Animal Free Research UK research funding

The power of human-specific research

We award research funding to accelerate the development and wider adoption of animal-free technologies to improve medical research for the good of patients, science, and animals.

What do we fund?


We award research funding to accelerate the development and wider adoption of animal-free technologies to improve medical research for the good of patients, science and animals.


Research funding is awarded to scientists in universities, hospitals and research organisations in the UK and beyond, following a rigorous and independent peer-reviewed selection procedure. We also support collaborations between academia and industry or biotech.


Research that requires or involves the use of animals in any way, even though the ultimate aim may be to replace their use, will not be funded.


Relevant scientific approaches may include the development of new approach methodologies (NAMs) such as organ-on-chips and human-derived organoids, as well as the use of human volunteers, human tissues or cells, microorganisms, and computer-based or in silico approaches such as artificial intelligence, deep learning and big data, meta-analysis or systematic reviews.


We currently offer two types of funding:


  1. Animal-free pilot grants: Funding for research using established animal-free methodologies to generate initial and proof-of-concept data.
  2. Transition grants: Funding for the specific purpose of transitioning from methodologies using animal-derived biomaterials to animal-free alternatives, as an entire project or as part of a wider project.

All the projects that we fund have the potential to gain further insight into the utility of NAMs and advance their development, validation and application as replacements for current animal experiments. Only research that is directly relevant to biomedical research and human health is funded by Animal Free Research UK.


We define the term ‘animal’ as including all organisms of the Kingdom Animalia (excluding Humans), not only the animals who are protected under the Animals in Scientific Procedures Act 1986.


You can view the research funding that we have previously funded on our active projectscompleted projects or active pilot study projects pages.


Open grant calls

No Grants Open Currently

Animal-derived biomaterials statement

Animal-derived biomaterials are consumables used for many applications in biomedical research, from in vitro cell culture to disease diagnosis in the clinic.


In addition to ethical and environmental concerns about the production of foetal bovine serum (also called FBS or foetal calf serum, FCS), animal-derived antibodies and other animal-derived biomaterials, there are real scientific concerns about the reproducibility and reliability of data generated using these products. Despite numerous studies highlighting problems associated with animal-derived biomaterial use, a large majority of researchers still use them.


We appreciate that it is essential for scientists to validate their tools before moving forward with their experiments and to make sure they are reliable. To help modern science move in the right direction for the greater benefit of patients, Animal Free Research UK supports researchers in (1) recognising the need to change their tools, and (2) embracing the vast number of animal-free products now available.


Animal Free Research UK supports a number of tools to help facilitate the change to animal-free research, such as the NAMs Interface and the FCS-free database.


We always require robust scientific justification from scientists for approval of temporary and limited animal-derived biomaterial use to support the transition to fully animal free research.  


Grants we award may never be used to fund the purchase of any animal-derived biomaterials used, funding for which must be sourced elsewhere.


For queries relating to our grants, please contact

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Closed grant calls


Animal Free Research UK launched a Rapid Response Grant Call to explore new ideas in animal free research that directly related to ongoing COVID-19 Research. (Deadline 11 May 2020)

PhD & Postdoc Grants

PhD and Postdoctoral research associate funding. (Deadline 2 August 2019)

Pilot & Transition Grants

Animal Free Research UK is awarding innovative pilot and transition grants to accelerate the development and wider adoption of animal-free technologies. Deadline to apply – 19th April 2024

Pilot Study Grants

Applications for our 2022 call for Pilot Study research projects have now closed (6 May 2022)