The BBSRC-STFC facility access funding for bioscience partnerships opportunity is a joint funded programme by BBSRC and STFC. It will support the UK bioscience researchers and businesses in accessing and benefitting from access to STFC skills, expertise, capabilities and world class facilities.
Overall, the ambition is to support businesses and academic researchers to undertake collaborative research and development (R&D) which is focused on solving industrially-relevant research and innovation challenges. This will be through engaging with the unique national capabilities and facilities at STFC.
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, and Daresbury, specifically including:
- neutrons: 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: acquire high-resolution data to accelerate drug discovery, design and development. This includes gathering 3-dimensional structure data of macromolecular drug targets and their ligands for drug target identification, and investigate the size, stability and conformation of macromolecules in solution
- 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. Or watch how chemical and biochemical changes in materials happen in real-time
- high performance computing: access to computing resources, from classic computing for molecular simulations (for example, structural drug representations and molecular docking), to data analysis of complex datasets looking for significant correlations, to drug interaction and stability both in the formulation and in solution
Projects are expected to cost up to £100,000. They can be undertaken any time over a 12-month period (subject to scheduling of STFC facilities) starting 1 April 2023 and ending 31 March 2024.
Projects must consist of a partnership between at least 1 eligible academic organisation and at least 1 eligible business organisation.
This programme will fund access to STFC facilities and staff expertise as part of the total project cost. BBSRC and STFC will cover 100% of the facility costs, and 80% of the full economic cost of the academic component.
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, as seen in the following table:
||Company size criteria
||Company contribution to total project cost (based on STFC facility costs)
||Staff headcount less than 10
Turnover less than or equal to £2m or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £2m
||Staff headcount less than 50
Turnover less than or equal to £10m or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £10m
||Staff headcount less than 250
Turnover less than or equal to £50m or balance sheet total of less than or equal to £43m
||Staff headcount more than 250
Turnover more than £50m or balance sheet total of more than £43m
This may be an in-kind or direct contribution to the project cost.
The programme will cover the academic component at 80% full economic cost, with your research organisation covering the other 20%.
This pilot funding opportunity aims to fund academic-industry collaborative 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, which 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.
Business applicants need to clearly articulate how solving their challenge will create wider economic, societal, or commercial outcomes, and routes to market or use.
We will not fund projects relating to:
- market analysis
- fundamental research which is not industrially relevant
- standard testing and measurement services readily available commercially or via academic partners
This competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to subsidy control.
Under the standard terms and conditions for this competition, applicants 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, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
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.
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.
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 appropriate guidelines (section 4.14 to 4.40).