BBSRC ‘Stand-alone’ LINK - BBSRC

Applying for a LINK collaboration through responsive mode

LINK supports collaborative research projects between at least one company and one academic partner. At least 50% of the full project cost comes from industry.

Applications should be for pre-competitive research that would not be undertaken in this form without LINK support.

Funding is only available for organisations eligible for Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) support.

Applications are assessed by our research committees, alongside standard applications, using the same criteria. We would expect to give a LINK project a significant uplift, but pressures on our funding mean that we cannot guarantee the extent nor effect of this uplift.

Partners must agree ownership and exploitation of intellectual property arising from the project at the outset. An appropriate management framework must be in place with defined scientific and commercial deliverables.

Benefits for industry partners include:

  • financial support for the project
  • closer relationships with the science base
  • the possibility of recruiting appropriately trained staff at the end of the project.

Essential criteria

To be eligible, the following must apply:

  • the project involves collaborative research with at least one company and one research-base partner
  • overall government support for a project is no more than 50%
  • the application is for research that is pre-competitive in nature
  • arrangements for ownership and exploitation of intellectual property arising from the project have been agreed by the partners
  • the project has an appropriate management framework and both the scientific and commercial deliverables are clearly defined.

Before applying

The company partner should either:

  • be registered in the UK
  • have a UK research and development or manufacturing site.

Where a suitable company cannot be found in the UK, an overseas company may be used. Such collaborations are judged on a case by case basis, and clear justification must be provided. You should email prior to submission if you wish an overseas company to be an industrial partner under this scheme.

For an application to be eligible under the LINK scheme, at least 50% of the full project cost must come from industry. This can be either cash or in-kind. The applicants can request the balance of the project cost from BBSRC. The balance being sought from BBSRC should be used when completing the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system form. If successful, 80% of the value requested on the form will be awarded by BBSRC.

Example figures:

  • total cost of the whole project (academia and industry): £1,000,000
  • minimum industry contribution (cash, in-kind, or both): to be entered in ‘project partner(s)’ box on the Je-S form – £500,000
  • maximum amount requested from BBSRC (this is the amount used on the Je-S form in the full economic cost): £500,000
  • if successful, amount awarded by BBSRC (80% of that requested): £400,000
  • if successful, amount expected from institutional core funds (20% of that requested): £100,000.

Applicants should describe the value of the partnership and its mutual benefits within the case for support.

Applicants should also include:

  • a letter from their institutions technology transfer office outlining the management of outputs from the proposed research including:
    • objectives of the collaboration
    • key tasks, contributions and responsibilities of the different partners
    • agreed routes for dissemination of emerging results and management of intellectual assets or intellectual property
    • any direct or indirect interest from the academic partner in the commercialisation of the project.
  • a letter of support from each industry partner signed off by the budget holder (or equivalent) which outlines their involvement in the project including:
    • the companies interest in the proposed project
    • the companies contribution to the collaboration, including justification of the value of in-kind contributions where included
    • agreed routes for dissemination of emerging results and management of intellectual assets or intellectual property
    • confirmation that if the application is successful, a collaboration agreement will be put in place between all partners before research commences in line with cross-research council research grant terms and conditions.

The preliminary terms of the agreement outlined in the letters will be reviewed and changes may be requested.

The plans set out in the letters will not be legally binding but should form a strong basis for collaboration agreement if the grant is awarded funding.

If you are interested in submitting an application for a LINK project please contact a programme manager to discuss your application.

How to apply

Visit the standard research responsive mode funding opportunity page or the new investigator standard research responsive mode funding opportunity page to submit your application through the UKRI Funding Service.

For more specific guidance about applying to this scheme, please consult the grant guide.

The schemes are dictated when selecting classification on the application form.

Applications are processed alongside other responsive mode applications. Application deadlines are therefore the same as responsive mode applications.



Last updated: 20 November 2023

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