CRACK-IT scheme aims to reduce use of animals in research

Offers grants worth £4.25m to public and private sector organisations

A new ‘Dragon’s Den’-style funding scheme launched by the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is offering grants worth £4.25m for companies and researchers to develop solutions that will contribute to the reduction of the use of animals in research.

The NC3Rs has worked with sponsors including AstraZeneca, Roche and Eli Lilly to devise six challenges, each addressing a specific need in research or technology such as the development of in vitro human-cell based models; novel non-invasive measurement techniques and whole-system in vitro testing.

The CRACK-IT scheme also includes a web-based research engine for problem solving and idea sharing between small companies, academic researchers and industry.

The competition is open to all organisations in the public and private sectors.

Proposers of shortlisted projects will be invited to present their ideas at a ‘Dragons’ Den’ panel meeting. The successful bids will be announced early in 2012.

Each contract will be worth between £500,000 and £1m while the sponsoring company will provide in-kind support.