NC3Rs 2014 CRACK IT Challenges and launch event announced

The NC3Rs are launching the 2014 CRACK IT Challenges* competition at an event in central London on 12 September.

The 2014 CRACK IT Challenges competition consists of three Challenges identified jointly by the NC3Rs and Sponsors. This year the competition is funded by the NC3Rs. There are seven Sponsors (Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline, Abbvie, Sanofi, BASF, Shell and Dow Agrosciences).

The Competition

CRACK IT Challenges is a milestone-driven funding competition from the NC3Rs which is designed to:

Minimise the use of animals in research. 

Support the development of marketable products and/or improved business processes.

 The Challenges

This year there are three Challenges:

         Neuratect : Development of high-throughput in vitro models to better predict CNS safety liabilities (Sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, BASF, Sanofi, and Abbvie)

         Targeting Off-Targets : Off-target chemical-receptor interactions (sponsored by Unilever and Dow Agrosciences)

         QSARs Mix : Computer based prediction using structural alerts to assess toxicity endpoints (Sponsored by Shell)


The Challenges are detailed in the Challenge briefs which include a description of the problem to be solved, the 3Rs benefits, the names of the Sponsors and the nature of their proposed in-kind contributions, the notional financial cost of the project (the sum to be awarded by the NC3Rs), the potential timescale of the work and proposals for the organisation of the project. The Challenge briefs are available to view on the CRACK IT website.  

The total budget available across the three Challenges is 1.9 million.

Each of the three Challenges offers:


         A research contract.

         In-kind contributions such as data, compounds and expertise from Sponsors.


Launch Event

We are hosting a meeting to launch the competition in central London on 12 September 2014, providing invaluable access to potential new partners and to the Challenge Sponsors to begin the discussions necessary to put together a winning application. 

This event is free to attend but registration is essential. The deadline for registration is 5 September 2014 


The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is an independent scientific organisation, tasked by Government with supporting the UK science base through the application of the 3Rs.

The biosciences sector faces significant scientific, industrial and regulatory challenges relating to the use of animals. This provides new opportunities to engage the scientific community in developing solutions to current challenges which not only minimise animal use but also stimulate innovation. CRACK IT is a collaborative programme to support the development of marketable products that have an impact on science, business and the 3Rs.

CRACK IT includes two challenge-led funding competitions which are funded by the NC3Rs with in-kind contributions and/or co-funding from industrial or academic sponsors:

         CRACK IT Challenges : require a significant amount of funding to solve and may include research, development and validation of new prototypes and methods.


         CRACK IT Single Phase Challenges : require little or no research and development costs and primarily focus on accelerating the validation of new technologies, prototypes and methods, which are close to market.