Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Bioinformatics and biological resources: 2022 (22BBR)

Start application

Apply for funding to establish, maintain and enhance bioinformatics and biological resources to support the UK bioscience research community.

You must hold a research staff appointment at lecturer level, or equivalent, at a research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

Your project must involve a new or existing community resource that:

  • has significant demand or an established user base
  • is primarily within the remit of BBSRC

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £2 million. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Projects must start no earlier than 1 July 2023 and can last up to five years.

Who can apply

Standard eligibility criteria apply to this funding opportunity, as set out in section three of the BBSRC research grants guide. Unless otherwise stated, UKRI standard terms and conditions for research grants apply to 22BBR.

Principal investigators and co-investigators must hold a research staff appointment at least lecturer level (or equivalent) and meet the standard BBSRC eligibility criteria.

Institutions and researchers normally eligible for BBSRC funding include, but not limited to:

  • higher education institutions
  • strategically funded institutes
  • eligible independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments.

Applications from organisations or individuals that are not eligible will be rejected without reference to peer review.

Check if you and your organisation are eligible for research and innovation funding.

Research technical professionals

BBSRC recognises the value of technical expertise to the UK research workforce. The potential for staff development and training (including postdoctoral, technical and support staff) will be assessed by the panel.

BBSRC particularly supports recognition of the contributions of research technicians and technology and skills specialists, and encourages you to cost them appropriately on applications. Please refer to the UKRI statement of expectations for technology/skills specialists (PDF, 30KB).

As the first funder to sign the Technician Commitment, UKRI recognises the value of technical expertise to the UK research workforce and is committed to ensuring ‘visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.

Research software engineers

BBSRC notes the significant contribution of staff such as research software engineers and equivalent roles to interdisciplinary computational projects. We support recognition of their contributions and encourage applicants to name and cost them appropriately on applications.

For any queries about eligibility, please contact eligibility@bbsrc.ukri.org before submitting your application.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

BBSRC is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion by eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, aligning with UKRI’s draft equality diversity and inclusion strategy and the UK government Research and Development (R&D) People and Culture Strategy.

You are encouraged to leverage the full strengths of the UK’s diverse research and innovation community from the earliest stages of assembling your teams through to the delivery of awarded projects.

Consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion is important for all applications to BBSRC for funding, but particular care should be taken for projects taking a team science approach involving multiple co-applicants, as is often the case with grants supported through the Bioinformatics and Biological Resources (BBR) scheme.

What we're looking for

BBSRC recognises the UK bioscience community need for access to state-of-the-art bioinformatics and biological infrastructure, facilities, and resources, in order to facilitate ground-breaking research in an internationally competitive environment.

The bioinformatics and biological resources (BBR) fund addresses this need by providing support to both bioinformatics and biological resources.

Bioinformatics resources enable:

  • management, analysis and sharing of large or complex datasets
  • development of novel software community resources that provide state-of-the-art, maintained tools for deeper analysis of existing datasets, and facilitate greater understanding of biological systems by the UK bioscience community at large, for example, databases or software suites.

Biological resources provide access to materials that underpin cutting edge bioscience research, for example:

  • culture and germplasm collections
  • mutant lines
  • DNA samples
  • clones
  • genetic libraries.

Scope

The BBR fund supports the following types of applications:

  • establishment and maintenance of a new and innovative resource that will be beneficial to a broader BBSRC user base
  • maturation and subsequent maintenance of a project-based resource into a community-based one
  • further development or essential maintenance of an existing community resource, with well-established access mechanisms, to increase its relevance to a broader BBSRC user community, for example, enhancing utility by enabling the resource to meet FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles
  • association, or integration, of distinct resources that will enhance their utility and create an upgraded resource with a greater value than the sum of the parts.

Proposals should ensure that the majority of the supported research and user community is primarily within the remit of BBSRC. In particular, proposals for biomedical resources should ensure that the majority of their user community is relevant to bioscience underpinning health. If you’re unsure about fit to BBSRC remit for BBR, please do contact bbr.fund@bbsrc.ukri.org

For more information about BBSRC-relevant research, please refer to the recently published BBSRC strategic delivery plan. Additional information around how fit to scope is assessed for BBR can be found in the assessment criteria document (PDF, 63KB).

While support for resources through the BBR fund are intended to mainly benefit UK researchers, it is recognised that internationally leading resources will also have significant portions of their user base outside of the UK. Resources with a significant impact and demand from the available potential users within the UK research base fit the scope of the opportunity better than resources that serve a broad international community in which the UK has a relatively small user base.

This opportunity will follow the standard guidelines for research grant applications for BBSRC as described in the BBSRC research grants guide.

