Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Partner with New Zealand bioscience laboratories

Apply for funding to develop links with laboratories in New Zealand. This is part of the wider International Partnering Awards programme.

You must hold a current BBSRC research grant that:

  • started before the application deadline
  • has at least six months remaining from the start of this award.

You can request support for collaborative activities including:

  • travel for one or more investigators in either direction
  • visits and access to overseas institutions
  • exchange of staff for scoping studies and skills exchange
  • workshops and networking
  • researcher exchanges.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £50,000. BBSRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

Your project must start from April 2022 and can be funded for up to four years.

Who can apply

Applications must be made by a principal investigator who is currently in receipt of BBSRC research funding. In addition, the associated BBSRC grant must have started before the application deadline and must have at least six months remaining from the start of the award.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC responsive mode research grant
  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC themed research grant
  • recipients of a fellowship award from BBSRC
  • principal investigators or co-investigators on a current BBSRC strategic longer and larger (SLoLa) grant or initiative grant with funding of over £1 million
  • principal investigators or co-investigators on a current BBSRC institute strategic programme grant at a national institute of bioscience:
    • Babraham Institute
    • Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences
    • John Innes Centre
    • Roslin Institute
    • Rothamsted Research
    • The Earlham Institute
    • The Pirbright Institute
    • Quadrum Institute.

The following applicants are not eligible to apply:

  • BBSRC studentship award holders, including:
    • CASE studentships
    • Doctoral training partnerships
    • Industrial CASE partnerships
  • holders of BBSRC grants which do not have research as the primary objective, including:
    • Flexible Talent Mobility accounts
    • Impact Acceleration accounts
    • follow on funding
  • holders of BBSRC funding within an academic department.

Full details of eligibility criteria for BBSRC funding can be found in the BBSRC research grants guide.

Applicants should contact BBSRC for advice if they have any eligibility concerns:

We encourage joint applications by consortia of UK partners, which could include industrial and non-BBSRC funded partners. However, a BBSRC funded applicant must lead the consortia and submit the proposal using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

What we're looking for

Awards can be used to fund the following collaborative activities in emerging areas of science relevant to BBSRC’s strategic priorities:

  • travel for one or more investigators in either direction
  • visits to overseas institutions
  • access to overseas facilities
  • exchange of personnel for scoping studies and skills exchange
  • workshops and networking
  • researcher exchanges
  • other collaborative activities.

Collaborative activities are not limited to the principal investigator and we encourage the involvement of early career researchers and technicians within the project.

UKRI aims to enable a dynamic, diverse and inclusive system of research and innovation in the UK, which gives the opportunity for everyone to participate and to benefit. People are the heart of this system, we therefore encourage principal investigators to consider involvement of the broader research base when scoping projects, explaining their approach in the case for support.

Further detail on the breadth of the technical, practical, analytical and management skills which technicians contribute, may be found within the UKRI Technician Commitment Action Plan (PDF, 3MB).

Partnering award funds can be used to support student exchanges, however, applications will not be accepted where this is the primary aim of the project.

It is acceptable for the proposed partnering award to outlast the associated research grant. However the associated BBSRC grant must have started before the application deadline and must have at least six months remaining from the start of the award.

Please note that the funding should be seen as a ‘pump-priming’ award and that research groups will be expected to access other sources of funding. This could include a monetary contribution from the applicant’s institution or department or an in-kind contribution such as venue hire or accommodation costs.

Ineligible costs

As partnering awards are based on currently-funded BBSRC research, they are not a vehicle for supporting single research projects and partnering awards cannot be used to fund:

  • salary costs
  • consumables
  • items of equipment
  • other research costs
  • conference attendance.

For convenience and cost efficiency BBSRC does allow award holders to arrange collaborative meetings alongside conferences at which their partners are already present. However, the award funds cannot be used to pay for the additional conference accommodation and costs such as registration.

Highlight notice: net zero carbon emissions

The UK will be hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. This highlight is launched as part of the framework of activities and events that UKRI and BBSRC are supporting to promote positive climate action.

The UK is committed to achieving a reduction of 78% in carbon emissions by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050.

Applications are particularly welcomed in the area of
‘international partnerships focusing on the net zero carbon emissions target, through a sustainable, resilient and bio-diverse agri-food system’.

This highlight will support international partnerships, with any country, that develop research projects with the potential to provide climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and reduce carbon emissions through sustainable, resilient and bio-diverse agriculture.

It is expected that applicants will outline the role that their research will take in developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for agriculture and transition to net zero. Applications must sit within BBSRC remit in order to be eligible.

For more background to this highlight notice see ‘additional information’.

