Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Develop solutions for endemic livestock disease: phase two

Apply for funding to develop research ideas for addressing endemic diseases in livestock.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

All projects must include at least one business project partner.

This initiative aims to reduce the levels and impact of endemic disease on:

  • UK livestock sector productivity
  • the health and welfare of animals in the UK herd.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £1,000,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost. The business project partner must contribute at least 10% cash (or in-kind) of the full economic cost of the project.

Who can apply

Standard BBSRC eligibility criteria apply.

Research grants are open to:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-approved independent research organisations
  • UKRI-approved public sector research establishments.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

To be eligible as a principal investigator or co-investigator, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • be a resident in the UK at the time of the application (meaning you spend 183 or more days in the UK in the tax year)
  • be moving to the UK to take up an already agreed contract at an eligible organisation and remain in the UK for the duration of the proposed project (the contract must not be dependent on the outcome of the application).

You must also:

  • be employed by (or scheduled to move to) the eligible research organisation submitting the proposal
  • hold a research staff appointment at the organisation at academic lecturer level or equivalent, resourced from the central funds of the organisation.

If you are not employed by the submitting organisation (and not in receipt of funding by non-eligible organisations), you may still apply. However, you may only do so if you have an existing written formal arrangement with the organisation, confirming that the research will be conducted as if you are an employee at lecturer level or equivalent, but without salary costs.

Project collaborators are crucial participants in the proposals. They may encompass a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • farmers
  • businesses
  • innovators
  • veterinary practitioners
  • data management service providers.

Businesses must be UK-based or have UK-based research activity.

Collaborators are eligible to act as either project partners or subcontractors:

  • project partner: a third party person who is not employed on the grant, or a third party organisation, who provides specific contributions either in cash or in-kind, to the project
  • sub-contractor: a third party individual not employed as staff on the grant, or a third-party organisation, who is subcontracted by the host organisation to deliver a specific piece of work
  • dual role: may act as a project partner on parts of a project and a subcontractor on others. This must be fully justified.

All projects must include at least one project partner. Project partners will be required to contribute at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project they partner on in cash or in-kind. Where there is more than one project partner on a project, the combined value of the contributions must be at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project. Contributions from business partners can exceed these requirements.

BBSRC is happy to discuss contribution details prior to submission.

What we're looking for

The Endemic Livestock Diseases Initiative aims to meaningfully reduce the overall level and impact of endemic disease on the UK livestock sector, to improve productivity and the health and welfare of animals. The initiative will bring academia and businesses together to co-create novel prevention and intervention solutions.

The scope of the phase two opportunity has been developed in consultation with UK agricultural businesses and policymakers and is in line with the phase one opportunity ‘develop solutions for endemic livestock disease’.

Phase two of the initiative will make larger and longer grants available to enable research and innovation partnerships that progress challenges associated with endemic disease in livestock. The grants will support partnerships with businesses across the agricultural sector, including farmers and practitioners, to purposefully drive the development of solutions through collaborative research and development projects.

Funding available

The total fund amount available for this opportunity is up to £7.35 million. The full economic cost of your project can be up to £1,000,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Project partners must contribute a minimum of 10% cash or in-kind (or both) to the project. The 10% contribution may be made either by an individual project partner or by a consortium of project partners.

Awards are for a maximum of 36 months.

Themes

A range of approaches are welcomed. Projects should address the themes, however these are not comprehensive or exclusionary. The scope is solutions-focused and research and translation activities that cut across the themes are encouraged.

We welcome proposals that incorporate the expertise of social scientists in the project to ensure that behaviour change is given proper consideration as part of translating research into impact. However, the majority of the research must be within the remit of BBSRC.

Digital agriculture

Technology development, data generation and data platforms, and the underpinning biology necessary to apply digital technology, are all in scope for this opportunity.

For example:

  • sensors to monitor and control environments can help prevent disease outbreaks
  • cameras monitoring animal behaviour can provide an early indicator of disease and a baseline for welfare assessment
  • modelling of data from these and a myriad of other sources can predict outbreaks and provide valuable decision support tools
  • use of data analytics to integrate data across multiple domains and identify systems biology responses to infection or vaccination.

Genetics and breeding

There are knowledge gaps that prevent the use and application of modern breeding techniques to endemic livestock disease prevention, and specific challenges relating to technology and practices for sheep and beef cattle.

We encourage proposals that:

  • improve understanding of the genetics determining response to infection and co-infection
  • explore immunology and immune function
  • identify gene targets through whole genome sequencing and phenotyping
  • apply genome editing technology to endemic livestock disease management.

Farm management

Evidence-based on-farm management practices are essential and may be the most realistic way to mitigate against certain endemic livestock diseases, which have a welfare impact on the animals

The adoption and implementation of new solutions by farmers is an important consideration, as well as structural factors, such as policies and regulations influencing farm management to drive improvements in animal health (for example, Red Tractor Food Assurance).

