Wellcome grants involving animal research 2019 to 2020

We support the use of animals in the research we fund if researchers can show that it is legally, ethically and scientifically justified. 

This is our analysis of Wellcome grants involving animal research between October 2019 and September 2020.

Grant analysis 

The chart below shows the percentage of grants we’ve awarded over the past five years that have involved the use of animals.

22.1% of the grants we awarded from 2019 to 2020 involved animal research.

The data fluctuates each year because the applications we receive and fund vary each year. This means it's difficult to identify underlying drivers or clear patterns in the figures.

The increase in the percentage of applications involving animals is likely due in part to the closure of several funding schemes between 2018 and 2019. These included the Vacation Scholarships, Seed funding, Small Grants in Humanities and Social Science and the Public Engagement Fund. We would not expect applications for these schemes to include animals, so the overall percentage of grants involving animals would be lower while these schemes remained open.

A graph showing the percentage of grants involving animals from 2015 to 2020. The results are 12.0% from 2015 to 2016; 15.5% from 2016 to 2017; 17.6% from 2017 to 2018; 13.6% from 2018 to 2019; and 22.1% from 2019 to 2020.

Breakdown of animals by species 

Mice are the most-used species in Wellcome-funded research, accounting for 62.6% from 2019 to 2020.

Zebrafish make up the next largest proportion (24.3%). 

A graph showing the breakdown of animals by species from 2019 to 2020. The results are mouse: 62.6%; zebrafish: 24.3%; other: 10.7%; rat: 2.1%; xenopus frog: 0.3%.

Other species include:

  • cows
  • dogs
  • fish (other)
  • goats
  • guinea pigs
  • hamsters
  • horses
  • non-human primates
  • pigs
  • sheep.

Non-human primates accounted for less than 0.1% of the animals used.

About the data 

This data is an estimation, based on the number of animals specified in grant applications.

More information 

Contact us 

If you have any questions, contact Beth Thompson