How to apply

For all UK applicants, applications must be made through the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

When applying select:

  • council: BBSRC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: International Partnering Awards
  • call/type/mode: 2021 International Partnering Awards

Submission of UK applications

Start your project title with New Zealand Partnering Award.

Detailed guidance on how to complete the application process can be found in the Je-S guidance (PDF, 153KB).

The deadline for submission of applications through the Je- S system is 16:00 Thursday 11 November 2021.

In addition to the Je-S form, the application should also include the following attachments.

Case for support

The case for support should be a maximum of three sides of A4 written in single spaced Arial, Helvetica or Verdana typeface font size 11 and margins must not be less than 2cm.

The case for support must contain the following sections:

  • the main scientific objectives
  • summary of previous contact or links with proposed partners
  • details of the work to be carried out
  • an explanation of how the consortia have ensured an appropriate team, and the steps taken to consider equality, diversity and inclusion (further information may be included within an optional additional attachment, maximum one page)
  • statement of added value, indicating:
    • the benefit of the proposed collaboration to UK science
    • the relevance to your current BBSRC funding in particular.

Applications must demonstrate how this award will add value to BBSRC science (and in particular their associated BBSRC-funded research grant) and facilitate longer-term collaborations between the UK and the partnering country.

Work plan

A Gantt chart or diagrammatic action plan which outlines the activities and timelines for the work to be carried out must be included in the application (maximum one side of A4).

Cover letter

A short proposal letter must be included in the application.

Additional documents

A letter of support (maximum one side of A4) from, for example, the proposed collaborators may also be included but is not mandatory. CVs and publication lists are not required. However, applicants may wish to include any particularly pertinent recent publications.

For a full list of information required for collaborative grants with industry and other users, please refer to the BBSRC research grants guide (section 2.9-2.18).

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Additional optional attachment.

Applicants may wish to include further detail about the steps taken to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) (under ‘other attachment’ in Je-S, maximum one side of A4).

Within this document, applicants may wish to include an outline of how they have taken a meaningful, yet proportionate consideration of the steps taken to ensure an inclusive partnership. The following resources might be useful:


Applications should be made at current costs in accordance with subsistence and travel regulations at the applicant’s institution.

For each main activity, indicative costs should be shown. BBSRC may index approved costs so awards made will include an allowance for inflation.

Any award made will be cash limited, and whilst funds should be used for the activities requested, the use of funds to allow activities that were not originally envisaged will be allowed as long as they are in pursuance of the overall objectives of the partnering award and within the guidelines.

No indirectly incurred costs can be applied for under the partnering awards scheme. Consequently full economic costing is not applied to these awards. Applicants should therefore apply for 100% of the cost of the activities which they wish to undertake.


Taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants must follow travel advice set out by their institutions and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office before departure and should check travel guidance for countries of interest when preparing an application.

BBSRC will not cover the cost of any time spent in quarantine as a result of travelling on an international partnering award grant. To manage risks associated with travelling, applicants should make optimal use of remote working solutions.

Support available for access to overseas facilities

Funds may be used to support access to specialist equipment and facilities overseas. These direct research costs may not account for more than 20% of the total value requested from BBSRC and cannot be used to support:

  • salary costs
  • consumables
  • overheads
  • items of equipment.

Costings should be outlined on Je-S in the ‘other directly incurred costs’ section.

Support available for people with caring responsibilities

Applicants are allowed to request additional care costs as part of an international partnering award grant proposal. These may cover the additional care requirements for visits, meetings and overseas travel undertaken as part of the supported activity.

Costs that form part of someone’s normal care arrangements must not be included and making arrangements for the care to be provided is the responsibility of the carer themselves. Costs should be reasonable and outlined in the ‘other directly incurred costs’ section of the Je-S application. Funds for supporting people with caring responsibilities should form part of the overall budget envelope.

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

UK applications are assessed internally by BBSRC. Internal assessment of these proposals allows partnering award applications to be processed swiftly and in proportion to the size of the awards.

An internal review process can be applied as the applications are based on awarded BBSRC grants which have undergone robust peer review. All proposals will be assessed against the following criteria.

Benefits to BBSRC research


  • relevance of the award and benefit that this will bring to BBSRC-funded projects
  • benefits brought back to the UK, for example through access to new facilities or unique partnerships that would have been otherwise unavailable
  • uniqueness of the opportunity to work with international partners in ways that would otherwise be unavailable
  • level of contribution (either financial or in-kind) from the UK institution or the overseas partner, in addition to the amount sought from BBSRC.

