Programme Manager – In Vitro Research (NC3Rs 2297)

Medical Research Council

View Vacancy — Programme Manager – In Vitro Research (NC3Rs 2297)
Open Date
20/11/2023, 10:00
Close Date
08/01/2024, 23:55


Science-led and evidence-based, the NC3Rs is the UK’s national organisation for the 3Rs, established in 2004 to accelerate the development and uptake of approaches that replace, reduce or refine the use of animals in research and testing. The NC3Rs has earned a reputation nationally and internationally for scientific excellence, demonstrating that the 3Rs deliver benefits for animal welfare and new knowledge for improving human and animal health, protecting the environment and generating business opportunities.

The NC3Rs is primarily funded by Government. It has an annual budget of approximately £10.5M. Activities are divided between its role as the UK’s major funder of 3Rs research and innovation, and its science programmes led by its own staff. Further information can be found at .

Reducing the number of animals wasted in experiments that are not designed, analysed or reported adequately is key to the NC3Rs mission. To deliver this the NC3Rs has long-standing programme of work focusing on improving the design of animal and in vitro experiments to ensure that studies are reliable and reproducible, and they are reported in sufficient detail to contribute to the knowledge base. This helps to avoid the unnecessary use of animals and accelerates the development and uptake of credible in vitro models that can reduce or replace animal use.

The Programme Manager role is part of a small team of four scientists (including this role) led by the Head of Experimental Design and Reporting. Key outputs of the programme include the online Experimental Design Assistant (EDA), the ARRIVE guidelines for reporting of animal research, and the RIVER recommendations for the reporting of in vitro research. The team operates as a dynamic and agile group, working collaboratively as well as individually on specific projects to improve the rigour and reliability of animal and in vitro research within the UK and the international research community.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found

MRC – 3


£41,116 (plus London allowances if applicable)



Full Time

The primary purpose of the Programme Manager – In Vitro Research role is to identify opportunities to improve the reliability and reproducibility of in vitro research and help embed best practice; this applies to research funded in the UK and internationally. There are four key themes that the Programme Manager will work across.

  • Developing strategies and guidance to increase the reliability and generalisability of in vitro experiments : This includes identifying key issues to tackle and developing resources (e.g. the equivalent of an EDA for in vitro research) to help researchers improve current standards.
  • Improving the reporting of in vitro experiments : This includes finalising and promoting the RIVER recommendations and building awareness across the research community of the need to improve the quality of the design and reporting of in vitro
  • Providing experimental design information and training : This includes hosting workshops and developing materials and online resources for various target audiences in the UK and abroad.
  • Building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders : This includes collaborations with journals, funders, learned societies, regulators and ethical review committees and other professional bodies as well as engagement with research integrity and open science networks.

Main duties

  • Finalising the RIVER recommendations, including leading user testing of the preprint manuscript, and developing a dissemination strategy to promote the implementation of the recommendations by different stakeholders.
  • Producing guidance, training materials and online resources for a range of audiences, for example on sample size determination and identifying the biological and experimental unit for in vitro.
  • Running training events and workshops to promote best practice in the experimental design and reporting of in vitro research and where appropriate of animal research, as part of the remit of the Experimental Design and Reporting team.
  • Providing expert advice on opportunities to improve the design and reporting of in vitro research, for example, reviewing grant proposals and manuscripts for the NC3Rs gateway.
  • Evaluating the impact of programme activities in delivering the NC3Rs mission.
  • Carrying out other NC3Rs duties/projects that may be required of the post, including supporting other work in the experimental design and reporting team.

  • Relevant post-graduate degree or demonstrable equivalent experience (e.g. expertise in statistics or experimental design).
  • Experience in in vitro research and a comprehensive understanding of the use of animals in research.
  • A demonstrable commitment to the 3Rs is essential.
  • Engaging presentation skills with the ability to communicate clearly (in writing and verbally), negotiating and influencing external stakeholders at a variety of levels and on sensitive topics.
  • Ability to assimilate and distil complex information from a range of disciplines and provide authoritative and effective advice and support.
  • Excellent organisational skills, with an ability to plan, prioritise, and progress multiple projects at the same time, with a high attention to detail.
  • Effective collaborator and team player, actively establishing excellent working relationships (internally and externally) and networks to enhance work output and achieve impact.
  • Strong problem-solving and project management skills, including the ability to show initiative, cope with ambiguity, and operate in an evolving environment.

The In Vitro Research Programme Manager will report to Dr Nathalie Percie du Sert, Head of Experimental Design and Reporting.  Salary will be in the range of £41,116 – £47,743 annum (plus London allowances if applicable) depending on skills and experience.

Based anywhere in the UK, this will be a hybrid role working from home and requiring regular travel to institutions across the UK and the NC3Rs London office.

The successful candidate will be subject to security checks.

The closing date for applications is 8 January 2024.

Please ensure to submit a CV and covering letter. Your cover letter should clearly outline how you fulfill the criteria listed in the personal specification and your motivation for applying for this role.

Please note failure to address the criteria or submit a covering letter may result in your application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV.

Interviews are likely to take place in mid-January 2024.

The NC3Rs is an autonomous body responsible for setting and delivering its strategy and managing its resources. It is not an independent public bodyand for this reason it operates under the umbrella of the Medical Research Council (MRC), using some of the MRC administrative systems. A service agreement exists between the NC3Rs and the MRC. NC3Rs staff are appointed to the appropriate MRC Band and immediately seconded to the NC3Rs.
Choosing to come to work at the NC3Rs (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the NC3Rs and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As”Disability Confident” employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.  The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

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