Targeted Call 2023: Advancing responsibility: Reducing Surplus Animals and Promoting Change


Surplus animals in research refer to animals that are no longer needed for a particular scientific study or experiment. Surplus may arise for several reasons:

- As a result of breeding combinations with unsuitable genotypes for use  in the planned scientific experimentation.

- A research study may require a specific age, sex, or litter size and as a result only a portion of bred animals are used.

- Breeding programmes needed to ensure a constant supply of animals for long-term studies.

- Samples size requirements may be lower than initially planned, or certain parts of projects are no longer conducted as planned.

While scientists strive to anticipate and mitigate surplus animals, effectively addressing this dilemma remains a challenging task. Additional measures must be developed to diminish the occurrence of surplus animals, as well as strategies for how to deal with it in an ethical manner when unavoidable.

Objective of the call

The purpose of this call is to develop more effective approaches to addressing surplus issues globally, reducing surplus and enhancing the ethical use of animals in research. Therefore, we invite researchers to submit proposals aimed at developing innovative strategies to tackle the issue of animal surplus effectively.              

Projects should seek a strong focus on broad implementation and communication / dissemination of the results.

Research Areas of Interest

We encourage submissions in the following areas (but not limited to):

  • Genetic Optimization: Developing genetic models and breeding programs that minimize the likelihood of producing animals with undesirable genotypes, thereby reducing surplus.

  • Improved Experimental Design: Investigating innovative experimental designs that require fewer animals while still maintaining statistical power and scientific rigor, thus requiring fewer animals overall.

  • Refinement of Reproductive Techniques: Exploring novel reproductive technologies that enable precise control over breeding outcomes, allowing to produce animals with desired traits and reducing surplus.

  • Ethical Considerations and Animal Welfare: Examining the ethical implications associated with animal surplus and proposing strategies to ensure the welfare and well-being of surplus animals during their lives.

Funding and Eligibility

Researchers from academic institutions and research organisations are invited to apply for funding. Collaborative projects and interdisciplinary approaches are highly encouraged, as are cross-sector collaborations with industry. Grant sizes typically lie between 230’000 and 460’000, but will depend on the scope and quality of the proposed research. We strongly encourage the applicants to calculate realistic budgets to complete the project, and not simply indicate the maximum amount of funding. The grants may last up to 4 years, but there is no minimum duration.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit your research proposal following the guidelines provided on our grant application portal Proposals should include a clear research plan, methodology, expected outcomes, and 3Rs impact on reducing animal surplus issues. 


  • Outline proposal submission deadline:          October 31st 2023

  • Evaluation period of outline proposals:         November -December 2023

  • Invitation to submit full proposal:                  January 2024

  • Development of full proposal:                        Mid-January – February 28th 2024

  • Evaluation period of full proposals:                March - May 2024

  • Notification of selection:                                 End of May 2024

View information on the Targeted Call 2022 here.