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University Biomedical Services (UBS)


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August 2021


Read the latest issue of Tech3Rs

This quarter’s edition of our newsletter for animal technicians is now available online. In this issue we introduce our new online Evaluating environmental enrichment resource, look at technologies that facilitate social housing of animals during drug development, and speak to two 3Rs champions about the refinements they have introduced in their facilities.

Read and download Tech3Rs


Front page of August 2021 edition of Tech3Rs

Visit our new animal-free in vitro technologies resource

If you are an in vitro researcher, our latest online resource can help you move to animal-free options with confidence, providing all the information you need to make the switch for more reproducible and reliable experiments. The resource covers alternatives to animal-derived antibodies, culture media and scaffolds, sharing the benefits of animal-free technologies, case studies, lists of suppliers and more.

Explore the resource


Icons representing the topics of the animal-free in vitro resource: antibodies, culture media, scaffolds and further resources

Interested in helping us promote replacement technologies?

We are currently recruiting a Programme Manager for Replacement Technologies to facilitate an increase in the availability and use of approaches that replace in vivo studies in academia and industry. If you have post-doctoral experience, ideally in using replacement technologies, and a demonstrable commitment to the 3Rs, the deadline to apply for this new role is Thursday 2 September.

Learn more and apply


Join the NC3Rs team

The forced swim test is not a regulatory requirement for the development of new antidepressants

A new paper co-authored by staff at the NC3Rs and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has clarified that use of the forced swim test is not required by regulators to demonstrate the efficacy of antidepressants. As well as calling for further research into the development of alternative approaches, the paper explores the 3Rs and scientific rationale for avoiding the use of this test.

Learn more


White mouse looking out of its nest

Download print-ready grimace scales and mouse handling posters

While we are currently unable to post hard copies of our posters, we have made PDFs in several languages available for download from our website. These should be printed professionally according to the instructions attached to each poster.

Download mouse, rabbit and rat grimace scales

Download non-aversive mouse handling posters


The mouse handling poster and grimace scales for mice, rabbits and rats

Survey deadline extended: help us understand 3Rs opportunities and barriers in biologicals testing

If you are involved in the quality control and batch/lot release testing of biological products, we have extended the deadline for you to share your experiences of implementing 3Rs and non-animal approaches within these tests. Please take 30 minutes to fill in our survey by Friday 24 September and help inform the recommendations we make as part of our collaboration with the WHO on the wider integration of 3Rs approaches within their guidelines.

Complete the survey


Needle in vial of vaccine

"3 Minute 3Rs" podcastLatest news from the NC3Rs10 years of CRACK IT

Apply to solve this year’s CRACK IT Challenges

This year we are launching two CRACK IT Challenges tackling areas of significant scientific need and 3Rs potential. Virtual Second Species, our first ever Mega-Challenge, will aim to develop virtual dog tissues and organs to model toxicological endpoints for new medicines. The Innovative Safety Assessment of Fish adverse Effects (SAFE) Challenge will focus on developing scalable bioassays for key adverse outcome pathways to replace in vivo fish studies in chemical safety screening and regulatory environmental risk assessment.

Learn more


Composite image of an abstract network and zebrafish in a tank, representing the 2021 Challenges.

If you are planning to apply to solve one of this year’s Challenges, don’t miss our briefing webinars, where you will be able to find out more and ask the CRACK IT team and Challenge Sponsors any questions you may have.

Register for the SAFE webinar on Tuesday 7 September

Register for the Virtual Second Species webinar on Thursday 9 September

Register: 10 years of CRACK IT webinar: 3D retinal organoids – a vision of the future

Wednesday 15 September, 3-4pm (BST)

Continuing our “Ten years of CRACK IT” webinar series, this webinar will showcase the technology developed to address the 2016 Retinal 3D CRACK IT Challenge, which focused on creating a predictive and physiologically competent human 3D retinal cell model. During the webinar, you will hear from one of the developers of the retinal organoids and an industry end-user whose work has benefitted from the technology.

Register now


Stylised image of a retina, with "CRACK IT 10: ten years of innovation" on top of it

Could you be our next Training Fellow?

Our Training Fellowships support the development of researchers with less than three years’ post-doctoral experience, helping them develop new skills and gain experience to establish their independent research careers with a focus on the 3Rs. Submit your application for this year’s scheme via Je-S by Thursday 9 September.

Learn more and apply


2020 Training Fellowship scheme

Prospective applicants to this year’s scheme are encouraged to watch the recording of our webinar from Thursday 29 July, which provides further information and guidance on the application process.

Watch the webinar recording


NC3Rs/IAT Animal Technicians’ Symposium 2021

Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 October

The NC3Rs and IAT are hosting an online symposium over two consecutive half-days, aimed primarily at junior technicians. This event will showcase the latest approaches to improving the welfare of laboratory animals and opportunities to refine their care and use. Topics will include handling, breeding and genotyping, and the symposium will also feature a panel discussion led by experts in animal technology with a track record in promoting animal welfare and the 3Rs.

Don’t miss out – reserve your place by Sunday 10 October. Attendees will receive three IAT CPD credits for each half-day attended.

Register now


Animal technician inspecting brown mouse

Register: Virtual demonstrations of the Experimental Design Assistant

Tuesday 14 September, 4-5pm (BST)
Wednesday 10 November, 9-10am (GMT)

Dr Esther Pearl (NC3Rs) will give a live demonstration of the Experimental Design Assistant, online software to help researchers design robust in vivo experiments that are more likely to give reproducible results. It will be relevant to anyone involved in planning and designing experiments or teaching experimental design.

Attendee numbers are limited to enable a more interactive question and answer session. These workshops have proven very popular so register early to avoid disappointment, and keep an eye on future newsletters or our dedicated webpage for details of future demonstrations.

Register now


Webinar: Best Practice in Experimental Design

Recording: 3Rs self-assessment tools for research groups and institutions

In this webinar, Dr Jessica Eddy (NC3Rs) presents an overview of our new 3Rs self-assessment tools, which can help research groups and institutions assess and strengthen their 3Rs culture. The webinar provides guidance on how to complete a self-assessment using these free-to-use, secure, interactive tools so you can benchmark your 3Rs activities over time and identify new 3Rs opportunities. It is relevant for in vivo researchers, ethics committees and those involved in overseeing animal research within universities and other academic, research-intensive organisations.

Watch the webinar recording


3Rs self-assessment tool icon


Are you a technician who has gone above and beyond this year?

The Andrew Blake Tribute Award is presented annually to an animal technician who has made a significant contribution to improving laboratory animal welfare. This year's award is now open for applications. If you are an animal technician and you or your team have improved animal care and welfare in your facility during the last twelve months, make sure you submit your application before Thursday 30 September.

Learn more and apply


IAT logo

FRAME proof of principle funding available for innovative ideas in bioscience

FRAME has launched a new scheme providing small grants to enable scientists to explore new ideas and generate proof of principle, with the aim of supporting future applications for larger grants. Submissions should focus on replacement methods that increase human relevance – the deadline to apply is Tuesday 14 September.

Learn more and apply


FRAME logo