Advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery is a strategically important long term objective of the UKRI-BBSRC delivery plan.
The 2020/21 sLoLa funding opportunity invites proposals focused on frontier bioscience: leading-edge discovery research that addresses significant fundamental questions in bioscience.
Proposals are expected to be ambitious and have the potential to lead to a major advance in our understanding of the ‘rules of life’ which govern living systems.
We anticipate that innovative approaches, methods or technologies will be used to produce a significant and distinctive contribution to bioscience knowledge.
Proposals must provide a clear justification for the need for funding through the sLoLa mechanism, demonstrating a coordinated and fully integrated programme of work that could not be undertaken through a series of smaller awards.
A strong case must also be made regarding how the proposal will enhance the UK’s international position in the area of investigation.
The indicative budget for this opportunity is up to £16 million, subject to the quality of applications received.
Proposals must be over £2 million (100% full economic costing project value) and can be up to five years in duration.
We anticipate awarding between three and five grants in the 2020/21 round.
Proposals must address the scope of the opportunity and be predominantly within our remit. It is anticipated that awarded grants will start in the latter half of 2021.
Understanding living systems and how they function is at the heart of bioscience research and innovation.
Curiosity-driven research at the limits of our current understanding has a strong record of revealing, or rewriting, fundamental ‘rules of life’ which can lead to transformational developments within the life sciences, as well as more broadly stimulating social and economic benefits and contributing to the UK’s international competitiveness.
In the 2020/21 sLoLa grants, we are seeking to support cutting edge, innovative and ambitious research that addresses key fundamental questions in bioscience.
We welcome applications working across any scales of biological organisation, and particularly those employing quantitative, multi-scale approaches that integrate bioscience research from different sub-fields.
To produce major advances, proposals are expected to employ (or develop) the latest technologies, methods and approaches that will result in world leading capability in bioscience within the UK.
There is no requirement for proposals to address our responsive mode priorities.
Proposals must fully address the scope of the sLoLa scheme, clearly demonstrating a primary focus on generating a significant advancement in fundamental bioscience knowledge.
The work to be undertaken must be primarily within UKRI-BBSRC remit. We encourage multidisciplinary proposals but we strongly advise potential applicants to contact us before submission if aspects of the proposal are outside of our remit.
Proposals must provide a clear justification for the necessity for funding through the sLoLa scheme in order to deliver the programme of work.
The proposal must demonstrate overall coherence, connectivity, coordination and integration of the work to be carried out, to the extent that the work could not be undertaken through funding a series of separate smaller awards.
In addition to its focus on research excellence, UKRI-BBSRC takes a strategic approach to investment, considering overall balance of our portfolio in world-class bioscience research.
Proposals in areas in which there is already substantial UKRI-BBSRC investment, particularly existing sLoLa-scale awards or research in areas covered by current UKRI-BBSRC Institute strategic programme grants, are therefore likely to be at a competitive disadvantage and may be excluded at the registration or outline stage.
See list of currently active UKRI-BBSRC grants over £2 million (PDF, 138KB)
Proposals that are not primarily motivated by fundamental advances in biological knowledge are excluded.
For example, proposals where the primary aim is to tackle a user-driven challenge from within industry, including areas covered by the UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, are excluded.
However, work that is potentially impactful within one or more of the UKRI-BBSRC strategic challenges set out in the UKRI-BBSRC delivery plan – bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food, bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth, bioscience for an integrated understanding of health – is not excluded, but the primary driver must be to make fundamental advances in biological knowledge.
Proposals that fall within the context of UKRI-BBSRC or other UKRI programmes for strategic investment in bioscience that are driven by official development assistance (ODA) strategic aims (Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund) are excluded.
Proposals must be over £2 million (100% full economic costing project value, net of any industrial contribution) and can be up to five years in duration.
It is anticipated that awarded grants will start in the latter half of 2021.