To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to contribute to the (a) development and (b) validation of human-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip technologies.
The Government actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs), which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice, and regulations on animal research.
The NC3Rs receives its core funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Since the NC3Rs was launched in 2004, it has committed £100 million in research to develop 3Rs technologies.
In addition to funding the NC3Rs, UKRI also funds a portfolio of research projects involving humans, human materials, animal models, and non-animal technologies. UKRI also encourages grant applicants, including those whose research does not involve animals but could contribute to greater reduction and replacement, to consider further opportunities to advance the 3Rs.
Between 2015-2019, the BBSRC spent over £7 million on research grants aimed at developing and applying innovative methodologies to studying human and animal physiology, including in silico approaches, organ-on-a-chip, organoid and other advanced cell culture systems.