Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: 2023 Transformative Research Technologies (23TRT)

Apply for funding to pursue early stage development of cutting edge research technologies with transformative potential in the biosciences.

You must be a researcher or a research technical professional (RTP) from an eligible UK research organisation to apply for funding.

You can only apply as Project Lead (PL) on one submitted application. You can be Project Co-Lead (PcL) on multiple applications.

Applications must be between 6 and 18 months duration and cannot exceed £225,000 full economic cost (FEC).

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Role types for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded projects have been simplified and harmonised across councils to reduce bureaucracy and simplify funding. Please visit the UKRI website for more information. Standard BBSRC eligibility criteria will continue to apply. Further guidance on selecting appropriate roles is provided in the “How to apply” section below.

BBSRC reserves the right to seek eligibility confirmation prior to awarding a grant.

Applications from organisations or individuals that are not eligible will be rejected.

Research technical professionals

BBSRC recognises the value of technical expertise to the UK research workforce. Our recent review of technology development for the biosciences highlights the central role that technical staff have in delivering world class bioscience research and in particular technology development.

Building on the Technician Commitment UKRI Action Plan, BBSRC particularly encourages applications from RTPs, including Research Software Engineers (RSEs) as a PL or a PcL, provided they meet BBSRC’s eligibility requirements.

In addition to leading roles, BBSRC recognises the significant contribution of professional support staff such as RTPs, RSEs and equivalent roles to interdisciplinary computational and technical projects. We support recognition of their contributions and encourage applicants to name and cost them appropriately on applications.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of people and teams.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI and BBSRC’s equality, diversity and inclusion action policy.

The New Investigator, Industrial Partnership Award and LINK schemes that feature in BBSRC’s standard research grant do not apply to this funding opportunity. First time PLs should note that, if successful, being the PL on a grant which includes funding for postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) staff support costs will subsequently exclude them from being a New PL in BBSRC’s standard research grant.

PhD students should not be included on applications to 23TRT.

For queries about eligibility, please contact us at support@funding-service.ukri.org before submitting your application.

What we're looking for

Scope

The 2023 Transformative Research Technologies (23TRT) funding opportunity is built on our previous Tools and Resources Development Fund (TRDF), responding to the recommendations of BBSRC’s review of technology development in the biosciences.

The funding opportunity aims to support the development of cutting edge enabling research technologies, which have the potential for transformative impact and are essential to sustaining the vibrancy of bioscience discovery research in the UK. These technological developments should offer the potential of a step change in the state-of-the-art for the given field.

Awards will support small and short ‘early-stage/transformative potential’ pilot studies directed towards the development of a new technology for the biosciences where little to no preliminary data exists.

The outcome of the project does not necessarily need to be a fully-fledged tool but could be the demonstration of proof-of-concept or the production of a prototype for further development.

Further support for technology development later in its lifecycle is available within BBSRC.

The BBSRC standard research grant, for example, includes technology development proposals based on a more significant amount of preliminary data, which have often been generated from TRDF awards.

We aim to ensure technology development for the biosciences is fully integrated into Responsive Mode, thereby clarifying that this avenue is available for technology development funding beyond TRT.

BBSRC continues to highlight the inclusion of vital technical staff on applications and ensure equity in the assessment of non-hypothesis-driven applications on their potential for advancing bioscience research.

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the additional information section.

Interdisciplinary Collaborations

Technology development inherently cuts across the remit boundaries of UKRI councils and requires collaboration across disciplines and domains to achieve its full potential. We encourage applications that involve interdisciplinary and collaborative working for this funding opportunity.

Your application could adopt a “problem owner, solution provider” approach, whereby a PL and a PcL submit a single application to address a pressing challenge or need within the bioscience community. This could be through an innovative, cross-disciplinary collaboration, for example between an academic and technical professional.

Duration

The duration of this award is between 6 to 18 months

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £225,000.

BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC.

The total indicative budget for this funding opportunity is £3 million.

What we will fund

Applications are expected to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Transformative technology development that has the potential to result in innovative and disruptive new technological capabilities applicable to the biosciences. This includes technologies with potential broad utility across primarily biological research communities, as well as technologies that may only have utility within one research community.
  • Capitalizing on new advances in non-biological research that aim to establish proof-of-concept with a clear trajectory towards a new bioscience research technology in the short term.
  • Radical innovation that has the potential to deliver a step change in current technological capabilities in aspects such as accuracy, precision, resolution, throughput, and breadth of application to facilitate new research discoveries.
  • New software tools and algorithms to address key data analysis challenges in bioscience research. These must demonstrate genuine originality.