Collaborations with farmers exploring practice-based approaches to endemic livestock disease prevention and treatment are strongly encouraged in this opportunity.

Vaccine platforms and technologies

There are many vaccines available for livestock, however they are not all used effectively for a variety of reasons.

We encourage proposals that:

  • establish and characterise ‘plug and play’ platforms that can be used for rapid identification of target antigens, vectors and delivery systems for pathogens
  • develop novel delivery platforms with an understanding of site specific, protective immunity and the ability to target vaccine delivery to these sites
  • develop vaccine platform technologies that can integrate multiple antigens in one vaccine
  • develop vaccine platforms and accompanying enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests for serological discrimination that are DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) compliant
  • develop rapidly deployable vaccine platforms for pathogens to combat antimicrobial resistance
  • carry out systemic evaluation of vaccine efficacy across species and pathogens
  • carry out epidemiological post-introduction evaluation studies in the field, and explore the socio-economic impacts of veterinary vaccine interventions at different levels.

Novel therapeutics

Novel approaches aiming to reduce application of traditional medicines and antibiotics, including nutrition, precision and microbiome approaches, are encouraged.

Co-infection

Many endemic livestock diseases are chronic and lower the immune response, making the animal susceptible to establishing other infections that might not be severe in healthy individuals.

The high frequency of co-infections also drives ineffective treatment practices, such as the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for animals diagnosed with viral infections.

Some of the most significant endemic livestock diseases, such as mastitis and lameness, are now understood to be infections with multiple organisms, which inhibits and complicates prevention and treatment.

Co-infections are not well understood and so research leading to more effective treatments for complex diseases and the reduction of antibiotic use is needed.

Exclusions

The following are excluded from the remit of this funding opportunity:

  • bovine tuberculosis research is not included as it already receives extensive funding from BBSRC and the co-funders of this initiative
  • research on general animal nutrition is not in scope.

Responsible innovation

You are expected to work within our framework for responsible innovation.

You should consider and implement plans for responsible innovation throughout the research project, and include details of these in the application, including specific actions that will be taken.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

BBSRC recognises that excellence in science requires diversity and equality to promote innovation and creativity. To do so effectively, all available talent must be harnessed. We expect equality and diversity to be an integral part, at all levels of research practices, as a part of our funding portfolio.

We want to ensure that equality principles are applied to all funding activities, and consider that no one should be excluded or hindered from a career in science because of their protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010, including:

  • age
  • civil partnership or marriage
  • disability
  • ethnic background
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation.

We are committed to supporting the research community, offering a range of flexible options that allow you to design a package that fits your research goals, career and personal circumstances. Therefore, these aspects should be strongly ingrained into the projects proposed for this opportunity.

Learn more about our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.

Grant additional conditions

Grants are awarded under the standard UK Research and Innovation grant terms and conditions.

The following additional grant conditions will also apply. Grant holders:

  • will be expected to liaise with the external coordinator of the Endemic Livestock Diseases Initiative as required
  • will be required to submit annual progress reports as requested. Guidance will be provided about any reports
  • will be expected to participate in meetings with both industrial members and other participants
  • will be required to respond to requests from BBSRC regarding project outcomes, both during and following the end of the award
  • may be invited to participate in community workshops and other events by BBSRC.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Submitting your application

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

When applying:

  1. Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’.
  2. Select ‘call search’.
  3. To find the opportunity, search for: 2022 Endemic Livestock Disease Initiative.

This will populate:

  • council: BBSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: standard
  • call/type/mode: 2022 Endemic Livestock Disease Initiative.

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Deadline

BBSRC must receive your application by 6 October 2022 at 16:00.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Attachments

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted:

  • case for support (up to eight sides of A4)
  • justification for resources (up to two side of A4)
  • curriculum vitaes (CVs) for all named applicants and named research staff only (up to two sides of A4 each)
  • letter of support for any project partners (no page limit, must be on headed paper, and signed and dated within six months of the proposal submission date).

Case for support

Your case for support should outline the following:

  • the scientific case and strategic value of your project
  • the timeliness and potential impact of the project
  • the challenge that is being addressed
  • an overview of how your proposed activities will progress towards solving the challenge.

Your case for support should also detail:

  • the role of your industrial partner or partners
  • the nature of their collaboration.

Justification of resources

Your justification of resources should include details of all resources being requested in your application. You should explain why they are necessary to your project. Joint applications must include a separate document for each proforma justifying the resources requested on that proforma only, not for the project as a whole.

CVs

CVs are required for all named applicants and named research staff only. These must be no more than two sides of A4 per person and should be submitted as the attachment type ‘CV’.

