This letter describes a level set framework for the numerical modelling of primary static recrystallization in a polycrystalline material. The topological evolution of the grain structure is simulated in two and three dimensions, based on a kinetic law relating the velocity of the boundary to the thermodynamic driving force. The adopted finite element approach is described, discussed and tested from simple to more complex configurations. The possibility to accurately describe nucleation and growth is illustrated in three dimensions. © 2008 Acta Materialia Inc.