UNSW grants awarded to projects promoting the 3Rs in research

04 Mar 2024
Recipients of the 3R Grant Scheme

Five projects received a total of $495,377 in the 2024 3Rs Grants round.

The funding will advance research into the world’s first soft robotic artificial heart, endometrial cancer treatments, a bioengineered cornea, a synthetic alternative to Matrigel (a commercial membrane matrix extracted from mouse sarcomas), and non-invasive methods for identifying and monitoring the welfare of wild wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos.

The UNSW 3Rs grant scheme, established in 2019, supports science-based projects that advance the 3Rs principles for research with animals: 

  • replacement of animals with other methods or with less sentient organisms
  • reduction in the number of animals used to achieve outcomes
  • refinement of techniques used to minimise the adverse impact on animals. 

The 3Rs are referenced in the Governing Principles of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes. 

The 2024 round supported projects of up to $100,000 and 18-months duration (from December 2023 to June 2025). The scheme is managed by the Animal Services unit within the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Infrastructure portfolio. 

“The grant scheme demonstrates the value UNSW places on prioritising animal welfare and on promoting the 3Rs. We are pleased to be able to support UNSW researchers whose work has the potential to advance best practice and make a positive impact,” says Professor Grainne Moran, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Infrastructure.

“The 3Rs scheme stands out as the most generous of its kind on a national scale. In this round we provide support for projects that develop innovative methods to investigate human disease without reliance on animals, and that reduce impact on animals in wildlife research,” says Karen Brennan, Director of Animal Services. 

“I would like to congratulate the five successful applicants, as well as acknowledge the many excellent submissions we received who were not selected in this competitive round. We are excited to see the 3Rs developments that emerge from investing in these ideas.”

Recipients of the 2024 grants

Five projects were funded in 2024. You can read the project summaries on the 3Rs Grant Scheme website. 

Soft robotic artificial heart capable of reproducing myocardial biomechanics ($99,305)
Chief Investigator: Dr Thanh Nho Do, UNSW Engineering

Enabling a precision medicine approach to endometrial cancer treatment via patient-derived organoid models ($97,118)
Chief Investigator: Dr Dongli Liu, UNSW Medicine & Health

A chemically defined alternative to Matrigel ($99,369)
Chief Investigator: Scientia Associate Professor Kristopher A. Kilian, UNSW Science

A 3-dimentional bioengineered organ-cultured mammalian cornea to study pathophysiological mechanisms in a dish ($99,585)
Professor Nick Di Girolamo, UNSW Medicine & Health

New methods for non-invasive individual identification and welfare monitoring of wild macropods (wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos) ($100,000)
Associate Professor Terry Ord, UNSW Science

Future rounds

Applications for funding in 2025 open in Term 3. Details on the funding available and how to apply will be published on the 3Rs Grant Scheme website closer to that time.