We recognise that the potential application of some technologies may extend beyond BBSRC’s remit. Where applicable, please explain how the primary focus of your application falls within BBSRC remit. Applications with a predominant focus outside of BBSRC remit will be rejected prior to assessment. If you are unsure about whether your planned research would be appropriate for this funding opportunity, send an outline (no more than 2 sides of A4) of what you plan to do to support@funding-service.ukri.org and BBSRC staff will be happy to advise you.

What we will not fund

We will not accept applications in the following areas:

  • platform technologies that are generically applicable to multiple research domains, outside of bioscience research.
  • applications with a focus on answering a research question, instead of developing cutting edge technology to do so. These applications could be better suited to BBSRC’s standard research grant.
  • improvements of technologies where previous proof-of-concept has already been demonstrated, including applications with existing technologies already in use for comparable areas of bioscience. These applications would also be better suited for BBSRC’s standard research grant.
  • medical or clinical devices (being developed for end-point clinical utility rather than basic research purposes) and healthcare technologies (including biomedical engineering for diagnostic or therapeutic application).
  • large scale infrastructure, or direct application of off-the-shelf technology to research.
  • community databases and data infrastructures. These applications could be better suited to the Bioinformatics and Biological Resources (BBR) Fund.
  • technologies for translational applications. The focus of this funding opportunity is on technologies for the discovery research community.
  • applications that exceed the cost or duration limits described for this funding opportunity.
  • applications that have already been peer reviewed or are currently undergoing peer review by another research council or funding body. Please see BBSRC’s resubmission policy for more information on submitting substantially revised applications.

Supporting skills and talent

BBSRC recognises the talent for innovation, expert knowledge and technical competence that RTPs possess. They are co-creators in technology development, and they must be empowered and recognised at all stages and by all stakeholders. Therefore, BBSRC particularly supports the provision of relevant training and upskilling opportunities, beneficial to the success of the proposed project, to be costed in 23TRT applications.

The potential for staff development and training (including post-docs, technical and support staff) will also be assessed by the panel.

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

Demand Management

We anticipate that this funding opportunity may receive a high level of interest. Prospective applicants are invited to consider carefully whether their application is within the remit and scope of the funding opportunity and should clearly articulate how the proposed project addresses 23TRT scope. If in doubt, applicants are strongly advised to contact BBSRC to discuss their proposed project.

As an individual, you can only apply as PL on one submitted application. You can still be a member of a consortium on a different application, provided you do not take a leading role as PL. However, as such applications will be in direct competition this is not recommended unless the applications are in very different areas.

We encourage research organisations to consider the scope and eligibility of potential applications to the funding opportunity and prioritise appropriately, prior to submission.

How to apply

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

We are running the funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

If you do not already have an account with the UKRI Funding Service, you will be able to create one by selecting the ‘start application’ button at the start of this page. Creating an account is a 2 minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.

If you are a member of an organisation with a research office that we do not have contact details for we will contact them to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every UKRI Funding Service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit applications

Research offices that have not already received an invitation to open an account should email support@funding-service.ukri.org.

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.

Submitting your application

Applications should be prepared and submitted by the lead research organisation but should be co-created with input from all investigators, and project partners, and should represent the proposed work of the entire consortia.

Only the lead research organisation can apply to UKRI.

To apply:

  1. Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this page.
  2. Confirm you are the project lead.
  3. Sign in or create a UKRI Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org.
  4. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this funding finder page.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

As citations can be integral to a case for support, you should balance their inclusion and the benefit they provide against the inclusion of other parts of your answer to each question. Bear in mind that citations, associated reference lists or bibliographies, or both, contribute to and are included in, the word count of the relevant section.

Deadline

BBSRC must receive your application by 5 October 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Personal data

Processing personal data:

BBSRC as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your UKRI funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Outcomes publication:

BBSRC will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at Transformative Technologies.

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance

Summary

In plain English, provide a summary that can be sent to potential reviewers to determine if your proposal is within their field of expertise.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community.
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • its context
  • the challenge the project addresses and how it will be applied to this
  • its aims and objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits.

Word count: 400

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles, for example:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • researcher co-lead
  • specialist
  • professional support staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as the project lead.

The project lead and project co-lead have replaced the principal investigator and co-investigator roles, respectively. Please see the full descriptions of these new harmonised set of role types being used in the UKRI Funding Service.

The researcher co-lead role has replaced the research co-investigator role previously used in Je-S grant applications. They will be an individual who merits appropriate recognition for making a substantial contribution to the formulation and development of the application and will be closely involved with the project. They will be employed on the project by and based at the institutions of the project lead or any project co-leads.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Section: Vision

Question: What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section, we also expect you to:

  • highlight how the proposed project directly addresses the scope of the funding opportunity in terms of developing cutting edge enabling research technologies, which have the potential for transformative impact
  • explain how the proposed project is essential to sustaining the vibrancy of bioscience discovery research in the UK, with clear identification of timely challenges and opportunities that the technology would help address

Number your references in this section using a superscript citation style. Then include the details of these references in a corresponding list in the ‘References’ section of this application.

