Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Standard research grant: 2024 round 1: responsive mode

Standard research grants are available for researchers at eligible research organisations.

This scheme supports excellent investigator-led research across the breadth of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) scientific remit.

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

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £2 million. Funding is available for up to five years. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Resubmissions

We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI or any other funder.

Find out more about BBSRC’ resubmissions policy.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Aim

This scheme supports excellent investigator-led research across the breadth of BBSRC scientific remit.

You are encouraged to consider the relevance of your proposed work in line with the long-term research and innovation priorities set out in BBSRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025.

A small number of Responsive Mode Spotlight areas will be in operation at any one time, in line with the more targeted nature of the new mechanism. The aim of the Responsive Mode Spotlight mechanism is to provide simpler, more agile, and dynamic targeting of particular areas of timely strategic interest, opportunity or need.

Scope

Funding is available for:

  • research projects, including data intensive and technology development projects.
  • equipment or use of existing facilities
  • community resources, new facilities or infrastructure
  • research networks and coordination
  • summer schools

You can apply to undertake biotechnology or biological research in:

  • plants
  • microbes
  • animals and humans
  • tools and technology underpinning biological research

Investigations within and across scales are supported, from molecules and cells, to tissues, whole organisms, populations and landscapes.

We welcome multidisciplinary proposals that cross into other research council areas but expect the primary focus of your work to fall within BBSRC’s remit.

We work with other research councils to ensure that applications close to remit boundaries are assessed by the most appropriate lead council. Please contact remit@bbsrc.ukri.org with any queries about the suitability of your application before applying.

We have a strong commitment to funding curiosity-led research and advancing excellent bioscience across our portfolio.

Duration

The duration of this award is up to five years.

Funding available

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to a maximum of £2 million. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC. For example, if the FEC cost of your project is equal £2 million, we will fund £1.6 million and your research organisation will be expected to fund £400,000).

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 8MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

Deadline

We must receive your application by 17 January 2024 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.
We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, may need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with DEFRA so that they can participate in the assessment process. Find out more information on how DEFRA uses personal information.

Publication of outcomes

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at UKRI Gateway to Research. If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the site.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician

Only list one individual as project lead.

The project co-lead (international) (PcL (I)) role should only be used for applications making use of the BBSRC-Brazil (FAPESP), DFG or FNR agreement. BBSRC does not otherwise accept project co-lead (international) applicants.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

BBSRC schemes

Word limit: 1

Indicate the scheme through which you are applying.

In the text box, copy the number corresponding to the scheme you are applying through.

  1. standard (no scheme)
  2. IPA
  3. LINK
  4. Brazil (FAPESP)
  5. Germany (DFG)
  6. Luxembourg (FNR)

Additional guidance

This is for administrative purposes to help the initial application processing.

Please follow the scheme specific guidance below and upload the additional documents listed as a single PDF no larger than 8MB:

IPA or LINK:

  • a letter from your institution’s technology transfer office outlining the management of outputs from the proposed research

FAPESP:

  • FAPESP proposal form
  • FAPESP consolidated budget form
  • FAPESP letter of eligibility

DFG:

  • CVs of international collaborators
  • DFG budget forms
  • DFG cost justifications

FNR:

  • CVs of international collaborators
  • FNR ‘INTER’ budget form
  • FNR ‘INTER’ cost justification

BBSRC remit classification

Word limit: 1

Your application will be considered by one of our four research committees made up of independent experts. Indicate which you feel would be best placed to assess your application.

In the text box, copy the letter corresponding to the committee you feel would be best placed to assess your application.

These are:

A animal disease, health and welfare
B plants, microbes, food and sustainability
C genes, development, and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) approaches to biology
D molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology

Additional guidance

This is for administrative purposes to help the initial application processing. We will check your choice and make a final decision as to which Committee will assess your application.

Vision

Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Approach

Word limit: 3,000

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Within the ‘Approach’ section we also expect you to:

  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of an embedded Gantt chart or similar (please make sure to check sizing and readability of the image using ‘read view’ prior to submission)

BBSRC’s action plan for EDI outlines our commitment to removing barriers to participation in our programmes, ensuring investments do not inadvertently prevent access or usage by individuals from minority groups, for example disabled researchers. To this end, applications should identify how accessibility and inclusiveness in the widest sense have been incorporated into the design of the project. For example, you may wish to reference relevant institutional strategies and policies which support equality, diversity, and inclusion as they relate to access to equipment and facilities and indicate how the proposed project has been designed and will be delivered with broad access in mind.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop other
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

The word count for this section is 1,500 words: 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act Template (DOCX, 61.5KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 10

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14.

Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement.

Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single PDF.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word count: 1,000

Using the costs table within the resources and cost summary, provide details of the total funding required under each fund heading. You should include high-level costs only, not a detailed breakdown of individual items.

Please note:

Equipment over £10,000 is funded 50%. Please include it in Exceptions, this can be changed at award to 50%.

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to a maximum of £2 million. We will fund 80% of the FEC. For example, if the FEC cost of your project is equal £2 million, we will fund £1.6 million and your research organisation will be expected to fund £400,000

In the text box, justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences):
    • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
    • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
    • all facilities and infrastructure costs
    • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

IPA/LINK schemes

If you are applying via BBSRC ‘Stand-alone’ LINK and Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA) Scheme please detail the proposed support from each industry partner.

International schemes

If you are applying via one of our international schemes please add collaborating institutions as project partners

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: statement of support

Word limit: 2,000

A statement of support is required to be provided from each partner you named in the ‘Project partners’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Each statement should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the ‘Project partners’ section.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide a statement of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with BBSRC’s published Data Sharing Policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Facilities

Word limit: 250

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

References

Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite peers to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UKRI Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process within six months of receiving your application.

Feedback

We will give feedback with the outcome of your application based on a summary of the combined discussions that took place during the discussion period and the meeting itself – feedback does not include reasons why an application is or isn’t funded.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Sharing data with co-funders

We may need to share the application (including any personal information that it contains) with other research councils so that they can participate in the assessment process.

For more information on how UKRI uses personal information, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UKRI Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

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.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact:

For queries regarding eligibility, contact: eligibility@bbsrc.ukri.org

For queries regarding scope and remit, contact: remit@bbsrc.ukri.org

For queries regarding IPA or LINK schemes, contact: industry.collaboration@bbsrc.ac.uk

For queries regarding international agreements, contact: inca@bbsrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application here.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please contact: peer.review@bbsrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line of your email: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

Watch a demonstration of finding an opportunity on the UKRI channel on YouTube.

A webinar aimed at future applicants to Responsive Mode (BBSRC standard research grant) was held on 13 December 2023

The webinar provided an overview of Responsive Mode and the new Funding Service.

Watch the webinar

Passcode: j%cs%2DM

New Investigator awards

The new investigator scheme is designed primarily to assist newly employed university lecturers, researchers in research council institutes (at a level equivalent to lecturer), and fellows (at a level equivalent to lecturer) to secure their first major element of research support funding.

You can apply as a New Investigator via the parallel New Investigator Award opportunity Award opportunity.

LINK/Industrial Partnership Awards

LINK supports collaborative research projects between at least one company and one academic partner. At least 50% of the full project cost comes from industry.

Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA) encourage and support collaboration between academic research groups and industry. IPAs are academic-led, responsive mode grants that have significant industrial involvement and industry partners that contribute in cash at least equivalent to 10% of the full project costs.

International agreements

You can apply for funding with the following international bodies :

Research disruption due to 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

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. 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 links

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 146KB)

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