Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: BBSRC-STFC facility access funding for bioscience partnerships round two (invite only)

Apply for this invitation-only opportunity, for UK business and academic partnerships, supporting access to STFC expertise and world class facilities to solve industrially relevant bioscience challenges.

The full proposal stage requires both an academic and UK business partner to support the application.

BBSRC and STFC will cover 100% of the facility costs, and 80% of the full economic cost of the academic component.

The maximum award from BBSRC and STFC for your project is £100,000, including academic costs (at 80%) and facility costs (at 100%).

Projects can last up to one-year in duration.

Who can apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if we have invited you to do so following a successful expression of interest.

Who is eligible to apply

To be eligible for funding at the full proposal stage, we require a suitable academic-business partnership.

To be eligible as the UK business partner, you must:

  • be a UK based business registered at Companies House
  • have a manufacturing base for the relevant product in the UK or provide the relevant service in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results of the research in the UK

To be eligible as the academic partner, you must be from one of the following organisations:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • Research council institutes
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) approved independent research organisations
  • Public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity

We will be able to provide advice and guidance into finding an academic partner if you do not already have one.

Who is not eligible to apply

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

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.

Please note, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) facility staff are not eligible as academic partners.

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

Aim

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-STFC facility access funding for bioscience partnerships round two is a joint funded programme by BBSRC and STFC. It will support UK bioscience researchers and businesses to access and benefit from STFC skills, expertise, capabilities and world class facilities.

Scope

This funding opportunity aims to fund academic-industry collaborative research and development (R&D) partnerships undertaking industrially relevant research and innovation on bioscience and biotechnology within BBSRC’s remit.

The programme is intended to foster impactful collaborations, supporting excellent, world-leading discovery research and innovation. This has clear benefit to the businesses involved, through direct access and use of STFC facilities and expertise.

The programme is setup specifically to assist academic-industry collaborative R&D partnerships in accelerating the development of new products or services which require further research and innovation at proof-of-concept stage.

These collaborations will be supported in accessing and working with STFC’s large scale facilities, advanced analytical technologies, and high-performance computing or data expertise.

The programme provides support and access to advanced analytical technologies, expertise, and capabilities, located at STFC’s large scale science facilities around the UK including Harwell, Daresbury, and Whitby.

Neutrons

You can:

  • study structure and dynamics of materials at the atomic scale, including organic systems, the interaction of antimicrobials with pathogen membranes, or toxins from pathogens with models of mammalian and plant membranes

X-rays

You can:

  • acquire high resolution data to understand the structure and function of macromolecular complexes to accelerate drug discovery, design and development
  • investigate formulation microstructure and behaviour under a range of conditions, follow chemical changes in biologically relevant processes or to visualise the effect of vaccines or therapeutics within whole cells

Lasers

Extensive laser-based techniques to:

  • understand everything from single-molecule transport in biological systems to environmental changes and chemical pathways in cells, tissues and biomaterials
  • watch how chemical and biochemical changes in materials happen in real-time

High performance computing

You can have access to computing resources, including:

  • classic computing for molecular simulations (for example, structural drug representations and molecular docking)
  • data analysis of complex datasets looking for significant correlations
  • drug interaction and stability both in the formulation and in solution

Scientific computing

You can have access to:

  • advanced computing expertise and digital research infrastructure
  • expertise in developing software for processing experimental biological data, high-performance computing infrastructure, data storage systems and artificial intelligence for science

Working with the Scientific Computing department contributes to the fundamental understanding of how genes and proteins operate, and has applications in drug development, crop science and environmental monitoring.

Deep underground science facility

A rare opportunity to undertake science in an ultra-low background environment, largely free of interference from natural radiation on the Earth’s surfaces.

You can use gamma spectroscopy to study and measure trace levels of radioactivity in samples with various biological tracing and authenticity applications, or study the effect of radiation in biological matter.

You are invited to submit a full proposal application aiming to address industry challenges relating to BBSRC’s three strategic challenges:

  • integrated understanding of health
  • advanced manufacturing and clean growth
  • sustainable agriculture and food

As a result of feedback gained from the pilot round of the programme, previous research and innovation carried out at the facilities has been used to develop illustrative examples. These are based on work that has been previously undertaken at a selection of the facilities which is of relevance to bioscience and biotechnology supported across the breadth of BBSRC remit.