Word count: 1000

Section: Approach

Question: How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section, we also expect you to:

  • highlight any original, innovative or particularly unconventional concepts, methodologies or approaches that will be explored.
  • Identify where equality, diversity and inclusion principles have been incorporated into the design of the project. One common approach is to reference institutional strategies and policies related to equality, diversity and inclusion and indicate that the proposed project would be delivered in alignment with these activities. Learn more about our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.

It may be helpful to include a diagram, for example, a GANTT chart, that provides a visual overview of the proposed work.

Number your references in this section using a superscript citation style.

Then include the details of these references in a corresponding list, in the ‘References’ section of this application.

Word count: 1500

Section: Project partners: contributions

Question: provide details about any project partners’ contributions using the template provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have any project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If you do have project partners, download and complete the project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB) then copy and paste the table within it into the text box.

Ensure you have obtained a prior agreement from project partners that, should you be offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Word count: 500

Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Question: Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to the career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing the modern research environment and the wider community

The word count for this section is 1500 words, with 1000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team (investigators, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work.

You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed below. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge

Examples might include: contributions to and skills acquired from past projects, experience in particular methods, organisms or technologies and key outputs such as data sets, software, and research and policy publications. In each case, summarise the relevance to the proposed project:

  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships

Examples might include: provisions made for training and development opportunities that will benefit the individual(s) employed, project management, supervision, mentoring, or line management contributions critical to the success of a team or team members, or where you exerted strategic leadership in shaping the direction of a team, organisation, company or institution:

  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community

Examples might include: how you have contributed to wider collaborations and networks across disciplines, institutions, and / or countries, commitments such as editing, reviewing and committee work, positions of responsibility, and activities which have contributed to the improvement of research integrity or culture, or examples where you have shown visionary strategic leadership in influencing a research agenda:

  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and toward wider societal benefit

Examples might include: engagement across the public and private sectors or with the wider public, past projects that have contributed to policy development or public understanding, and other impacts across research, policy, practice and business, and other examples of and how you have ensured your outputs reach and influence relevant audiences:

  • additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

Word count: 1500

Section: Data management and sharing

Question: how will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with BBSRC’s published Data Sharing Policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Word count: 500

Section: Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Question: What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations.

You should include:

  • how environmental sustainability considerations have been incorporated into the design of the proposal.

If you are collecting or using data you should identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing, or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security, and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies taken to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which study will be compliant

Word count: 500

Section: Genetic and Biological Risk

Question: does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box.

In respect of animals, plants, or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes?

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal, or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.
Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

Word count: 500

Section: Research involving the use of animals

Question: does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, write ‘Yes’ in the text box. Then, download and complete this document (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms. Then, save it as a PDF.

Studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines, or pigs, will be reviewed during the NC3Rs review of research proposals. This is to ensure that plans for any animal usage are appropriate.

Word count: 10

Section: Conducting research with animals overseas

Question: will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ in the text box. If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as per Responsibility in the Use of Animals in Bioscience Research, on page 14.

You should also ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement and provide a statement below to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in ‘Responsibility in the Use of Animals in Bioscience Research’ will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place.

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines, or pigs, will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research proposals. The required information should be provided by completing the template from the question ‘Research Involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species listed below, you should select the relevant checklist or checklists from the list below, complete it and save it as a PDF and use the file upload feature to attach it. If you need to complete more than one checklist, you should merge them into a single document and then save it as a PDF before uploading it:

Word count: 250

Section: Research involving human participation

Question: Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place. Then, justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

Word count: 500

Section: Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Question: does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box.

If you’re answering ‘yes’, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

You should justify the use of human tissue or biological samples, specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

Word count: 500

Section: References

Question: List the references you’ve used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response:

Ensure your application is a self-contained description. You can provide hyperlinks to relevant publications or online resources. However, assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application. You must not include links to web resources to extend your application. If linking to web resources, to ensure the information’s integrity is maintained include, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers.

Word count: 300

Section: Facilities

Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter N/A into the text box.

If you will need to use a facility, you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Where prior agreement is required, ensure you obtain their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

In the text box below, for each requested facility you should provide:

  • the name of the facility, copied and pasted from this list
  • the proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on that list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

See our guidance on using national facilities for more information.

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

Word count: 250

Section: Resources and cost justification

Question: What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Use the resources and cost summary table to enter the full costs. Include high-level costs only, not a breakdown of individual items. Use the Justification textbox to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

This section should not simply be a list of the resources requested, as this will already be given in the detailed ‘costs’ table. Costings should be justified based on full economic costs (FEC) of the project, not just on the costs expected from UKRI. For some items we do not expect you to justify the monetary value, rather the type of resource, such as the amount of time or type of staff requested.

