Applicants and co-applicants - BBSRC

In determining whether an application will be accepted, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will consider a range of factors in relation to the applicants such as their status and the duration and nature of their employment. The decision on eligibility resides with BBSRC and is final. Applications will only be accepted from those categories of researchers specifically mentioned in the paragraphs below as being eligible to apply to BBSRC.

Principal applicants must meet the criteria under each of the following sections:

  • They must be resident (spend 183 or more days in the UK in the tax year) in the UK at the time of application or will be moving to the UK to take up an already agreed contract at an eligible organisation (the contract must not be dependent on the outcome of the application), and will remain resident in the UK for the duration of the proposed project.
  • At the time of application they must either:
    • be employed by the eligible research organisation submitting the proposal and hold a research staff appointment there (academic lecturer level or equivalent) which is resourced from the central funds of the organisation. For RCIs, with the exception of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) where this will be researchers at the NERC Band 5 level, lecturer equivalent will be researchers at the new unified research council Band E level. Additionally Medical Research Council (MRC) external scientific staff located within university departments holding honorary university appointments which would outlast the period of a proposed grant may also apply, or;
    • if not employed by the submitting organisation (providing they are not in receipt of funding by non-eligible organisations), have an existing written formal arrangement with the organisation confirming that the research will be conducted as if the applicant were an employee at lecturer level or equivalent but without salary costs, that enables them to carry out research there and receive from the organisation all necessary management and infrastructural support, and that commits the organisation to take full responsibility for the research and its proper governance, or;
    • be scheduled to move to the submitting organisation before the proposed start date of the grant, whether or not the proposal is successful, in such a way that would ensure that criterion a) or b) is met by the time the grant starts (In this case, the affiliation shown for the applicant should be the organisation that would hold the grant).

At the time of application, they must have either:

  • a contract of employment at lecturer level or equivalent that extends to beyond the duration of the proposed grant (or, if not employed by the submitting organisation, a formal non-salaried arrangement as described above that extends to beyond the duration of the proposed grant), or;
  • an assurance from the submitting organisation that, if the proposal is successful, a pre-existing contract of employment (or pre-existing formal commitment to provide support if not employed at the organisation) at lecturer level or equivalent will be extended beyond the end date of the grant.

Please note that co-applicants must also meet the criteria set out above but replacing the phrase ‘submitting organisation’ with ‘eligible organisation’.

Fellowships and other senior research personnel

Those in receipt of lecturer level equivalent postdoctoral fellowships from either the Research Councils or award-giving bodies such as the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust may also apply, as may the recipients of internal university fellowships that have a similar lecturer level equivalent status. Potential applicants who are in receipt of a Fellowship should contact prior to submitting a proposal to confirm eligibility for BBSRC funding. All fellowships must have been secured in open competition.

Furthermore, with the exception of internally awarded university fellowships, all fellowships must be tenable at any BBSRC eligible academic institution. Information on the type and nature of the fellowship held, together with its end date and the funding it provides, must be included either in the application case for support or in the applicant’s CV accompanying the application. In addition, written notification from the fellowship provider permitting the fellow to undertake the additional research and other activities required in association with any research grant application submitted should also be attached.

Holders of UKRI Academic Fellowships are eligible to apply. However, they must ensure that any commitments they have to existing research projects are discussed with their institutions prior to the completion and submission of a research grant application. Although recipients of UKRI Academic Fellowships who are initially supported as postdoctoral research assistants (PDRA) on research grants are eligible to apply for new research grants in their own right, they cannot start any successful award until they have completed their PDRA duties on the original research grant.

In authorising an application, the head of department in whose department the research will be carried out, or the director of the research council institute, is agreeing that, in the event of the application being successful, full research facilities and support will be provided throughout the period of the research and that, in the case of a fellow whose fellowship does not extend beyond the duration of the grant, they are also agreeing to underwrite the fellow’s salary costs for the outstanding period in relation to the grant. A letter of support confirming this must be attached to the application. Details of the post the fellow will be appointed to should be given in the application case for support. Authorisation of the application also confirms that there is no conflict of interest between the investigator’s obligations to BBSRC and to any other organisation or employer.

Other senior university research personnel with appointments resourced from the central funds of their institutions at the time of application may also apply if they carry both a level of responsibility and range of duties appropriate to a person with substantial research experiences for example they occupy a post equating to at least lecturer level. A confirmatory statement to this effect from the head of department is required together with a written assurance from the applicant’s institution that should the applicant be without a contract of employment extending beyond the period of the proposed grant at the time of application, such a contract will be put in place if the proposal is successful. Those researchers who may fall within this category should contact BBSRC via email for confirmation of their eligibility prior to the submission of any application.

Last updated: 21 November 2022

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