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BBSRC Funding Opportunities. Dr Sophia Abbasi Birkbeck College, Westminster University and London Southbank University 27.01.2010. Introduction to BBSRC BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College Current Funding Opportunities.

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bbsrc funding opportunities

BBSRC Funding Opportunities

Dr Sophia Abbasi

Birkbeck College, Westminster University and London Southbank University



Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities

Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities
research councils uk
Research Councils UK
  • Strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils
  • Combined budget of £3.4 billion in 2010/11
biotechnology and biological sciences research council






Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Our Mission (Royal Charter) is:

  • to support high-classscienceandresearchtraining,andtopromoteknowledge transfer
  • in support of bio-basedindustriesandpublicengagementinbioscience.

BBSRC funding totals around £450M p.a. (09/10)


Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities
cross government grand challenges
Cross-Government Grand Challenges
  • Environmental Change
    • Food Security
    • Bioenergy
  • The Science of Life
    • Healthy Ageing
    • Diet and Health
  • Tools and technologies, including software
    • Importance of new techniques
    • Virtualisation of science
    • Distributed information and modelling
delivery of multidisciplinary cross council programmes
Delivery of Multidisciplinary Cross-Council Programmes
  • Food Security
  • Bioenergy
  • Living with Environmental Change
  • Ageing
  • Global Threats to Security
  • Bio-nanotechnology
  • (Digital Economy)
bbsrc strategic planning documents
BBSRC Strategic Planning Documents

10 years

5 years

3 years


Practical delivery

bbsrc priorities
BBSRC Priorities
  • Restructured to enable Excellence with Impact
  • Historically, multiple priorities covering everything
  • Now fewer priorities
  • BBSRC-wide priorities
bbsrc strategy





BBSRC Strategy

Membership and Agenda for Strategy Advisory Board and Strategy Panels are on the BBSRC website

Strategy Advisory Board

and Strategy Panels

bbsrc priorities 2008 2011
Research Priorities

Ageing Research: Lifelong Health and Wellbeing

Animal Health


Crop Science (Food Security)

Global Security

Living with Environmental Change

Nanoscience Through Engineering to Application: Bionanotechnology

Synthetic Biology

Systems Approach to Biological Research

Technology Development for Bioscience

Policy Priorities

Economic and Social Impact

Impact on Public Policy

Increased International Collaboration

Replacement, Refinement and Reduction (3Rs) in Research Using Animals

Welfare of Managed Animals (including Livestock and Companion Animals)

BBSRC Priorities 2008-2011

Details of all these are

on the BBSRC website

food security
Food Security
  • Greater agricultural yields
  • with fewer inputs of nutrients and water
  • in the face of competing demands for land use
  • and in the face of continuing threats of diseases of both plants and animals, and with a need for microbiological and nutritional safety

“when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”

examples of bbsrc food security work
Examples of BBSRC Food Security Work
  • Rinderpest
    • Close to global eradication
    • estimated to benefit Africa by over $1 billion annually
  • Striga (Witchweed)
    • BBSRC research has lead to management and reduction of striga weed
  • BBSRC Bioenergy Review 2006
  • Centre for Sustainable Bioenergy Research (launched in 2009)
  • Multi-disciplinary and systems approaches
  • International collaboration through SysMo


New Biofuel?

Courtesy of Nigel Minton

systems biology
Systems Biology
  • Emerging research area
  • Predictive models of biological systems (pathways, cells, organs, organisms, ecosystems)
  • Iterative cycles of modelling (dry) and biological (wet) experiments
  • 6 BBSRC Centres established (2005/06) and 6 SABR grants (2006/07)
  • International collaboration
    • ERASysBio (11 EU partners)
    • BBSRC:ANR (Fr)
technology development for the biosciences
Technology Development for the Biosciences
  • Need for improved technology from bioscience community
  • Multi-disciplinary (biosciences, physics, chemistry, engineering, computer sciences)
  • Engagement with industry, potential for spin-out
synthetic biology
Synthetic Biology
  • Emerging area at intersection of biosciences and engineering
  • BBSRC-led UK Research Councils initiative to form networks to address Science and Engineering, Ethical, Legal, Societal Impacts
  • Need to form interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary partnerships
  • European Union – Transnational Roadmap for Synthetic Biology
excellence with impact
Excellence with Impact
  • What do we mean?
  • Excellent science
  • Strategic focus
  • Capturing outputs
  • Demonstrate benefit
examples of high impact projects
Examples of high impact projects

Bluetongue research at BBSRC’s Institute

for Animal Health saves £485M in 2008

through prevention of outbreaks, and

protected 10,000 jobs

Tools and models which reduce leaching of nitrate from farmland by 38%

Food safety: improving techniques to chill foods; extended shelf life; reduced food poisoning contribute > £100M pa to the economy

key messages
Key Messages

Responsive Mode will be the major vehicle to deliver our priorities

We need to deliver more inter-disciplinary and strategically focussed science with greater impact

We must deliver excellence science with demonstrable impacts


Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities
responsive mode must deliver
Responsive Mode Must Deliver:
  • Higher impacts
  • Strategic priorities
  • Interdisciplinary science
  • Grants of all sizes e.g. LoLas
  • Needed to refresh old system to deliver this
to clarify
To Clarify
  • If there is no hypothesis it can be fundable
  • Applied research can be excellent research
  • We fund technology, resources and databases

