Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Run an international workshop on bioscience research

Apply for funding to run an international workshop abroad or in the UK.

You can run a workshop with participants from any country and in any area within BBSRC’s remit.

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.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £10,000. BBSRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

Your project must start from April 2022.

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 that 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

BBSRC does not issue a prescriptive list of objectives for international workshops but a successful workshop would usually include:

  • a review of the current status of research in a specific area from each country
  • identification of topics that could benefit from collaboration between the participants
  • identification of the means for subsequent development of such collaboration
  • an agreed action plan for implementation
  • reporting key findings and specific outputs from their workshop.

These international workshops give rise to a number of benefits for BBSRC-funded scientists. Firstly, there is a clear gain in exposure to different approaches and ideas, especially when coupled with access to both new expertise and facilities.

Workshops tend to be targeted towards new areas and those in which extensive international networks do not already exist. Secondly, these workshops can provide the contacts and links that are essential to the formation of consortia for accessing other funding sources such as the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. Thirdly, there is return in the form of synergy in the generation of new ideas between the participating countries.

Applications to this funding opportunity can be for workshops with any country in any area within BBSRC remit, based on current BBSRC research funding. International workshops can be held in the UK or overseas and should always present an international dimension to them, for example in its location, participants or partners.

Many workshops are used as a platform to look for new, long term partnerships which may be eligible for BBSRC International Partnering Awards or funding from other bodies.

Where you can hold a workshop

Workshops can be held in the UK or abroad. This funding opportunity is open to proposals involving collaborations with any other country, although BBSRC is particularly interested in promoting further links with:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • European countries
  • India
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • the US.

Workshop format

Experience has shown that there is no set formula for a successful workshop and that there is a need to be flexible according to the needs of the subject area.

Best practice from previous workshops suggests the following factors:

  • designated leads for different areas, with an overall leader nominated by each side
  • a common sense of purpose communicated in advance to all participants
  • an informal atmosphere, encouraging a full and frank exchange of ideas
    opportunities for additional meetings between small numbers of participants (five to 10 on each side)
  • agreed outcomes
  • designated responsibilities for producing a workshop report and other follow up actions.

The format usually includes a mixture of seminar-style presentations followed by smaller group discussions and feedback sessions to the whole workshop.

Workshops are often held within institutes or universities and there may be value in persuading the visiting side to give presentations to larger groups working in the field that are not actually attending the workshop.

Finally, the wrap-up session is an important element of the workshop, which can be overlooked in the enthusiasm of information exchange. The workshop is about the future and it is essential that enough time is left to prepare an action plan for the way forward. Please indicate in your ‘case for support’ if you would find it helpful for BBSRC to be represented at the workshop.

International Workshop Awards are usually used to support single events. However, we will consider proposals for multiple events.

If you’d like to run a series of workshops, you may also want to consider the BBSRC International Partnering Award scheme.

How to apply

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

When applying, select:

  • council: BBSRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: International Workshops
  • call/type/mode: 2021 International Workshops.

Submission of UK applications

Detailed guidance on how to complete the application process can be found in the Je-S guidance (PDF, 110KB).

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
  • objectives and benefits, include details of how the workshop will assist in achieving the main objectives and how the collaboration will be taken forward after the workshop
  • statement of added value, indicating:
    • the benefit of the proposed collaboration to UK science
    • the relevance to your current BBSRC funding in particular
  • an explanation of the steps taken to consider equality, diversity and inclusion for this workshop (further information may be included within an optional, additional attachment, maximum one page)
  • list of all proposed participants (as an appendix and where possible), including their country and institution.

Cover letter

A short proposal letter must be included in the application.

Additional documents

CVs and publication lists are not required. However, applicants may wish to include any particularly pertinent recent publications.

A letter of support (maximum one side of A4) from, for example, the proposed collaborators may also be included but is not mandatory.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Additional optional attachment.

Applicants may wish to include further detail about the steps taken to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion (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 workshop award and within the guidelines.

No indirectly incurred costs can be applied for under the workshops 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 workshop award grant. To manage risks associated with travelling, applicants should make optimal use of remote working solutions.

Support available for people with caring responsibilities

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

Costs which 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 process

Applications are assessed internally by BBSRC. This light-touch internal assessment allows international workshop applications to be processed swiftly and can be applied as they are based on an existing BBSRC grant, which has already undergone robust peer review.

Assessment criteria

Proposals are assessed against the following criteria:

  • the value added to BBSRC-funded science from the workshop
  • alignment of the workshop to current BBSRC strategic priorities
  • expected output of the workshop
  • level of contribution made towards the workshop from other sources
  • consideration given to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion of the team and workshop participants.

For further information on BBSRC’s science and strategic priorities, see the BBSRC Delivery Plan (PDF, 2.3MB).

The success of each workshop will be measured against the following criteria:

  • completion of the objectives set out in the application
  • added value to BBSRC science
  • value of the developing partnerships and whether the workshop has led to further
  • external funding opportunities
  • value to wider UK international science, engineering and technology objectives
    production of further applications to BBSRC or other funders.

Contact details

Ask about eligibility for this funding opportunity

Sania Afzal, Assistant Portfolio Manager International


Additional info


BBSRC appreciates that the best research and ideas often come about from collaboration with other individuals, located both in the UK and around the world.

The BBSRC International Workshops scheme has been running successfully for over 10 years to facilitate the coming together of experts. Since 2005, BBSRC has supported 111 workshops with a total investment of over £1.2 million.

In previous years the BBSRC International Workshop scheme has provided around six awards of up to £10,000 each. Awards are aimed at developing relations in topics relevant to current BBSRC strategic priorities.

Previous BBSRC sponsored workshops have created good international synergy. Many have led to successful international research projects that have provided considerable added value to UK science.

Previous international workshop awards, 2005 to 2020 (PDF, 133KB)

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.

Supporting documents

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