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BBSRC standard research grant

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Our standard research grants are 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 (PDF, 375KB).

What we're looking for

We support excellent research across our remit. This funding opportunity is particularly promoting and encouraging activities within our priority areas, including:

  • animal health
  • bioenergy: generating new replacement fuels for a greener, sustainable future
  • combating antimicrobial resistance
  • data-driven biology
  • food, nutrition and health
  • healthy ageing across the lifecourse
  • integrative microbiome research
  • new strategic approaches to industrial biotechnology
  • reducing waste in the food chain
  • the replacement, refinement and reduction in research using animals
  • sustainably enhancing agricultural production
  • synthetic biology
  • systems approaches to the biosciences
  • technology development for the biosciences
  • welfare of managed animals.

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 and how they fit in with the aims of our priority areas.

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.

More about our themes and priorities.

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.

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 latest deadlines.

The next deadlines are:

  • 30 September 2020, 16:00
  • 13 January 2021, 16:00 (to be confirmed)
  • 28 April 2021, 16:00 (to be confirmed)
  • 29 September 2021, 16:00 (to be confirmed).

Research committee meetings to assess applications take place on:

  • 22-23 September 2020
  • 9-10 February 2021
  • 21 May 2021 (to be confirmed)
  • 21 September 2021 (to be confirmed)
  • 22 February 2022 (to be confirmed).

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

Please read the full BBSRC guidance on research grants (PDF, 375KB) 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

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 committees made up of independent experts. These are:

  • committee A: animal disease, health and welfare
  • committee B: plants, microbes, food and sustainability
  • committee C: genes, development, and science, technology, engineering and maths approaches to biology
  • committee D: molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology.

The 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.

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.

Additional info

Supporting documents

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