This has not changed

Responsive Mode Research

Fundamental Research

Blue Skies Research



research committees

animal welfare

basic microbiology

animal physiology

applied plant science

soil science

diet & health

basic plant science

evolutionary biology



agricultural systems

animal disease

applied microbiology

population biology

crop science

genome analysis

food borne pathogens


environmental change







Stem Cells

developmental biology






molecular biology

mathematical tools

for biology

cell cycle

synthetic biology

metabolic engineering

structural biology

food technology







drug delivery

chemical biology

tissue engineering



biological chemistry

gene action & regulation


bioinformatic tools


cell biology


methods development



Research Committees

A: Animal Systems, Health & Wellbeing

B: Plants, Microbes, Food & Sustainability

D: Molecules, Cells & Industrial Biotechnology

C: Technological & Methodological Development

new flexible membership






New Flexible Membership
  • To serve on BBSRC Committees
    • Check BBSRC website
    • subscribe to our monthly alert for opportunities to apply
criteria for peer review
Criteria for Peer Review




& Social





Scientific Excellence

Economic and Social Impact

Cost Effectiveness

Investment in People & Skills

Timeliness and Promise

Industrial/Stakeholder Relevance

Relevance to BBSRC Strategy

the peer review principles

Application via JeS

Assessment by Referees

Response to Referees

Assessment by Committee


The Peer Review Principles
committee input into strategy


Strategy Advisory Board

Strategy Panels

Committee Input into Strategy


Responsive Mode Proposals


Reported Outputs

Evidenced Based Input

Strategy Development

responsive mode schemes
Responsive Mode Schemes
  • New Investigator Award
    • early-career researchers
  • Industrial Partnership Award
    • must have at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project (cash only)
  • Applications in these schemes receive an uplift in the rankings - significant increase in likelihood of funding
strategic lolas
Strategic LoLas
  • Run on an annual call
  • Applications must be over £2M and up to 5 years in duration
  • Support research projects requiring "big" science approaches: longer timescales, intensive resources or multidisciplinary approach
  • 2 stage application process via Je-S
    • Outline (CLOSING DATE 10 MARCH)
    • Full proposal
  • All applications must address BBSRC's strategic priority areas
    • Ensure scientific excellence
    • Focus on the impact and quality of the research team
simple pre submission checks
Simple pre-submission checks
  • Is your Institution eligible?
  • Is the research within BBSRC’s remit?
  • Which research committee?
  • Is it a resubmission?
  • Are the PI/ Co-Is eligible?
  • Has all the paperwork been done and submitted correctly?
  • Are the fEC costs correctly inputted to the form?
make the case properly
Make the case properly
  • A worthwhile and reasoned aim: what, why, how
  • Appropriate, measurable, achievable objectives with realistic timelines
  • Well-written, concise & well-presented
  • Supported: evidence of skills, knowledge, preliminary data etc
  • Risks and contingencies
  • Context: awareness/appreciation of current activity
  • Justify costs, related to case. Get the costs checked – appropriate admin help needed
  • Think about impacts: say what will be done to address them - links and contacts
help is at hand
Help is at Hand
  • Talk to us:
    • Prior to submission - submit 1-2 page research summary
    • After submission - read the feedback
  • Help the Office by:
    • Explaining your science (to intelligent non-experts)
    • Peer reviewing (refereeing) when asked
    • Reading the Je-S guidance notes and BBSRC grants guide
    • Treating the Office staff with respect

Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities
bbsrc funding at birkbeck college
BBSRC funding at Birkbeck College
  • Total number of live BBSRC grants = 10
  • Value of BBSRC grants = £2.7M
  • Overall HEI success rate =21%

Introduction to BBSRC

  • BBSRC’s Strategy and Priorities
  • BBSRC Grant Funding and Peer Review
  • BBSRC Funding at Birkbeck College
  • Current Funding Opportunities
application closing dates
Application Closing dates
  • Responsive Mode
    • 14 April 2010
    • 14 July 2010
  • Strategic LoLas Outlines
    • 10 MARCH 2010
  • Fellowships
    • Next call announced soon
  • Studentships
    • Next call announced soon
  • International Schemes
    • Next call September 2010
  • Business and Innovation Schemes
    • See Donald’s talk
highlight notices
Highlight Notices
  • Will Deliver Timely Strategic Focus
  • Relate to BBSRC Strategic Aims
  • Time-limited
  • Focused
systematics taxonomy syntax scheme
Systematics & Taxonomy (SynTax) Scheme
  • BBSRC & NERC committing £250k per year for research with a substantial systematics/ taxonomy component
  • Additional £20k Defra funding available for applications focusing on UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species
  • Further Information/to apply: Systematics Association website [Awards] –
  • Closing Date: 31 January 2010
useful email contacts
Useful email contacts
  • BBSRC remit queries
  • Specific queries about grant applications:
    • Research Committee A
    • Research Committee B
    • Research Committee C
    • Research Committee D
  • Help with JeS
  • Details on Science Outreach Visits
  • Sophia Abbasi