New Investigators - BBSRC

The new investigator scheme is designed primarily to assist newly employed university lecturers, researchers in research council institutes (at a level equivalent to lecturer), and fellows (at a level equivalent to lecturer) to secure their first major element of research support funding.

To be considered under the scheme, at the time of the closing date for submission to the grant round in which the application will be assessed, the applicant must be able to satisfy the:

  • specific eligibility requirements for the scheme
  • normal eligibility requirements for Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funding.

Researchers who have been co-investigators on successful grant applications are eligible to apply to the scheme.

Applicants must not have received, or currently be in receipt of, competitively obtained research or support funding from any source as a principal investigator where such funding includes or included postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) staff support costs; this includes grants associated with fellowships. If, however, PDRA support has been provided by an institution as part of an internal support agreement or as part of the applicants start up package, this must be declared but would not render the applicant ineligible. Other grant funding requests where the results are not known at the time of submission, but which are subsequently successful, will also come under this category and therefore details of such requests must be given in the application and their outcome notified to BBSRC immediately they become known.

Applicants may submit only one new investigator application to each BBSRC grant round, and they may not submit another type of grant application as a principal investigator to the same grant round. Researchers may be awarded only one research grant under the new investigator scheme.

Including co-investigators

The new investigator applicant or applicants should be the intellectual leader or leaders of the proposed project. Expertise across multiple disciplines may be an important aspect of a project and one which facilitates career development into a new field. Co-investigators are therefore permitted, but only when they bring expertise to the project which is outside the applicant’s own skill set. Co-investigators may also satisfy the eligibility requirements for the new investigator scheme. Collaborators from the same discipline may be included but there must be no costs associated with the collaborator role. The extent and reasons for any collaboration must be described fully in the case for support.

Submitting your application

Applications are submitted through responsive mode and are subject to the same closing dates and resource limits (no more than £2 million, funded at 100% full economic cost net of any industrial contributions).

How applications are assessed

Applications will be judged against the same criteria as other responsive mode proposals. However, research potential rather than track record will be taken into account. In addition to the case for support, a letter from the applicant’s head of department is required. It should describe the support and financial contribution the institution will be providing specific to the start-up of their laboratory and which is the responsibility of the institution to undertake, is also required.

New Investigator webinar

A webinar aimed at future applicants to the new investigator scheme, responsive mode BBSRC standard research grant, was held on 25 October 2021.

The webinar provided an overview of responsive mode and the new investigator scheme. It included perspectives from two responsive mode committee chairs on what makes a successful application, and presentations from two successful applicants to the new investigator scheme who shared their experiences. There was a question and answer session at the end of the presentations.


Successful new investigator applicants:

  • Dr Rachel Wells, John Innes Centre
  • Dr Riko Hatakeyama, University of Aberdeen.

Responsive mode committee chairs:

  • Professor Eileen Wall, SRUC (Chair for Committee A)
  • Professor Richard Emes, University of Nottingham (Deputy Chair for Committee C).

BBSRC representatives:

  • David McAllister, Research and Innovation Talent and Funding Delivery
  • Avril Ferris, Research and Innovation Funding Delivery
  • Rachel Warmington, Research and Innovation Funding Delivery.

The webinar was recorded and is available to anyone who was unable to attend the live event. Watch a recording of the webinar on Zoom.

Read the new investigators webinar FAQ.

Last updated: 21 February 2023

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