Out of scope

Proposals in the following areas will not be accepted:

  • proposals where the majority of the supported research and user community falls outside of the remit of BBSRC, for example, medical science
  • projects with an exclusive research focus, some elements of research can be included, but they need to focus on enhancing the resource to address developing user needs
  • projects that focus solely on data creation without addressing wider resource aspects, for example, sequencing projects without direct engagement in the resource (in the UK or globally) that will hold the data
  • resources already suitably supported via other means
  • principal beneficiaries are outside of the UK
  • archive-only resources without active usage
  • collections of preserved, non-recoverable specimens, for example, herbaria, formalin-fixed material.

If you are unsure whether your application fits sufficiently within the remit of BBSRC or the scope of the opportunity, please contact us well in advance of the deadline at bbr.fund@bbsrc.ukri.org

You should note:

  • the New Investigator, Industrial Partnership Award and LINK schemes do not apply to this opportunity.
  • requests for studentships cannot be included as part of a 22BBR application.

How to apply

Applications should be made through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

When applying select:

  • council: BBSRC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund
  • call/type/mode: 2022 Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund.

Attachments

In addition to the Je-S form, the following attachments should be included:

  • case for support (up to eight pages)
  • justification of resources (two pages)
  • data management plan (DMP) (up to three pages, data management plan template (DOCX, 40KB)
    • if you opt not to use the template for your plan, the topics listed in the template must be addressed in the DMP document you do provide
  • diagrammatic workplan (one page)
  • management structure (one page)
  • Team Résumé for Research and Innovation (DOCX, 33KB) (total of three pages)
  • community letters of support or demand (up to 10 pages)
  • proposal cover letter and eligibility confirmation.

For detailed guidance on how to prepare each of these attachments, please carefully follow the attached guidance documents and associated downloads.

To ensure a proposal is submitted on time, we suggest that it should be sent to your institution’s Je-S submitter pool in sufficient time in accordance with your institution’s guidance. Please note that we are unable to accept late submissions.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Applications will be subject to external expert peer review and you will be provided with an opportunity to respond to reviewers’ comments.

You will be able to suggest up to four peer reviewers as part of the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system proforma.

Overall assessment will be conducted by a panel of experts covering scientific, managerial, technical and user aspects of resource provision. You should expect a decision within eight weeks of the panel meeting.

We do not seek to implement a sift, but BBSRC reserves the right to do so if required to moderate demand to a manageable level.

New and existing resources

Applications for both new and existing resources are assessed as part of the same process. While similar in principle, the potential and promise of a new resource and the demonstrable user need of an existing resource are not necessarily directly comparable.

A new resource is defined as a proposal where the project focus is on development of a new resource that:

  • is needed by a community of researchers in the BBSRC remit
  • does not currently exist elsewhere.

This would usually also apply to the development of a project-based resource into a community-based one.

An existing resource is a proposal with an existing user base where project focus is either on further development or essential maintenance to safeguard functionality, whatever is required to retain ‘state-of-the-art’ functionality for the community in question.

An existing resource does not need to have previously received funding by BBSRC or the bioinformatics and biological resources (BBR) fund.

Assessment criteria

Initially the BBSRC office will assess whether applications are primarily within the remit of BBSRC and fit within the scope of the BBR fund.

Only those proposals falling within scope and primarily within BBSRC’s remit will be sent out to peer review and assessed by the panel. If you’re unsure about fit to BBSRC remit for BBR, please do contact bbr.fund@bbsrc.ukri.org

The panel stage will assess all applications using the following assessment criteria:

  • scientific excellence and strategic relevance of the resource
  • cost effectiveness, particularly considerations for long-term sustainability beyond BBSRC funding
  • potential for economic and social impact beyond the academic community
  • fit to the scope of the opportunity
  • quality of the overall arrangements for resource management, advisory functions, as well as user access and engagement
  • need or demand and potential benefit to the UK academic research community.

Assessment criteria adapted to new or existing resources

To allow for a more nuanced assessment between new and existing resources, the use of the following assessment criteria will be adapted accordingly:

  • quality of the overall arrangements for resource management, advisory functions, as well as user access and engagement
  • need or demand, and potential benefit to the UK academic research community.

More detail on the criteria can be found in the assessment criteria document (PDF, 63KB).

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

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.

Ask about this funding opportunity (external queries)

Email: bbr.fund@bbsrc.ukri.org

Ask about this funding opportunity (internal queries)

Email: bbr.fund@bbsrc.ukri.org

Philip Hubbard

Email: philip.hubbard@bbsrc.ukri.org

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

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.

Panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of those individuals included in the proposal. 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

Bioinformatics and biological resources (BBR) fund guidance (PDF, 124KB)
Data management plan template (DOCX, 40KB)
BBR fund assessment criteria (PDF, 63KB)
Team Resume for Research and Innovation template (DOCX, 33KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.