Partnership working


  • opportunities for the exchange of scientists, with a balance of activities that are appropriate to the topic area
  • explanation of how an appropriate team has been selected for this partnership and the consideration given to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion of participants
  • explanation of why this particular collaboration has been chosen and how it adds value to BBSRC research
  • opportunities for early career researchers that will benefit their future career
  • detailed breakdown of the project workflow (for example, a Gantt chart).

For further information on BBSRC’s strategic priorities, applicants should refer to the BBSRC Delivery Plan.

Contact details

Ask about eligibility for this funding opportunity

Sania Afzal, Assistant Portfolio Manager International


Additional info


The BBSRC Forward Look for Bioscience recognises that collaboration and engagement with overseas researchers produces benefits to the BBSRC research and innovation community, the UK and partner countries across the globe. It is therefore important that BBSRC continues to ensure that strong linkages are developed and sustained in the biosciences.

In 2000, BBSRC launched its first partnering awards funding opportunity with Japan. Since then, BBSRC has expanded the scheme to include partnering awards for:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • European countries
  • India
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • United States
  • global partnerships.

Since 2010, 251 BBSRC International Partnering Awards have been funded, investing over £8 million.

Net zero carbon emissions highlight notice background

The UK is committed to achieving a reduction of 78% in carbon emissions by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050. Being both a source and sink of greenhouse gases (GHG), the agri-food sector plays an important role in meeting these emission targets and this needs to be considered in the context that agri-food is affected by climate change, creating unique challenges and opportunities.

The agri-food system accounts for 34% of total GHG emissions globally, with the largest contribution (71%) coming from agriculture, land use and land-use change activities (Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emission (Nature)).

The agri-food system is also challenged by climate-related stressors such as:

  • pests and diseases
  • extreme weather events (floods, drought and heat waves)
  • degraded soils.

Despite biodiversity being critical to food security and resilience, agriculture is considered the most important driver of biodiversity change in the last 45 years (State of Nature 2019 report) and around 69% of agricultural land is currently considered degraded (Global Food Security: the challenge).

There is therefore an urgent need to sustainably transform agri-food systems to reduce GHG emissions and ensure their resilience and adaptation to climate change, whilst preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems.


The overarching aim of the BBSRC International Partnering Award scheme is to provide resources to leading BBSRC-supported research groups. These resources allow groups to forge long-term relationships with international researchers and technical specialists, in areas of research that are of direct relevance to BBSRC’s current research and innovation strategy.

The purpose of the awards is to provide ‘pump-priming’ funds for building new links with overseas researchers and technical specialists, which will add value to existing BBSRC funded research grants. Specific objectives that underpin the partnering awards scheme are to:

  • establish partnerships between UK and overseas research laboratories
  • promote the exchange of researchers and technical specialists, enabling a dynamic, diverse and inclusive system of research and innovation
  • promote access to facilities, knowledge and expertise
  • tackle BBSRC’s strategic challenges as outlined in the BBSRC Delivery Plan:
    • bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food
    • bioscience for renewable resources and clean grown
    • bioscience for an integrated understanding of health
    • advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

UKRI and BBSRC are:

  • committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion by eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010
  • encouraging applications from research teams exploiting the strength of diversity in the entire UK research and innovation community.

Applicants are expected to consider these issues from the earliest stage of building their teams through to the delivery of awarded projects. Consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion is important for all applications to BBSRC for funding. We expect particular care to be taken for projects which involve diverse partnerships, international travel and extended overnight stays. For example, those supported through the BBSRC International Partnering Award scheme.

UKRI’s key principles for equality, diversity and inclusion.

Grant maintenance

All grant maintenance requests (for example, grant extension request, extension to start date, transfer of organisation) should be made via the ‘grant maintenance’ facility in Je-S. All requests for extensions must be made once the required duration is known and before the grant ends.

Managing your funding award guidance

Reporting requirements

All grant holders must use Researchfish to record key findings and specific outputs from their grants. Grant holders can enter information into Researchfish at any time throughout the year and submit during the annual submission period.

For International Partnering Awards, BBSRC expects the following sections in Researchfish to be completed as a minimum requirement:

  • key findings
  • collaborations and partnerships
  • secondments and placements
  • further funding
  • publications
  • narrative impact
  • animal use.

Reporting your project’s outcomes

Data sharing notice

BBSRC carries out the processing of personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The information you provide will only be used by UKRI and BBSRC for the purpose of carrying out reviewing and assessment for making a funding decision.

By providing your information you are consenting to its use as detailed above. Further relevant information is available in the BBSRC Privacy Notice and the BBSRC Data Protection Policy.

Supporting documents

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