Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: 2024 BBSRC Fellowships scheme

Start application

Apply for funding to carry out independent research within a host laboratory and gain leadership skills.

You must demonstrate appropriate and relevant research, technical or innovation experience.

You are not eligible to apply if you hold/have held a post/position at lecturer level (or equivalent in an institution other than a university). You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

There is no limit on the value of the grant. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your fellowship will last three years. You can work full time or part time (pro rata).

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

This funding opportunity is open to early career researchers wishing to carry out independent research within a host laboratory. Applicants on an upward trajectory to pursuing working independently and developing research leadership are encouraged to apply.

You should be able to demonstrate appropriate and relevant research or innovation experience. This could be through:

  • completion of a PhD or other higher qualification
  • relevant employment within a research or innovation environment

You do not need to hold, or be studying for, a PhD in order to apply.

You must also be able to evidence reasonable scientific and technical skills and competencies, in line with the ambitions of the Discovery Fellowships scheme.

If you are currently studying for a PhD, you are only eligible if you are expecting to have passed your PhD viva before 30 November 2024.

There is no limit on the number of years postdoctoral or work experience.

Holders of postdoctoral training fellowships such as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions can apply. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin fellows and Daphne Jackson Trust fellows who meet all eligibility requirements may also apply.

Applicants that have been included on applications as a researcher co-lead are eligible to apply, provided they still meet all eligibility criteria.

You may only submit one application for a BBSRC Fellowship scheme each year.

Who is not eligible to apply

You should not apply if you hold, or have ever held:

  • a position at lecturer level (or the equivalent in an institution other than a university)
  • an equivalent competitive fellowship that allows you to establish an independent research group, and therefore independent researcher status

In addition, you should not have been offered such an appointment before taking up a BBSRC Fellowship. This applies to both fixed-term and permanent positions, and includes positions held at overseas institutions.

If you hold a fellowship where you are eligible to supervise PhD students or submit research grants as a project lead, we consider that equivalent to a lectureship. As a result, you are not eligible to apply.

Examples of these fellowships include, but are not limited to:

  • Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale fellowships
  • Medical Research Council career development awards
  • Natural Environment Research Council independent research fellowships

If you have previously applied for BBSRC grant funding as a project lead or project co-lead, you are also not eligible to apply.

Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility status should email postdoc.fellowships@bbsrc.ukri.org to confirm before they apply.

International applicants

We welcome applicants of all nationalities subject to the fellowship being hosted in the UK.

All successful applicants who require a visa to work in the UK are eligible to be considered under the Global Talent visa route. This replaces the previous Tier 1 (exceptional talent) route.

In line with the highly prestigious nature of the award, this visa route is designed for international researchers who bring new ideas and perspectives, enriching the UK’s research and innovation workforce.

This visa route also enables the holder to be both adaptable and flexible during their research in the UK.

Find out more about the Global Talent visa.

The grant of any visa is always subject to the standard Home Office general grounds for refusal of a visa. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) can provide additional guidance about the evidence required to complete the visa application process under the Global Talent visa. Please contact globaltalentvisa@ukri.org for further details.

Resubmissions

You can apply to subsequent fellowship rounds if you were previously unsuccessful, with the same, modified or a different fellowship application providing that you still meet the eligibility criteria. If you are resubmitting the same project, you should ensure that any feedback previously given by the committee has been addressed.

Unsuccessful research grant applications submitted to other schemes are not eligible to be resubmitted to the BBSRC Fellowship scheme unless the work proposed is substantially different in terms of objectives or work to be carried out. Please see the BBSRC policy on resubmissions and revised submissions for further details.

Applicants for a BBSRC Fellowship are not permitted to simultaneously apply to UKRI Future Leaders fellowships funding opportunity but are permitted to seek support for other projects, from specific research councils or other funders’ opportunities, while their BBSRC Fellowship is under consideration. Applications to UKRI research councils must fit within the specific remit of that council and BBSRC will not accept applications where the same work is currently undergoing peer review by another research council.

Part-time fellowships

BBSRC Fellowships may be held full or part-time. We welcome applications from candidates who wish to work on a part-time or flexible basis to combine their responsibilities with a career.

BBSRC Fellowships can be held on a part-time basis down to 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE). In all cases, the length of the fellowship must be extended accordingly on a pro rata basis. For example, a three year fellowship on a full-time basis would equate to a six year fellowship with the fellow working 0.5 FTE, but the value of the award would remain the same.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

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

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.

What we're looking for

Scope

Through our Fellowship scheme, we will invest in researchers who are seeking to conduct their own independent research within a host laboratory.

You must provide strong evidence of working towards this goal, demonstrating an upward trajectory to pursuing independent work within a host organisation. You must show high potential to become future research leaders.

This scheme supports excellent investigator-led research across the breadth of our scientific remit.

