Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: BBSRC standard research grant: welfare of managed animals

Apply for funding to support research into the welfare of managed animals.

This is an annual focus within BBSRC standard research grants and is for researchers at eligible organisations that include:

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

We will award 80% of the full economic costs of your research, and your organisation must agree to find the balance.

Projects can range in size up to £2 million and last up to five years. Funding can support a range of activities from research projects to technology development, new infrastructure and equipment, use of equipment and facilities, networks, and summer schools.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are resident in the UK for at least 183 days in a tax year and hold a lecturer or lecturer-equivalent position at a UK higher education institution, research council institute or a UKRI-approved independent research organisation.

Principal applicants must be employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level, or equivalent, or due to move to the organisation before the start date of the grant. Or if not employed, applicants must have an agreement that the research will be conducted at the submitting research organisation as if they were an employee at lecturer level, or equivalent.

Co-applicants must be employed at an eligible organisation and meet the same employment criteria.

Early career researchers

If you are an early career researcher who has:

  • held a lecturer or equivalent-level position for no more than three years full time
  • not obtained funding from any source as a principal investigator, including postdoctoral research assistant staff support costs.

You can secure your first major element of research funding through the new investigator scheme.

You will be assessed following the same procedure as other applications, however research potential rather than track record will be taken into account.

Industrial partners

Industrial partners are encouraged on all research grant applications. There are, however, two formal ways to seek support for your research if you are working with an industrial partner:

  • industrial partnership awards: academic-led research with significant industrial involvement and where an industry partner contributes in cash at least equivalent to 10% of the full economic costs of the project
  • stand-alone LINK: collaborative research with at least one company where at least 50% of the full project cost comes from industry either in cash or in-kind.

We do not fund the work of your industrial partners. Industrial partners must agree ownership and exploitation of the intellectual property at the outset and clearly define the proposed scientific and commercial results in a management framework.

See the eligibility section in our research grants guide.

What we're looking for

As part of the BBSRC standard research grants, we have an annual focus aiming to particularly promote and encourage activities within our ‘Welfare of managed animals’ strategic priority.

We recognise that the research community in this area is relatively small in comparison to many other sectors under our strategic priorities and the number of animal welfare applications to any individual responsive mode meeting is small.

As committee membership is designed to reflect the topic areas of the applications received, we encourage all welfare applications to be submitted to a single annual closing date, consequently increasing the number of relevant experts on the committee.

Please note, however, that in addition to this focus, animal welfare applications are welcome for any future grant round of the BBSRC standard research grants.


Applications are required to fit under the remit of the ‘Welfare of managed animals’ strategic priority which includes:

  • companion animals
  • farmed animals
  • lab animals
  • zoo animals.

Read the full scope for this strategic priority.

Find out more about the BBSRC portfolio.

We particularly welcome approaches that encourage collaborative research with users, research that informs public policy, and international partnerships.

You should pay particular attention to the potential impacts of your research.

Funding of up to £2 million is available for up to five years for:

  • research projects, including technology development projects
  • equipment or use of existing facilities
  • new facilities or infrastructure
  • research networks and coordination
  • summer schools.

Working with Brazilian researchers

You can apply to work on projects with Brazilian researchers based at higher education and research organisations eligible for support from the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). Proposals must be in fields supported by both BBSRC and FAPESP. Funding for the work of Brazilian scientists on the project is funded by FAPESP.

More about working with Brazilian scientists (PDF, 34KB).

More about FAPESP.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) before 16:00 on the day of the deadline.

When applying select:

  • council: BBSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: responsive mode
  • call/type/mode: select appropriate call.

If you are applying for the new investigator, FAPESP, LINK or industrial partnership awards, you should also select ‘grant type’ in the document menu and then select the relevant classification: new investigator, FAPESP, LINK or industrial partnership award.

Applications for LINK and industrial partnership awards should also be accompanied by letters from the institution’s technology transfer office and from the industry partner outlining the terms, value and benefits of the partnership.

You must nominate the relevant BBSRC research committee to review your application. Our scientifically qualified staff will check your choice and make a final decision on which research committee should peer review your application.

We recommend that you apply well before the next deadline: 13 January 2021, 16:00.

See the Je-S handbook for advice on completing applications to BBSRC.

Please read the full BBSRC guidance on research grants before applying.

Applying with Brazilian partners

For applications under the FAPESP agreement, you must apply with a joint proposal for both partners and include:

  • a covering letter confirming the proposal is to be considered under the BBSRC-FAPESP agreement (see UKRI-FAPESP lead agency agreement guidance (PDF, 260KB))
  • CVs of all named researchers in both countries
  • a FAPESP-consolidated budget spreadsheet completed by the São Paulo researchers included as a letter of support in Je-S
  • a completed FAPESP research proposal form included as a letter of support in Je-S.

How we will assess your application

Assessment follows the same process as other BBSRC standard research grant applications.

Your application is first assessed by external reviewers appointed by us. You must suggest four independent reviewers from outside your institution that you have not recently collaborated with.

The principal investigator will have an opportunity to respond to comments from reviewers. Your application will then be considered by our research committee made up of independent experts on animal disease, health and welfare.

BBSRC committees have a core membership of relevant UK and overseas experts from academia, government and/or industry. We also call on a further pool of experts to assess applications.

Research committee meetings to assess applications take place on 9-10 February 2021.

Your application is assessed on:

  • scientific excellence
  • industrial and stakeholder relevance
  • relevance to BBSRC strategy
  • economic and social impact
  • timeliness and promise
  • value for money
  • staff training potential of the project (where resources are requested for postdoctoral or other research staff).

We lead on assessing joint proposals with Brazilian scientists with input from FAPESP.

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