CRACK IT challenge 47: aTRACKtive

This Challenge aims to develop non-invasive, non-toxic methods for mouse identification from birth that can be automatically tracked and monitored in home cages.

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Up to £100k to the winner(s), for a project lasting up to 18 months



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NC3RS is the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction (the “3 Rs”) of the use of animals in scientific research.

Funding of £4M is available through their 2023 CRACK IT Challenges competition to solve four Challenges, providing academics and SMEs based in the UK and Europe with the opportunity to deliver scientific and 3Rs benefits through the development and commercialisation of 3Rs products and services that are tailored to end-user needs.

Challenge 47 – aTRACKtive: Improved in vivo identification system for real-time, early-life individualised tracking and behavioural and welfare analysis in mice.

Background: Identification of individual group-housed mice is crucial for assessing their welfare and understanding their behaviour and social interactions. Current methods can only identify individual mice effectively and humanely after two weeks of age meaning that neonatal welfare cannot be readily assessed, and valuable data is not collected.

Challenge aim: To develop a non-invasive and non-toxic system for mouse identification from birth that are amenable to automated tracking technology and home cage monitoring.

3Rs benefits: Delivery of a system that enables mice to be identified and longitudinally tracked from birth could lead to a reduction in the number of animals required to explore neonatal development of animals with different genotypes. It will also enable the identification and understanding of new welfare issues during development so that interventions to improve welfare can be tailored accordingly.

This Challenge is sponsored by MRC Harwell and the National Mouse Genetics Network members Cardiff University and King’s College London. Applicants from the same organisation(s) as the Sponsors are not eligible to apply.

The competition is open to any UK or European body, public or private. Applications can be from single organisations or investigators or from consortia. The lead applicant must be UK or European based (country in EU, EEA or EFTA).

Budget information: up to £100K for a project of up to 18 months

Read further background details on the challenge, including the full brief and technical requirements.

Register for the aTRACKtive launch webinar on Thursday 7 September 2023, 14.00 – 15.15 (BST)

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