You can apply to undertake biotechnology or biological research in:

  • plants
  • microbes
  • animals and humans
  • tools and technology underpinning biological research

Investigations within and across scales are supported, from molecules and cells, to tissues, whole organisms, populations, and landscapes.

We welcome multidisciplinary applications that cross into other research council areas but expect the primary focus of your work to fall within BBSRC’s remit.

We work with other research councils to ensure that applications close to remit boundaries are assessed by the most appropriate lead council. Please contact postdoc.fellowships@bbsrc.ukri.org with any queries about the suitability of your application before applying.

We have a strong commitment to funding curiosity-led research and advancing excellent bioscience across our portfolio.

You should continue to indicate how a proposal aligns to BBSRC’s research and innovation priorities, where relevant, and you are encouraged to consider the relevance of your proposed work in line with the long-term research and innovation priorities set out in BBSRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025.

Duration

The duration of this award is three years and must start by 1 July 2025.

Funding available

There is no limit on the value of the grant. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost (FEC). We aim to award approximately fifteen grants with the funds available.

Although there is no upper FEC limit for this award, you are encouraged to justify how the resources requested are reasonable in the context of the proposed research. Please note what we will and will not fund below.

What we will fund

Funding can be used to support:

  • personal salary
  • travel and subsistence
  • training activities
  • research consumables
  • technician support
  • visa costs if required

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • researchers or research staff
  • purchasing of equipment (for example personal computers, laptops, other computing equipment cameras, or hiring of equipment)

Choice of institution

We place considerable weight in the awarding of fellowships on evidence that you have given full and careful consideration to the choice of institution. In all cases, the choice of institution should relate to the research environment and scientific infrastructure of the selected institution. There is therefore no expectation for you to move to a new institution provided the choice of institution is justified.

We expect host organisations to provide additional commitments to our fellows. The reviewers and committee are looking for evidence that the host organisation will contribute significant financial support, in-kind support, or both, if an award is made.

To demonstrate commitment to the support and development of BBSRC fellows, we require applicants to describe discussions had with their host organisation, and the package of support that has been agreed.

This should provide details of the support the organisation will be providing to the fellow in support of their fellowship in terms of:

  • financial support: state amount and duration
  • equipment (including provision of dedicated equipment or waiver of access charges)
  • consumables
  • facilities and lab space
  • staff time or support: state amount and duration
  • travel
  • training: give titles of specific courses
  • career development support
  • PhD students: state number and duration
  • any other support

We recognise that in some instances, this information may be provided by the research office, the technology transfer office (TTO) or equivalent, or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or research office, or both
  • office address or web link

Supporting skills and talent

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

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

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

The applicant is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all project partners to also contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the fellow.
  2. Sign in or create a 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
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  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.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure that files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

Deadline

BBSRC must receive your application by 2 May 2024 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

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your 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.

Publication of outcomes

BBSRC part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at What BBSRC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • fellow
  • technician

Only list one individual as fellow.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Vision

Word limit: 1,100

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, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area of its focus
  • is timely, given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

In the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

Approach

Word limit: 3,000

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how you will manage them
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how you will build on and progress this work (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan, including milestones and timelines in the form of a chart or diagram

Applicant capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to make best use of the benefits presented by this funding opportunity to develop your career
  • the right balance of skills and aptitude to deliver the proposed work
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community
  • the appropriate team working or leadership skills (appropriate to career stage)

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words, 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) 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 have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include specific achievements and choose past contributions that best evidence your ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the following R4RI module headings. You should use each heading once, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills you bring:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation, users and audiences, and towards wider societal benefit

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 section as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

Career development

Word limit: 1,000

Why is this fellowship the right way to develop your career and how will you use it to benefit others?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure that you have identified:

  • career development goals appropriate to the fellowship funding opportunity
  • how the fellowship will provide a feasible and appropriate trajectory for your personal development and to achieve your stated career development goals (as appropriate to your career stage and field)
  • how you will instigate positive change in the wider research and innovation community, for example through equality diversity and inclusion (EDI), advocacy or advisory roles, stakeholder engagement, participation in peer review, influencing policy, public engagement, or outreach

Within the Career development section we also expect you to describe:

  • how you will ensure continued research and professional development in those you will be managing on the project (PhD students and research technicians), to have a positive research and innovation experience, with opportunities or support to progress their own careers (useful links Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and Technician Commitment)
  • how the proposed work will provide a feasible and appropriate trajectory for you to acquire additional skills, like research, leadership, communication and management
  • what mentoring arrangements are proposed and how they are appropriate to you

Host organisation support

Word limit: 1,000

How will the host organisation support your fellowship?

