areas:
* Providing funding and support for new 3Rs research
* Producing and disseminating information about all 3Rs
* Creating a forum for industry, academia, regulatory agencies,
and the animal protection community to work together to progress
and implement the 3Rs
Breakdown of figures:
2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11
MRC £1,815,000 £2,640,000 £3,240,000 £3,840,000
BBSRC £553,000 £828,000 £1,028,000 £1,228,000
For more information see the NC3Rs website http://www.nc3rs.org.uk