Project partners

Project partner contributions (cash or in-kind) must be included in the Je-S form, with monetary values attached where appropriate. Proposals that do not include at least one project partner with at least 10% cash or in-kind contribution will be returned for amendment and may be rejected as out of remit.

Letters of support

Every project partner must provide a letter of support for the application. This should be uploaded to the ‘Project Partners’ section of the proposal form, rather than the ‘Additional Attachments’ section further down in the Je-S form.

The letter of support from each project partner, signed off by the budget holder (or equivalent), that outlines their involvement in the project, must include the following:

  • the company’s interest in the proposed project
  • the company’s contribution to the collaboration
  • agreed routes for dissemination of emerging results and management of intellectual assets or intellectual property
  • confirmation that, if the application is successful, a collaboration agreement will be put in place between all partners before research commences in line with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) guidance.

Work plan

You may also submit an optional work plan (maximum one side of A4, uploaded as ‘other attachment’).

Co-principal investigators

The Je-S system only allows one principal investigator to be named, therefore the co-principal investigator roles must be clearly identified within your application.

The principal investigator named on the Je-S form will, for administrative purposes, be the initial point of contact for liaison with UKRI during the lifetime of the award.

For further guidance, see the BBSRC research grants guide.

Joint applications

For joint applications, the following information should be included in each of the component applications (including the lead application):

  • title of research project
  • resource requests relating to the organisations applying in that component
  • type of proposal
  • justification of resources requested in that component
  • equipment quotations, if applicable, for pieces of equipment requested in that component
  • CVs relating to applicants and named staff in that component.

The following should only be included in the lead application:

  • objectives
  • technical summary
  • data management plan
  • academic beneficiaries
  • nominated reviewers
  • project partners, including a separate letter of support for each partner
  • case for support
  • classifications.

Please note that joint applications must include a separate document for each proforma justifying the resources requested on that proforma only, not for the project as a whole.

Animals in research

BBSRC strives to ensure that high standards of conducting and reporting animal experiments are met from research. All applicants must therefore ensure that they uphold the Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments guidelines set by the National Centre for the 3Rs.

All experiments using animals funded by BBSRC must comply with the Animals Act 1986. Institutions and grant holders are responsible for ensuring that all appropriate establishment, personal and project licenses required under the act have been granted.

See our information on animals use in research for more details and guidance on where to find the relevant forms.

Intellectual property

We expect that collaboration agreements and arrangements for the management of intellectual property (IP) will be in place before the project starts. We will not specify terms for collaboration agreements or IP arrangements but expect any agreements to recognise the amount of public funding being invested in the programme.

You may wish to consult the Lambert Toolkit guidance published by the Intellectual Property Office (GOV.UK).

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed through a one-stage process, full proposal to prioritisation panel.

Your application will be assessed first by external reviewers appointed by us. You must suggest four independent reviewers from outside your institution that you have not recently collaborated with. Reviewers will be assessing applications against the full proposal assessment criteria detailed below.

The principal investigator will have an opportunity to respond to comments from reviewers.

The expert panel will assess proposals against the full proposal assessment criteria to produce a rank ordered list. It is anticipated that the prioritisation panel will take place in February 2023, with decisions expected in spring 2023.

Your application will be assessed on:

  • scientific excellence
  • industrial and stakeholder relevance
  • relevance to BBSRC strategy
  • economic and social impact
  • timeliness and promise
  • value for money
  • fit to opportunity.

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

Linda Millyard, Portfolio Manager

Email: endemiclivestockdiseaseInitiative@bbsrc.ukri.org

Include ‘Endemic Livestock Diseases Initiative’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 10 working days.

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

Webinar

To provide an opportunity to learn more about this opportunity and ask questions, the BBSRC business interaction unit hosted two webinars on 19 August 2022 and 5 September 2022.

Watch the webinar recording.

Recording passcode: sR1rSs&b

Webinar slides (PDF, 7MB).

Background

The Endemic Livestock Diseases Initiative will connect researchers in universities, institutes and businesses with farmers, agricultural practitioners, and policymakers to explore ambitious solutions for challenges to productivity, animal health and welfare in the UK livestock sector.

The initiative has been developed in consultation with Defra, DAERA and the Scottish Government who are acting as co-funders. This consultation has included consideration of how the Endemic Livestock Diseases Initiative aligns with the Defra Farming Innovation Programme.

The projects supported in the initiative will stimulate novel collaborations that draw upon the full strength of the research community supported across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), developing towards new solutions that could progress towards activities funded through the Farming Innovation Programme, if appropriate.

Together, these investments from UKRI and Defra provide clear investment pathways to accelerate research through to innovation. Find out more on the Farming Innovation website.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 184KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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