These are examples which are only intended to inspire and inform collaborations and discussions, helping to guide the development of proposals on a wide variety of ideas that explore biology, or apply the biosciences to solve significant challenges.

An integrated understanding of health

Examples include:

  • using small angle X-ray scattering to characterise the solution structure of biopharmaceuticals under close to native state conditions to contribute to the understanding of enzyme behaviour
  • using advanced computer platforms to investigate genomic signatures of food borne pathogens, such as E. coli or campylobacter, to understand pathogenicity in relation to food safety
  • using small-angle neutron scattering to obtain in-depth information on the structure of drug delivery systems. For example, nucleic acid-based nanomedicines with the aim of rationally designing formulations for improved and targeted delivery
  • using 2D IR-spectrometry to investigate the dynamics of complex biological systems such as proteins to support drug design

Advanced manufacturing and clean growth

Examples include:

  • using X-rays to investigate and understand the behaviour of biobased formulation ingredients in developing sustainable cleaning products
  • using simulations and high-performance computing to understand the balance of proteins and vitamins in the skin microbiome to develop new skin hygiene products
  • using a low background radiation underground laboratory environment to study the effects of radiation on biological matter

Sustainable agriculture and food

Examples include:

  • using high-performance computing and machine learning to analyse large datasets about the soil microbiome to explain causal relationships that determine crop yield and soil health
  • using neutron tomography to visualise plant roots and water distribution in three dimensions, to better understand interactions between plant roots and the soil around them
  • using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy to investigate the cell wall structure between different potato breeds to determine how to reduce oil content in crisp production
  • using shielded low background gamma-ray spectrometers to analyse naturally occurring radioactive isotopes to prove the authenticity of Welsh lamb

Duration

The duration of this award is up to one year.

Projects can be undertaken any time over a 12 month period (subject to scheduling of STFC facilities) starting 1 April 2024 and ending 31 March 2025.

Projects must end by 31 March 2025.

Funding available

We will cover 100% of the facility costs, and 80% of the full economic cost of the academic component.

The maximum award for your project is £100,000, including academic costs (at 80%) and facility costs (at 100%).

Companies are expected to provide a contribution (that may be in kind or direct) based on a percentage of the STFC facility cost. This is dependent on company size. We use the Companies House Act 2006 definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as per the table below.

Company size Company size criteria Company contribution to total project cost (based on STFC facility costs)
Micro Staff headcount less than 10

Turnover less than or equal to £632,000 or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £316,000

30%
Small Staff headcount less than 50

Turnover less than or equal to £10.2 million or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £5.1 million

30%
Medium Staff headcount less than 250

Turnover less than or equal to £36 million or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £18 million

40%
Large Staff headcount more than 250

Turnover more than £36 million or
balance sheet total of more than £18 million

50%

This may be an in-kind or direct cash contribution to the project cost.

What we will not fund

  • market analysis
  • fundamental research which is not industrially relevant
  • standard testing and measurement services readily available commercially or via academic partners

Subsidy control

This funding opportunity provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to subsidy control.

Under the standard terms and conditions for this funding opportunity, you are wholly responsible for declaring and managing all potential subsidy control matters as part of the assessment process.

Further information about the UK subsidy control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement (PDF, 444KB) and the subsequent guidance from the Department of Business and Trade.

Please be aware that EU state aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances.

Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK subsidy control regime or the state aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must at all times make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current subsidy control legislation applicable in the UK.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the UK or any other country or countries.
If there are any changes to these requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Ethical considerations

UK Research and Innovation requires research to be conducted to the highest ethical standards. Researchers must provide clear justification in their proposals for the use of animals in research.

Proposals received to this funding opportunity which make use of animals will be reviewed for adherence to the appropriate guidelines.

How to apply

Stage one: expression of interest

The initial expression of interest stage required companies to submit a concise (approximately 500 words) ‘challenge statement’ describing their problem.

Successful applicants at this stage will have been invited to the next stage of the application.

Stage two: full proposal

If successful at expression of interest stage, you will work together with STFC scientists and business development managers to develop a fully costed project proposal.

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.

Please note that the application must be completed by the academic partner, and it is important that the application is started by the project lead. While, the project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

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

To apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if we have invited you to do so following a successful expression of interest application. The start application link will be provided via email from business.unit@bbsrc.ukri.org

  1. Follow the link in the email to the Funding Service and confirm you are the project lead.
  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
  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. If using visual references, 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)
  • files must be smaller than 8MB 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

We must receive your application by 8 February 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 additional 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

As part of UKRI, we 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

We will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at STFC Board and panel outcomes.

