Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: BBSRC Discovery Fellowships 2023

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

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

You are not eligible to apply if you hold or have held any post or position at lecturer level (or equivalent in an institution other than a university).

The fellowship must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £500,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project must be within BBSRC’s remit.

This is the only Discovery Fellowship funding opportunity open in 2023.

Your fellowship will last 3 years. You can choose to work full time or part time. Part-time fellowships will be pro rata.

Who can 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.

The fellowship must be held in the UK at:

  • approved UK higher education institutions
  • approved research council institutes
  • independent research organisations

Find full details of approved research organisations.

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

  • recent 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 2023.

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-investigator are eligible to apply, provided they still meet all eligibility criteria.

You may only submit 1 application for a BBSRC Discovery Fellowship 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 Discovery 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 principal investigator, 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 principal investigator or co-investigator, you are also not eligible to apply.

Prospective applicants unsure of their eligibility status should email support@funding-service.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 Discovery 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 Discovery 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

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

Discovery 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 3-year fellowship on a full-time basis would equate to a 6-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 and BBSRC’s equality, diversity and inclusion action policy.

What we're looking for

Scope

Through our Discovery Fellowships, BBSRC 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 support@funding-service.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

Discovery Fellowship awards are for 3 years and must start by 1 July 2024.

You must ensure that your proposed start date is realistic, taking account of the period required to process the application.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £500,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

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

Funding cannot be used to support:

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

Choice of institution

BBSRC places 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 Discovery Fellows, BBSRC requires the head of department to describe the package of support from the host organisation.

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

BBSRC recognises 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 Trusted Research for more information on effective international collaboration.

How to apply

You must apply using the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) new Funding Service.

We recommend you start your application early.

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

Information for research office professionals

If an application is created by a member of an organisation where we do not currently have contact details with their research office, we will contact them to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every funding service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit applications, which must be received by 25 May 2023 4:00pm UK time

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation applying for this funding opportunity, but have not already received an invitation to open an account, email support@funding-service.ukri.org

As an administrator, you will be responsible for the final submission of the application to UKRI and ensuring internal deadlines are made clear to applicants from your organisation. To hear more about the role of administrators, and the current functionality of the new funding service and how it will further develop, please see a recording of the most recent research office webinar.

For applicants

What follows is the essence of the sections and questions you will need to complete and answer on the UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

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.

You will need to take the following steps to apply:

  1. Select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page.
  2. This will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a 2-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in this section of ‘How to apply’. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers.
  4. Once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.

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 25 May 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

General text on 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.

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

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: 550

Applicants

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

  • fellow
  • technician

Vision

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the work you are seeking funding for:

  • 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
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section it is expected you also:

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

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 2,100

Approach

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
  • 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
  • describes how your research environment (in terms of the place, its location, reputation, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the work
  • provide detail about the negotiations held or other offers considered that informed the decision of the chosen host (for example consideration of mentorship schemes, training courses and financial support)

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count 3,000

Project plan

Provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan and timelines.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Project deliverables, including timelines, milestones, and the resourcing necessary to deliver the proposed work in the form of a Gantt chart or similar aide (1-page A4 PDF). Upload instructions will be provided in the service.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

References and resources

List the references you’ve use to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure your application is a self-contained description. References should be linked to relevant text by, for example, sequential numbering and superscript reference numbers embedded in the body of the document.

The citation of preprints is acceptable, see Access to research outputs

Within the list of references, URL links to relevant publications or online resources are allowed if they do not extend the case for support. 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 700

Applicant capability to deliver

How will this fellowship develop you and your career?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide evidence that you have:

  • outlined an appropriate plan to develop skills, like leadership, communication, and management, as part of achieving your potential
  • outlined how you will become an ambassador or advocate in your field or research area
  • outlined how you will become a more independent professional in your developing career

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Applicant capability to deliver

Why do you think you are suitable for this fellowship? Complete this section using the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) module headings.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should use each heading once, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You can enter ‘N/A’ for any you think irrelevant, and will not be penalised for doing so, but it is recommended that you carefully consider the breadth of your experience.

This includes:

  • 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 (you can use this heading to provide information that provides context to the wider application, such as detail of career breaks. It is not a requirement)

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format. You can refer to important publications as an example of contributions, but you should avoid listing all publications.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 2,500

Applicant eligibility

Provide confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria for the BBSRC Discovery Fellowship.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria and that you do not currently hold, or have previously 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

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 50

Host support: head of department statement and package of support

Describe the reasoning behind supporting the applicant and describe the package of support from the host organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

This should be provided by the proposed head of department (in discussion with the applicant) on behalf of the host department and organisation and uploaded as a PDF file (2-pages A4 maximum).

This should include:

  • a signed statement of support from the research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed and why the host organisation wishes to support the applicant in their BBSRC fellowship application
  • evidence of support from the principal investigator of the proposed host research group
  • evidence of funding that will be provided to support the fellowship and evidence of access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the work proposed
  • details of the negotiations held with the applicant

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 10

Project partners: contributions

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, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 500

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

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

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, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

If you have named project partners in the previous ‘contributions’ section, enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

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
  • refer to BBSRC’s guide for more guidance

Please do not provide letters of support from host research organisations.

