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Neurodegenerative Diseases Innovative Pilot Grants

Neurodegenerative Diseases Innovative Pilot Grants

A recent scientific publication co-authored by Animal Free Research UK’s Science Director, Dr Jarrod Bailey, highlighted the potential of New Approach Methodologies to advance Parkinson’s Disease (PD) research. To build on this, Animal Free Research UK is now calling for proposals for up to £25k for Innovative Pilot Grant(s) on Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative diseases. This will hopefully contribute to the evidence base for the greater relevance of human-focused methods, and help researchers access further and greater funding to enable their studies.  


A great deal of research on neurological disorders has been – and is still – conducted on animals including mice, dogs, pigs, and monkeys, even though none of them naturally get these kinds of diseases. In the UK only, about 200 000 scientific procedures are conducted for basic research and about 50 000 for applied research on the nervous system every year. These figures have unfortunately not decreased over the past decade.  

Despite extensive research, there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and the standard non-curative drug levodopa was approved around 50 years ago and is associated with serious side effects and efficacy issues. The ability to stop, prevent or mitigate progression in PD remains the “holy grail” in PD science at the present time. In addition, there is a reported 99.6% failure rate for Alzheimer’s disease drugs in clinical trials, with only five drugs (and two with FDA Accelerated Approval) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is therefore an urgent need to transform research in neurogenerative disorders by developing more appropriate and relevant human-focused methods.     

Our Innovation Pilot Studies give researchers an opportunity to practise ‘blue-sky thinking, and to research new concepts that might merit further development with the goal of benefiting patients with non-curable neurodegenerative disorders such as PD. 

Grant Details 

  • Budget: from £5k to £25k. 
  • Duration:  from 6 months to 2 years.  

Eligibility and Requirements 

drug-induced liver injury

This grant is for PD researchers and neuroscientists from academia or industry who are willing to develop/ improve their non-animal, human-relevant models to study neurodegenerative diseases. 

  • The project should be in the field of neurology.  
  • It should aim to develop a humanised model. 
  • And/ or it should provide evidence about the validity and predictive nature of a new humanised model. 
  • Non-UK based researchers are welcome to apply. 
  • The project should be totally animal-free. 
  • The project should align with our Animal-derived biomaterials statement  


Grant Selection Criteria 

  • Feasibility of proposed research 
  • Probability for widespread adoption of proposed research workflow by other labs 
  • Merit of proposed research to the broader scientific community 

Reviewed proposals with reviewers’ comments will not be returned to applicants unless requested. 

How to apply 


Once your application is ready, please send the documents to The deadline for applications is 31st October 2023.