Proposals must be focused on frontier bioscience (leading-edge discovery research that addresses significant fundamental questions in bioscience).
Curiosity-driven research at the limits of our current understanding has a strong record of revealing, or rewriting, fundamental ‘rules of life’ that are applicable across living systems.
Through an ambitious and fully integrated research programme, your ideas must have the potential to lead to a major contribution to biological knowledge, commensurate with the scale of support provided.
To achieve transformative outcomes, strategic longer and larger (sLoLa) grant proposals typically take a multidisciplinary approach, combining diverse inputs and perspectives. Teams will use or develop cutting-edge research technologies, methods and approaches to unlock and explore original avenues of investigation.
Your team is expected to bring together a new, distinctive and world-class bioscience research capability within the UK. We welcome applications working across any scale of biological organisation and particularly those employing quantitative approaches that integrate research from different fields and disciplines to advance bioscience.
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 BBSRC’s remit. We encourage multidisciplinary proposals, but we strongly advise potential applicants to contact us before submission if significant aspects of the proposal are outside of our remit.
Proposals must provide a clear justification for the necessity for funding through the sLoLa scheme to deliver the programme of work, to the extent that the work could not be undertaken through funding a series of separate smaller awards.
Your proposal must demonstrate overall coherence, connectivity, coordination and integration of the work to be carried out. This includes how your team aims to deliver substantively different and synergistic outcomes than could be achieved through the individual efforts of members of the team.
A strong case must be made regarding:
- the transformative potential of the research
- how the proposal will enhance the UK’s international position
- the wider legacy and benefits of the project for UK bioscience.
There is no expectation for proposals to address our responsive mode priorities or have a direct line of sight to application.
BBSRC takes a strategic approach to investment, considering the overall balance of our portfolio in world-class bioscience research.
Proposals in areas in which there is already substantial BBSRC investment are therefore likely to be at a competitive disadvantage and may be excluded at the registration or outline stages. This includes existing sLoLa-scale awards or research in areas covered by current BBSRC institute strategic programme grants.
See the list of currently active BBSRC grants over £2,000,000 (PDF, 126KB).
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 or that address applied challenges such as the sustainable development goals.
Work that is potentially impactful within one or more of the BBSRC strategic challenges set out in the BBSRC ‘a forward look for UK bioscience’ is not excluded, but the primary driver must be to make fundamental advances in biological knowledge with potential for broad implications for the discipline.
Teams should draw on the breadth of expertise available within the UK. Typically, this will span several departments and research organisations.
Teams can include researchers at a variety of career stages. Fellows, technical staff and postdoctoral scientists who are not eligible to apply as a co-investigator can be included as researcher co-investigators where they play a distinctive role.
Principal investigators are not required to have held a similar sized award before. However, leading larger-scale team science involves additional challenges in comparison to smaller research projects.
A sLoLa team (principal investigator and co-investigators collectively) will therefore need to demonstrate competency in leadership and management relevant to more complex multi-investigator and multi-site research.
Teams should identify any recent professional development, plans for mentoring or shared responsibilities (for example, co-principal investigators) that will enhance the effectiveness of their leadership. Dedicated project management support can also be incorporated into proposals.
You should consider the expectations laid out in the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (Vitae), to which BBSRC is a signatory.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
BBSRC is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion by eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
You are encouraged to leverage the full strengths of the UK’s diverse research and innovation community from the earliest stages of assembling your teams through to the delivery of awarded projects.
Consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion is important for all applications to BBSRC for funding, but particular care should be taken for projects taking a team science approach involving multiple co-applicants, such as those supported through the sLoLa scheme.
We expect sLoLa teams to be exemplars for best research practice by promoting a positive research culture and providing an inclusive environment which promotes equality and diversity.