What the assessors are looking for in your response
  • provide evidence detailing how the host organisation will support you, as appropriate for your career development and the vision and approach of the fellowship
  • who you have engaged with in your host organisation (name and role)
  • how your research environment will contribute to the success of the work, in terms of suitability of the host organisation and strategic relevance to the project
  • how the host organisation will ensure your time commitment to the fellowship is protected
  • what development and training opportunities will be provided and how they form a cohesive career development package tailored to your aims and aspirations
  • what financial or practical support, such as access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment, is being provided and how this strengthens your application

Within the Host organisation support section we also expect you to describe:

  • evidence of support from the lead of the proposed host research and innovation group (including the project lead, formerly known as principal investigator or fellow)
  • details of the fellowship work to be conducted at another UK or overseas host organisation, including collaborators, and how they will support you (if applicable)
  • the negotiations held or other offers considered that informed the decision of the chosen host

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • technical or administrative support
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • training costs

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you 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

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

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 may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

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 to not preclude further reuse of data)
  • formal information standards that your proposed work will comply with

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

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 you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 700

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14. Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement.

If your application proposes animal research to be conducted overseas, you must provide a statement in the text box. Depending on the species involved, you may also need to upload a completed template for each species listed.

Statement

Provide a statement 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
Templates

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

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save your completed template as a PDF and upload to the Funding Service. If you use more than one checklist template, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If conducting research with animals overseas does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

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.

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.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

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

Project partners: letters or emails of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partner’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter N/A. Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

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

Do not provide letters of support from host research organisations.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 700

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 that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Facilities

Word limit: 100

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If facility access is being requested specifically for the Earlham Institute, the supercomputing ARCHER2 facility at University of Edinburgh, or the UK 850MHz Solid State NMR Facility at the University of Warwick, a Technical Assessment Form (TAF) is required and should be uploaded as a PDF file. Failure to include the required forms will result in withdrawal of the proposal.

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite experts to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite the committee to use the evidence provided by your application, reviews and your applicant response against the stated criteria and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will recommend a shortlist of candidates to interview.

Interview

For shortlisted applications, an expert interview panel will conduct interviews with applicants after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

We expect interviews to be held on the 2, 3 and 4 of December 2024.

Feedback

We will provide panel feedback to all applicants by email.

Principles of assessment

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

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Assessment criteria

Vision

Has the applicant demonstrated how the work they are proposing:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • 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 or the environment
  • considers the potential direct or indirect beneficiaries

Approach

Has the applicant 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
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

Applicant capability to deliver

Has the applicant provided evidence of:

  • relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to make best use of the benefits presented by this funding opportunity to develop their career
  • the right balance of skills and aptitude to deliver the proposed work
  • contribution to developing a positive research environment and wider community
  • the appropriate team working or leadership skills (appropriate to career stage)

Career development

Has the applicant provided evidence of:

  • career development goals appropriate to the fellowship funding opportunity
  • a sufficient personal development plan that will enable them to achieve their stated career development goals (as appropriate to career stage and field)
  • how they will investigate positive change in the wider research and innovation community
  • how they will ensure continued research and professional development in those they will be managing on the project
  • how the proposed work will provide a feasible and appropriate trajectory to acquire additional skills, like research, leadership, communication and management
  • appropriate mentoring arrangements proposed

Host organisation support

Is there evidence that:

  • the host organisation will support the applicant, as appropriate for their career development
  • the applicant has engaged with in their host organisation (name and role)
  • the applicant has considered how their research environment will contribute to the success of their work, in terms of suitability of the host organisation and strategic relevance to the project
  • the host organisation will ensure time commitment to the fellowship is protected
  • development and training opportunities will be provided that form a cohesive career development package tailored to the applicants aims and aspirations
  • what financial or practical support, such as access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment, is being provided and how this strengthens the application
  • the lead of the proposed host research and innovation group is providing support to the applicant
  • if applicable, there are details of any work to be conducted at another UK or overseas host organisation, such as collaborators, including how they will support the applicant
  • the applicant has held negotiations or considered other offers to inform their decision of the chosen host

Resources and cost justification

Has the applicant 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

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Has the applicant identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations, and how they will be managed.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility, content or remit of a funding opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact postdoc.fellowships@bbsrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

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

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email postdoc.fellowships@bbsrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your UKRI Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual 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, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

A webinar was held on 14 March 2023, where we provided more information about the funding opportunity and gave attendees a chance to ask questions. Please note this webinar was held for the 2023 Discovery Fellowships funding opportunity, and as a result, some of this information may now be out of date.

Watch the webinar recording (via Zoom).

Passcode: 99yZtj!R

Read the webinar frequently asked questions document (PDF, 309KB).

Global Talent visa

All successful applicants who require a visa are eligible for a Global Talent visa under the ‘exceptional promise’ category for future research leaders.

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

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 184KB)
2024 BBSRC Fellowship Scheme terms of award (PDF, 161KB)

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