Re-shaping BBSRC’s future doctoral provision

Multi-ethnic group of scientists working inside a research laboratory. They are conducting science experiments using test tubes, beakers, a microscope and chemicals.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is re-shaping its doctoral provision from 2024.

Providing continued access to excellent doctoral training is a key priority for BBSRC and reflects the commitments made in our strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025.

Re-shaping the current provision means BBSRC can meet its commitment for the benefit of individual researchers, the bioscience discipline and the wider UK economy.

The forthcoming changes will also support the transition to a collective talent funding model across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The changes seek to improve the flow of talent across all disciplines and sectors in the UK research and innovation ecosystem.

UKRI collective talent

As part of UKRI’s transition to a collective talent funding model, a new doctoral investment framework will be launched from January 2024.

Two overall schemes will be established to harmonise and simplify doctoral training funding across its research councils:

  • Doctoral focal awards: these awards will include funding for specific, tightly focused themes or challenges. Moving forward, what UKRI currently refers to as Centres for Doctoral Training will sit under this scheme
  • Doctoral landscape awards: these awards will include broader or more flexible funding, the likes of which include UKRI’s current Doctoral Training Partnerships and Collaborative Training Partnerships

BBSRC funding opportunities opening in 2024 onwards will see some changes reflected in the questions and language found in the application process as we harmonise and simplify our offering across UKRI.

BBSRC future doctoral provision

As part of its future provision, BBSRC will introduce an opportunity to apply for a Doctoral focal award for the very first time.

This new provision will deliver high-quality training to help researchers develop important practical skills aligned with their future career aspirations while also enhancing their academic knowledge.

It will also enable BBSRC to build capacity in key thematic areas where pump priming is required to deliver solutions to significant scientific and societal challenges.

Doctoral landscape awards

The new Doctoral focal award opportunity will be complemented by BBSRC’s continued investment in Doctoral landscape awards.

Doctoral landscape awards will nurture and provide flexibility for researchers and innovators seeking to drive community led aspirations and ideas.

BBSRC’s business led programmes will also continue via the new Doctoral landscape awards. With a strong industry focus, these programmes aim to build capacity and address strategic skills challenges in the UK bioeconomy.

They equip candidates with the research, innovation and transferable skills needed to be competitive for high-quality jobs in the labour markets of the bioeconomy, academia and beyond.

To allow for the introduction of the new Doctoral focal award opportunity, BBSRC will make some minor adjustments to the balance of its overarching training portfolio investment.

Collectively, BBSRC’s future doctoral training provision will foster more opportunities for collaboration across research councils and scientific disciplines to develop a highly-skilled workforce that is essential for the health and vibrancy of UK biosciences.

Nurturing expertise and ingenuity

Dr David McAllister, Director of Talent and Funding Delivery at BBSRC, said:

The UK bioeconomy thrives on innovation and at BBSRC, we are committed to nurturing the world-class individuals who are the engines of innovation. Our talented researchers drive the forward-thinking discoveries that underpin economic growth and societal prosperity.

At the heart of BBSRC’s mission is our dedication to fostering the expertise and ingenuity that translate complex biological understanding into real-world sustainable solutions.

Check out our webinar to learn more

BBSRC hosted a webinar on 7 December 2023 to provide more information about our future doctoral provision and what it means for you.

If you would like to watch the video recording, please email:

Top image:  Credit: fstop123, E+ via Getty Images

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