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:

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

Only list one individual as project lead.

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

Application questions

Vision and Approach

Create a document that includes your responses to all criteria. The document should not be more than 4 sides of A4, single spaced in paper in 11-point Arial (or equivalent sans serif font) with margins of at least 2cm. You may include images, graphs, tables. You can have an additional page for the inclusion of a Gantt chart.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Vision and Approach’.

Save this document as a single PDF file, no bigger than 8MB. Unless specifically requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

What are you hoping to achieve with, and how will you deliver, your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

For the Vision, explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent scientific quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs within the scientific field

Within the Vision section, we also expect you to:

  • briefly describe the problem (as per your challenge statement)
  • describe the direct and indirect academic beneficiaries from the research.

For the Approach, explain how you have designed your work so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible and comprehensively identifies risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable.
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

Within the Approach section, we also expect you to:

  • clearly define any goals or project deliverables
  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan, including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar
  • provide comprehensive details about the risks which are on the critical pathway to the project succeeding of the project, including:
    • a risk assessment matrix
    • how likely the risks are
    • how the risks will be managed

Partnership

Word limit: 750

Why is the proposed industry-academia partnership well suited to solve the challenge?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work justifies the need for the partnership by demonstrating:

  • how the available expertise from both the industry and academic partners will be maximally utilised to generate meaningful benefits for both partners
  • how effective collaboration will be facilitated throughout the duration of the project
  • a clear potential for knowledge exchange
  • substantive shared interests indicating the potential for a longer-term collaboration

Within the Partnership section we also expect you to:

  • describe the expertise of the partners and how these relate to the challenge

Facilities

Word limit: 750

Does STFC have the relevant expertise and facilities to tackle the problem?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • utilises the relevant expertise and facilities on offer to approach the problem
  • leverages unique or uncommon facilities, skillsets and expertise that are not readily available at contract laboratories, universities, or other large research organisations

It is expected that this question will be completed in collaboration with the facility or facilities you propose to work with.

Potential for impact

Word limit: 1,000

What are the potential impacts of the proposed project for the partner company and wider community, how and when will these be achieved?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Discuss the proposal’s potential and mechanism for achieving a realistic set of anticipated benefits for the company and wider community that:

  • are well understood and clearly described
  • are likely to succeed
  • represent a high economic return on investment within a reasonable timeframe

Within the Potential for impact section, we also expect you to:

  • highlight, and where possible estimate the potential value (in £) of, benefits for the partner company. For example, any anticipated:
    • increase in revenue from sales
    • increase in revenue from licensing
    • increase in revenue from exports
    • improvements to the quality of products or services and the resulting impact to the company
    • increase in employment of staff
    • improvements to company productivity including efficiency improvements in production processes, cost reductions in products or skilled services or greater outputs from the same or reduced inputs
    • technological advancements leading to a greater competitive advantage for the company. It should be indicated whether this advantage is limited to the UK or is applicable world-wide
    • acceleration of route to market for a product or service, and if so, how?
  • highlight any potential benefits for the wider community. You could discuss:
    • benefits of the project more widely within the industry, for example, any improvements to how the industry operates and the potential for uptake of any outputs of the project by other companies
    • benefits more widely to the company’s local geographical region. For example, this may include strengthening industry in the area, stimulating research and development and increasing investment
    • any additional benefits that have not been previously described such as increased competitiveness of UK industry, a reduction in imports into the UK, improved environmental benefits (for example, reduction in waste going to landfill), and workforce upskilling
  • consider the timescale over which you would you expect to realise the benefits described. Provide specific and measurable information if possible. As an approximate guide:
    • a proposal scoring at the lower end of this assessment criteria will expect to accomplish the proposed benefits in a timeframe of ten-years or greater
    • a proposal scoring at the upper end of this assessment criteria will expect to accomplish the proposed benefits in a timeframe of two years or less
  • include evidence that the proposal would represent good value for money if successfully completed. As an approximate guide:
    • a proposal scoring at the lower end of this assessment criteria will have estimated economic return to investment ratio of less than 1.0
    • a proposal scoring at the upper end of this assessment criteria will have estimated economic return to investment ratio of greater than 10.0
    • the estimated economic return to investment is calculated by dividing the value of the project to the company by the value of the programme investment in the project

It is expected that this question will be completed in collaboration with the company lead.

