BBSRC Pool of Experts and Follow-on Fund Committee

Closing date
25 May 2022, 16:00 UK time
Outcomes communicated
Mid December 2022
Time commitment
Up to three meetings per year for the Pool of Experts and up to two meetings per year for the Follow-on Fund Committee
Number of positions
100 for the Pool of Experts and six for the Follow-on Fund Committee
Length of service
Up to three years
Member induction and training
January or February 2023 (to be confirmed)

For this opportunity, we are inviting expressions of interest to join either our:

  • Pool of Experts
  • Follow-on Fund Committee.

Peer review is a vital part of the decision making process that supports our investment in bioscience.

Members of our Pool of Experts and Follow-on Fund Committee provide expert knowledge and insight to ensure that we invest in important and high-quality research, innovation and training in the biosciences.

Through these roles, members also gain insight into the future direction of bioscience research and innovation.

As part of this programme, we aspire to better reflect the diversity and experience across the breadth of the bioscience community, spanning academia, industry and policy.

We are looking to appoint up to 100 new members to the Pool of Experts from across the remit of BBSRC. Appointments to the Pool of Experts will be for up to three years.

For our Follow-on Fund Committee, we are looking to appoint up to six new members from business and academia. Appointments to this committee will be for up to three years.

Travel and subsistence will be paid for both committees, along with an attendance fee of £170 per meeting.

Webinar

We held a webinar on 6 April 2022 for applicants to:

  • learn more about the BBSRC Pool of Experts and Follow-on Fund Committee
  • hear from a panel of experienced members.

Watch a recording of the webinar on YouTube

What are the Pool of Experts and Follow-on Fund Committee?

Pool of Experts

BBSRC’s investment decisions are underpinned by a high-quality peer review process, with applications for funding being assessed by BBSRC assessment committees and panels.

The membership of these assessment bodies is typically drawn from an appointed Pool of Experts. Members of the Pool of Experts may also be invited to participate in other activities for BBSRC, such as attending expert working groups and advisory panel meetings.

Members of the Pool of Experts are expected to make all reasonable efforts to undertake the peer review of proposals for UKRI when invited to do so, unless there is a conflict of interest or the proposal is outside their area of expertise.

Follow-on Fund

Our Follow-on Fund supports the translation of research into practical application, including commercialisation.

The aim of the programme is to help researchers maximise the societal and economic benefits of their research. The Follow-on Fund is a proof-of-concept programme to support bioscience innovation and provide funding where further work on an idea will take it through to a stage at which the route to application is clear.

This may include the creation of a spin-out company, licensing opportunity or social enterprise. The programme enables researchers to undertake technical and business development activities essential to preparing a robust business plan and to secure, where appropriate, further funding and support to progress the project.

Role requirements

Pool of Experts

As a member of the Pool of Experts, you:

  • will play a key role in delivering our mission through participating in the assessment of research grant applications and identifying the highest quality research for investment
  • will typically attend one or two assessment meetings per year, each of up to two days’ duration. At these meetings, your role is to lead on the assessment of up to 12 research grant proposals and to contribute to the assessment of other proposals, as required
  • may be invited to participate in other activities to support the work of BBSRC, for example reviewing proposals, serving on other assessment panels and participating in expert working groups.

Pool of Experts members typically serve on our research committees, A to D, leading on the assessment of our responsive mode grant applications. The research committees meet three times a year.

Pool of Experts members are required to attend an induction, which includes a simulated assessment meeting, before serving on a committee. Details will be provided to successful applicants in their appointment letter.

Pool of Experts members who are not invited to attend a panel meeting may be asked to assist with the reviewing of applications.

Follow-on Fund Committee

Committee members will be required to attend up to two meetings per year, each lasting one day.

On occasion, committee members may be asked to contribute to the assessment of other translational opportunities developed by BBSRC in response to new funding opportunities. The office aims to ensure that any ad hoc requests are distributed evenly across committee members.