Unless specifically requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

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

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 10

Data collection or acquisition

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Intellectual property rights (IPR)

Provide a brief description of the intellectual assets underpinning the proposed work.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include any IPR if appropriate. If your IPR is a patent, please include the patent number or numbers along with a summary scope of the claims. BBSRC recognises that not all applications to the Discovery Fellowships will have a patent or other IPR.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 500

Outsourcing

Are you outsourcing any Discovery Fellowship activity?

If you are not, enter ‘N/A’ in the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next question.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

UKRI recognises that in some instances, it may be appropriate to outsource or sub-contract elements of the proposed work. If that is the case in this application, please provide the following information:

  • the scope of the outsourced activity, that means what is being undertaken and what will be delivered
  • the relevance of the outsourced activity to the application
  • why the outsourced activity cannot be undertaken in-house
  • why this provider is the most appropriate
  • the cost or costs of the outsourced activity and the tendering process that has been followed

Please provide any goods and services quotations.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Facilities

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you will need to use a facility, you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Also, 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, provide:

  • the name of facility
  • a description of the type of access they are granting you, for example: hours, units or value requested
  • an explanation of how you will use the facility in your research

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 100

Resources and cost justification

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Download and complete the full economic costings template (DOCX, 66KB) and then upload it as explained.

Using the text box, 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 on the basis of 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 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.

The costs for meeting training needs should be included and fellows should ensure that training activities are carried out. In addition, Discovery fellows are required to attend some mandatory events, conferences and other meetings arranged by BBSRC to discuss progress under the fellowship. Some of these costs must be budgeted for at the proposal stage (see ‘Annex 2’ in the fellowship award terms and conditions).

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 1,400

Genetic and biological risk

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, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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 3 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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Research involving the use of animals

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, mark this section as complete and do the same for the next question.

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, write ‘Yes’ in the text box. Then, download and complete the animal research question template (DOCX, 52KB), 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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 10

Conducting research with animal overseas

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, mark as complete and move to the next question.

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, you should select the relevant checklist or checklists from the following list below, complete it and save it as a PDF and use the file upload feature to attach. If you need to complete more than 1 checklist, you should merge them into a single document and then save it as a PDF before uploading it.

Additional questions on the use of rodents overseas (DOCX, 49KB)

Additional questions on the use of rabbits overseas (DOCX, 49KB)

Additional questions on the use of sheep overseas (DOCX, 51KB)

Additional questions on the use of goats overseas (DOCX, 47KB)

Additional questions on the use of pigs overseas (DOCX, 51KB)

Additional questions on the use of cattle overseas (DOCX, 57KB)

Additional questions on the use of Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis overseas (DOCX, 57KB)

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 10

Research involving human participation

Will the project involve the use of human subjects?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

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, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Personal information

Will your research require personal information about human participants to be used?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

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.

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 700

Sensitive information relating to you as an applicant

Use this section to provide us with sensitive information you need to tell us that you do not want shared with assessors.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not need to tell us anything, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please enter the words ‘email sent’ in the text box. Then, contact the funding service helpdesk on support@funding-service.ukri.org and include your application name and number in the subject line, after the pre-populated words ‘sensitive information’.

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • an applicant is unavailable until a certain date
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the track record
  • conflict of interest for BBSRC to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection.

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

Please note, external web links are not permitted in this section.

Word count: 10

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 criteria for this funding opportunity.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite the committee to collectively review your application against the 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.

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
  • describes how their research environment (in terms of the place, its location and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the proposed work

Applicant capability to deliver

Has the applicant provided evidence of:

  • research outputs, impact, and achievements relative to the level of research experience and the context in which they have been working
  • scientific independence, relative to their experience. Please consider any evidence provided that demonstrates how the applicant is moving towards independent research
  • how the fellowship will advance their career
  • how they might positively influence research culture
  • leadership and development of others
  • continued professional development activities

Host institution support

Is there evidence that:

  • the applicant has carefully considered the choice of host institution in terms of the scientific infrastructure and environment
  • the applicant has carefully considered the additional support, the opportunity to develop new skills, and the support for career development present at the host institution
  • the host institution has offered significant research support, financial support, or in-kind support (for example, additional financial support, access to core facilities)
  • the host institution has offered significant and career development support to the applicant (for example, access to mentoring programmes and training events)

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.

Outcomes

You will be notified of the funding decisions by email following the assessment process.

Feedback

We will provide panel feedback to all applicants by email.

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 and help applying through the Funding Service

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 and Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Additional info

Discovery Fellowship videos

Credit: BBSRC

On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

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.

Watch the webinar recording (via Zoom).

Passcode: 99yZtj!R

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

Supporting documents

2023 Discovery Fellowships terms of award (PDF, 518KB)

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 315KB)

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback.