The UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has launched a labelling initiative to quantify the ‘potential 3Rs impact’ of projects funded by the Centre.

Developed as a graphic to accompany communications on scientific activities supported by the NC3Rs, the label will include information on the number of animals and species to benefit from the work; the sector it applies to; the scientific discipline involved; and whether the main focus of the work is to replace animals with an alternative method, reduce the number of animals used, or benefit animal welfare.

The initiative will be rolled out during 2014 across NC3Rs activities, which include research grants, studentships and fellowships as well the Centre’s collaborative data-sharing programmes with industry and academia.

The first labels accompany case-studies in the NC3Rs’ 2013 Research Review publication, which was launched yesterday at an event in London.

The Centre is also launching four films on its new YouTube channel (, in which NC3Rs-funded researchers describe their work and its potential impact.

Evaluation framework

The labelling initiative follows the development of the Centre’s first-ever 3Rs Evaluation Framework.

Published in July 2012, the Framework enables the NC3Rs to gauge the actual impact of its work on the replacement, refinement and reduction of animal testing.  

 “Many NC3Rs activities will only deliver national and international 3Rs benefits in the medium-to-long term since they are dependent on the acceptance and adoption of innovative new approaches by scientists, regulators and research funders,” noted the Centre’s chief executive, Dr Vicky Robinson.

In a rapidly changing scientific landscape, predicting the potential impact of these activities at the point of awarding research funding or starting a new collaborative project is “always challenging”, Robinson commented.

“By providing a best estimate early on, we not only hope to demonstrate more openly why a particular activity is important from a 3Rs perspective, but also show how our science-led activities can benefit many millions of animals globally and encourage wider uptake.”