See details on the Follow-on Fund Committee and most recent membership.

Who can apply

We are seeking expressions of interest from individuals who have expertise to provide robust, credible and evidence-based opinion of the merit of proposals for funding submitted to BBSRC, as described in the selection criteria.

Appointments will be made by BBSRC’s Appointments Board on the basis of individual knowledge and experience, and the need for expertise in particular research and innovation areas.

You are expected to provide evidence of:

  • your ability to use your own expertise and experience to assess the scientific excellence and strategic relevance of research
  • your skills and experience that demonstrate your ability to understand and assess the potential outputs and outcomes of research
  • outputs and contributions to your area of research or innovation, for example:
    • publications
    • patents and other intellectual property
    • software development
    • company creation or leadership
    • professional accreditation
    • involvement in collaborative research and development projects, policy or public engagement, and awards
  • presence in your community, for example:
    • invited presentations
    • talks at leading conferences in the field
    • experience of sitting on advisory boards, peer review boards or panels, and thought leadership roles.

The types of evidence required will depend on your background.

Academic applicants

Academic applicants should provide evidence of a research portfolio and competitively obtained grant funding. Typically, successful applicants will have been awarded at least one research grant in the last five years. This can include the award of a fellowship.

Non-academic applicants, including business, Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and policy professionals

Evidence should demonstrate:

  • experience in research, development or innovation with technical knowledge deployed in a business, commercial or policy environment
  • an understanding of the academic innovation and business landscape, for example:
    • through interaction with universities or institutes
    • participation in innovation networks or commercialisation accelerators.

For all roles, we expect you to be able to commit the necessary time and attention to your appointment and to have the full support or the necessary permission of your employer.

We especially welcome applications from women, those with a disability, and members of minority ethnic groups, who are currently underrepresented in the pool. Applications from business, user and government colleagues are also particularly encouraged. We are also keen to encourage applications from experts based overseas.

Pool of Experts

Candidates for the Pool of Experts are expected to evidence and demonstrate that they have sufficient expertise to offer a credible scientific opinion of the scientific merit of grant applications submitted to BBSRC.

You should be able to provide an assessment that is knowledgeable, informed and impartial. You should also be able to demonstrate your suitability through your research interest, funding track record and publications (where appropriate).

Expertise is welcome from across the whole of BBSRC’s remit.

If you have any queries, please contact the Appointments Board Secretariat by emailing research.committees@bbsrc.ukri.org.

Follow-on Fund Committee

Candidates for this committee are expected to evidence and demonstrate their experience in supporting and enabling innovation.

We are seeking applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • plant and crop science
  • drug and vaccine development and delivery
  • cell and molecular biology
  • bioinformatics.

If you have any queries, please contact the BBSRC Follow-on Fund team by emailing fof@bbsrc.ukri.org.

In the interests of ensuring fair community representation, and recognising existing Follow-on Fund Committee membership, unless there is a compelling strategic case we are unlikely to accept further appointments to the committee from:

  • Aston University
  • University of Cambridge or Cambridge Enterprise
  • University of Manchester
  • National Institute of Agricultural Botany
  • University of the West of England (Bristol)
  • Oxford University Innovation or University of Oxford
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • International Potato Center.

How to join the Pool of Experts or Follow-on Fund Committee

You can apply for one position only:

  • Pool of Experts
  • Follow-on Fund Committee.

You will need to submit an application via SurveyMonkey to apply. The survey contains the following sections:

  1. Personal information (for example, name, organisation and contact details)
  2. Diversity information, including information about career breaks and flexible working
  3. Your primary expertise areas: you should indicate up to three research and innovation areas where you offer sufficient expertise to provide credible assessment
  4. Free text sections:
    • personal statement: you should describe why you are interested in the role and what you will bring to it (maximum 200 words)
    • expertise and experience: you should describe the expertise and experience that you can offer and provide the evidence to demonstrate this.