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:

  • project staff
  • 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 resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Facility and industry costs will be captured in the Project partner section.

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

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 and facility 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. 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

Save letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

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 and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Your organisation’s support

Word limit: 10

Provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a Statement of Support from your research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed. This should include details of any additional funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work.

The committee will be looking for a strong statement of commitment from your research organisation.

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
  • confirm the position and contract length, as per eligibility rules, of the lead applicant

Upload details are provided within the Funding Service on the actual application.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

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.

The data management plan should explain how the data will be managed over the lifetime of the project, including the sharing of data between project partners. Where appropriate, preservation of data for future re‐use should be considered.

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

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 500

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: 10

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. 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

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 as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single 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.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 500

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: 500

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.

References

Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your full stage proposal using the following process.

Panel

We will invite experts to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications.

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria :

Vision and Approach

The panel will assess whether the proposal:

  • is of excellent scientific quality and importance within or beyond the fields or area
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs within the scientific field

The panel will assess whether the proposal workplan:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible and comprehensively identifies risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

Partnership

The panel will assess whether the proposal justifies the need for the partnership by demonstrating whether:

  • the available expertise from both the industry and academic partners will be maximally utilised to generate meaningful benefits for both partners
  • effective collaboration will be facilitated throughout the duration of the project
  • there is a clear potential for knowledge exchange
  • there is substantive shared interests indicating the potential for a longer-term collaboration

Facilities

The panel will assess whether the proposal:

  • utilises the relevant expertise and facilities on offer to approach the problem
  • leverages unique or uncommon facilities, skillsets and expertise that are not readily available at contract laboratories, universities, or other large research organisations

Potential for impact

The panel will assess whether the proposal has:

  • potential and a suitable mechanism for achieving a realistic set of anticipated benefits for the company and wider community that:
    • are well understood and clearly described
    • are likely to succeed
    • represent a high economic return on investment within a reasonable timeframe

Each criterion will be assigned a score by the panel, based on the information provided by the applicant. The applications will then receive an overall score based on the four criteria scores. This overall score will be used to determine applications’ rankings and which projects receive funding.

STFC takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the contents of applications submitted are treated as confidential. Panel members are asked to declare conflicts of interest in relation to an application before they are asked to assess.

In the project partner section, please include each facility you intend to use as well as business partners and associated costings. These associated costings may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as staff time, cost of materials or use of facilities. Business partners are required to meet a minimum contribution to the project, based on the facility costs and company size. The contribution may be made either by an individual project partner or by a consortium. Contributions may also exceed the minimum requirements. This section is not scored but must be completed appropriately for the application to be successful. More information can be found in the ‘Funding Available’ section under the ‘What we are looking for’ heading.

We reserve the right to portfolio manage during the assessment process.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process for the full proposal within one month of receiving your application.

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 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) principles of assessment and decision making.

Collaboration agreement

Any collaborative project funded through this initiative must have a signed collaboration agreement between the business and academic partners before the start of any grant.

The business-academic partnership will also need to sign a user agreement outlining STFC standard terms and conditions for the facility (or facilities) they intend to work with. Any partnership intending to work with The Diamond Light Source will need to sign a user agreement specific to that facility.

UKRI attach great importance to the dissemination of research findings and the publishing of information about the research they support in the public domain. However, all dissemination and publication activities must be carried out in the manner that is consistent with the project’s collaboration agreement.

Assessment areas

At the full proposal stage, the assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision and approach
  • partnership
  • facilities
  • potential for impact
  • use of resources (this will not be scored but should be justified and reasonable)

Please note that information regarding full stage assessment will be provided to those applicants successful at the expression of interest stage.

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 or content/remit of an 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 business.unit@bbsrc.ukri.org

Mary Jenkinson-Finch, Business Interaction Unit, BBSRC

Email: business.unit@bbsrc.ukri.org

Include ‘BBSRC/STFC facility fund’ in the subject line.

Dymphie Webb, Business Development department, STFC

Email: dymphie.webb@stfc.ac.uk

Include ‘BBSRC/STFC facility fund’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 10 working days.

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, please contact business.unit@bbsrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your 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

Background

The following facilities will be available through the programme:

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on the 28 September 2023. This provided more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Watch the webinar.

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

BBSRC-STFC facility access funding for bioscience partnerships round two Expression of Interest (PDF, 136KB)

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