Where you do not provide adequate justification for a resource, we may deduct it from any funding awarded.

You should include:

  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure and procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money
  • a statement in the textbox confirming that your organisation has agreed to offer support for equipment over £10,000, if applicable

Word count: 1000

Section: Resubmissions

Question: Is the proposed project substantially revised from any previously funded or peer reviewed applications?

If this section does not apply to your project, enter N/A into the text box.

What the assessors are looking for in your response:
  • clear explanation of how the proposed work is substantially revised from any previous work in terms of overall aims, objectives, approaches and resources requested.

For a proposal to be considered substantially revised, and therefore not a resubmission, BBSRC would expect more than 50% of the stated objectives or work packages to be identified as ‘new’, that is, not listed in proposals previously submitted to BBSRC by the applicants. Please see BBSRC’s resubmission policy for more information.

Word count: 300

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Applications that fit the scope of the funding opportunity will be assessed through a single stage, fast-track panel assessment process, so that the early stage exploratory ideas and technologies can be rapidly tested and challenged. The streamlined nature of the assessment will use a broadly based, multidisciplinary panel with appropriate expertise.

All applications are expected to outline how the research might deliver a substantial improvement versus the current state-of-the-art applicable to the relevant field(s) of research and how the project could broadly enable new avenues of bioscience discovery research.

You must also outline the extent of the potential impact outside of your specific research programme.

BBSRC reserves the right to reject applications, without reference to peer review, which are deemed to fall outside the remit and scope (including the financial scope) of this funding opportunity.

Panel

Applications will be fully assessed by the expert panel:

  • prior to the assessment stage, we require all panel members to declare any interests (personal and business) that may conflict with any application. Conflicted members will be able to see the initial application documents but not the subsequent score for your application. Additionally, conflicted members will not be able to participate in the relevant panel discussions both prior to and during the meeting.
  • the panel will assess the applications against the criteria for assessment and provide BBSRC with a recommended rank-ordered list of applications.
  • you should ensure that sufficient details of the proposed project, approaches and methods are provided within the application to enable the application to be assessed by scientists with relevant, but not necessarily specialist, expertise.

Feedback

This is a panel only assessment. There will be no applicant response opportunity and only summary feedback from the panel will be provided.

You will also be informed in which category your proposal was scored.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Assessment criteria

What we are looking for

Section: Vision

Have the applicants demonstrated how the work they are proposing:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking, or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • will impact world-leading research, society, the economy and the environment

The panel will want to see evidence that:

  • the proposed work directly addresses the scope of the funding opportunity in terms of developing cutting edge enabling research technologies, which have the potential for transformative impact
  • demonstrates a step-change compared to the current state-of-the-art, rather than incremental change
  • the proposed work is essential to sustaining the vibrancy of bioscience discovery research in the UK, with clear identification of timely challenges and opportunities that the technology would help address.
Section: Approach

Have the applicants demonstrated that they have designed their approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve their objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • describes how their, and if applicable their team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the proposed work

The panel will want to see evidence that:

  • the technical scope of the proposed work is well reasoned
  • demonstrates originality and innovation in the approaches and methodologies
  • equality, diversity and inclusion principles have been considered in the project
Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Have the applicants provided evidence of how they, and if relevant their team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to the career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and their approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing the modern research environment and the wider community

The panel will want to see evidence that:

  • the applicant(s) possess the necessary technical capabilities and diversity to deliver the proposed project
  • appropriate provision for research and technical staff development and training is made
Section: Resources and cost justification

Have the applicants demonstrated how the resources they anticipate needing for their proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

In assessing potential impact, the panel will also consider:

  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure and procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money
Section: Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Have the applicants identified and evaluated the relevant ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations, and how they will be managed.

The panel will also be asked to consider the extent to which:

  • the project will make data and technical developments open, and any restrictions are fully justified
  • the proposed work incorporates environmental sustainability considerations

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

We aim to respond to emails within 2 working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Sensitive information

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the UKRI Funding Service helpdesk on support@funding-service.ukri.org. Include Sensitive information: and the funding opportunity name in the subject line.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, see UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 9 June 2023. This provided more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions. Webinar questions and answers documents can be found in the supporting documents section.

The webinar presentation slides and webinar questions and answers documents can be found in the supporting documents section.

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

23TRT applicant webinar slides (PDF, 1MB)

23TRT applicant webinar questions and answers (PDF, 155KB)

23TRT equality impact assessment (PDF, 180KB)

Updates

  • 3 January 2024
    Dates for assessment period and panel meeting updated in timeline.
  • 11 September 2023
    Added equality impact assessment document to the list of supporting documents in the 'Additional info' section.

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