The closing date for applications is: 25 May 2022, 16:00 UK time.

If you have any queries, please contact the Appointments Board Secretariat by emailing research.committees@bbsrc.ukri.org.

Key dates

  • call open: 30 March 2022
  • closing date: 25 May 2022, 16:00
  • assessment of applications: June to October 2022
  • Appointments Board meeting: November 2022
  • outcomes communicated: Mid December 2022
  • member induction and training: January or February 2023 (to be confirmed)

Assessment process

Expressions of interest will be reviewed initially by BBSRC staff against the criteria set out in the role descriptions. Recommendations will be made to BBSRC’s Appointments Board, which is responsible for making appointments.

BBSRC’s Appointments Board has delegated authority from the BBSRC Executive Chair and is responsible for making decisions on appointments. The Appointments Board members are representatives of the BBSRC research community.

In addition to reviewing applications against the criteria for appointment, the Appointments Board will consider people diversity and institutional and industry balance as part of its decision making process.

BBSRC seeks to balance institutional representation on our boards, panels and committees. Consequently, there may be competition for places if applicants come from the same institution or organisation, and particularly if those applicants have similar expertise.

If your institution or organisation is already represented on a committee or in the Pool of Experts, it will not prevent you from being appointed, but it will be important to demonstrate the distinctiveness and relevance of your expertise and experience.

Equality and diversity

We recognise that diverse ideas, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives are fundamental to successful science and innovation. We are committed to ensuring that our committees, panels and boards are inclusive, diverse and representative of the research community.

We are committed to the principle of providing equal opportunities for all. Through this appointment activity, we aspire to increase the diversity of our peer review communities and welcome applications from all individuals and sections of the community irrespective of:

  • age
  • race
  • sex
  • gender
  • reassignment
  • disability
  • ethnic origin
  • religion
  • sexual orientation.

An equality and impact assessment (PDF, 215KB) has been developed to support and inform applicants, and ensure that we enable participation and attendance at meetings. For example, by using venues that have good transport links and are accessible. We will also contribute towards additional costs for caring responsibilities to enable you to attend.  Please do not hesitate to contact the office if you wish to discuss this further.

To support us in assessing how effective our policies and procedures are in eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting opportunities, we ask that you provide diversity information that will be used anonymously by BBSRC for statistical purposes. This information will be treated in confidence by BBSRC and will not be used in the assessment of applications.

Career breaks and flexible working

Time spent outside the active research and business environment, whether through career breaks or flexible working, will be taken into account in the assessment process.

You should indicate any substantive periods of absence within your application. Further details on the nature of the absence and how it has affected track record, productivity and career progression may be provided, if desired. Information provided will only be used to make appropriate adjustments when assessing an individual’s track record, productivity and career progression.

In assessing the effects of career breaks or flexible working, the Appointments Board will note your career trajectory and potential at the beginning of a break, relative to the stage of your career or professional standing. In assessing applicants, panels will recognise that the effects on productivity of a career break, or a period of flexible working, may continue beyond the return to work.

Safeguarding good scientific practice

As a public investor in research, BBSRC aims to facilitate the highest standards for research integrity.

UKRI is a signatory to the Concordat to Support Integrity (PDF, 397KB). BBSRC also implements the UKRI policy and guidelines on governance of good research conduct (PDF, 206KB), alongside our guidance on safeguarding good scientific practice.

Appointees to BBSRC committees, panels and the Pool of Experts are expected to be aware of their obligations in regard to these policies.

Learn more about UKRI’s guidance and policies on research integrity and misconduct as part of UKRI’s Good Research Resource Hub.

You must declare if you are, or have been, subject to any current or past scientific misconduct investigations. BBSRC reserves the right to reject any application where such issues are considered an impediment to the individual holding a public appointment. This information will be treated in confidence.

Last updated: 13 April 2022

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