Implementation can be defined as the bridge between an innovative approach and its wide-spread use. For many promising 3Rs approaches bridging this gap requires further research. The aim here is to fund research projects that can propose a comprehensive strategy to implement specific methods within a defined field of application in accordance with the Swiss 3RCC’s strategic goals to “change mindsets” and “promote good 3Rs practice”.

The hurdles to effective 3Rs implementation may be multifactorial and therefore we will consider any proposal that takes a particular 3Rs method closer to widespread application. Funded research could advance pre-validation or validation, investigate specific hurdles, or develop strategies that aim to put established methods into practice and disseminate these within a targeted application area.

We seek to further approaches that have a large capacity for applicability, like widely used refinement approaches and procedures (e.g. refinement of commonly used experimental procedures, or improvements to husbandry or handling), or a broad transferability where methods have a capacity to be implemented in domains beyond the specific one in which it was developed. Projects should have clearly identified the domain in which the intended method is to be applied, so to anticipate hurdles and to identify the factors necessary for successful uptake of the methods. The domain of application must be of relevance to Swiss research using animals.

Projects can explore approaches across all the 3Rs, either in isolation or combination. The implemented methods should either replace or measurably reduce the number of animals used within a specific area, academic and/or private research in Switzerland, or they should substantially reduce the stress, suffering and pain experienced by animals in experiments and in husbandries. We encourage proposals targeting research areas where high volumes of animals are currently used for research in Switzerland; namely immunology, neuroscience and oncology.

Collaborative efforts to support testing of transferability and implementability are required. For applicants seeking to pre-validate or validate existing methods, collaborations for cross-laboratory validation are a must. Collaborations with partners beyond academia – e.g. industry, regulators, policy makers – are strongly encouraged and methods with an outlook to applicability either in potential future business settings, or with a perspective to impact policy or guidelines are valued.

Proposals should thus:

  • Identify and define the model or approach as well as the area or of field of application in which the project will aim to advance implementation. The application should aim to address the hurdles and needs within this field and propose a strategy for how to successfully implement the approach throughout the wider scientific community.

  • Consider the collaborations that will be necessary to execute the strategy proposed in implementation of the identified approach or approaches.

  • What results need to be achieved for the scientific community to embrace the 3Rs-approach or method as the new gold standard? Do previous results need to be replicated? Does the model translate better to humans? Is the new model more reproducible?

  • Describe the further needs to achieve success. Will additional training be required; what sort of communication strategy is necessary? Are there special considerations for uptake of the approach within Switzerland or internationally?

Amount and duration of the grant

The Targeted Call 2022 will operate on a total funding of CHF 920’000 for a research duration of maximum four years. The total budget of an single proposal is expected to lie between CHF 230’000 and 460’000, however, figures are provided as a benchmark, and budgets below or above this range are not ruled out if the budget is sufficiently justified.

Eligibility

Applicants must have a doctorate or an equivalent qualification. For further description of eligibility criteria please refer to our Funding Guidelines.
Only one application per main applicant can be submitted. Applicants cannot at the start of the grant hold other funding from the 3RCC’s Open or Targeted Call grants.

About the process

Projects will be selected in a two-stage process. Interested researchers can submit project outlines on the 3RCC application platform until October 31st, 2022. The main applicant coordinates and submits the application through the 3RCC grant portal. Application forms will be available by Monday, 12th of September.

You can find an example template of the form here, however all applications must be completed online.

Steps and estimated timeline:

  • Submission of outline proposals – 31. October 2022.

  • Evaluation of outline proposals by the 3RCC Grant Review Panel

  • Invitation to submit full proposals – end of December 2022.

  • Submission of full proposals – February 2023.

  • International topic expert evaluation of full proposals.

  • Cumulative evaluation of full proposals by 3RCC Grant Review Panel – March 2023.

  • Final decision on funded project(s) by the 3RCC Strategic Board – April 2023.

Potential targets that may be addressed:

  • Tackling remaining questions that still prevent the full implementation of gentle handling methods at all animal facilities and research groups in Switzerland.

  • Improving, standardizing and monitoring the measure of an animal’s welfare. Comparing current assessment procedures for construct validity, reliability, and feasibility towards a gold standard of animal welfare readouts.

  • Identifying and addressing hurdles for widespread adaptation of advanced cells culture techniques (e.g. organoid or other complex cultures systems) in reducing and replacing animal experiments for a specific purpose.

  • While several fully computational models exist, what is necessary for current research groups to put these into their regular use? More user-friendly platforms? Better IT-related training? Demonstrations of model validity?