Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: 2024-25 strategic Longer and Larger (sLoLa) grants: stage 1

Start application

Apply for funding to undertake large team-based fundamental bioscience research projects which push the frontiers of human knowledge.

Your project should demonstrate:

  • the potential for major breakthroughs in our fundamental understanding of living systems
  • a fully integrated team science approach
  • the need for longer and larger scale funding
  • enhancing the capability and capacity of UK biosciences

The full economic cost of your project must be over £2 million. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Projects can be up to five years in duration.

Registration for the funding opportunity is compulsory. The registration link is in the ‘How to Apply’ section. You will only receive feedback on your registration if BBSRC identifies an issue that means your application is likely to be unsuitable for the sLoLa funding opportunity.

Who can apply

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

UK research and Innovation (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.

Please note: the Funding Service will offer a simpler and better experience through a funding process which is supported by more consistent and robust policies and guidance.

UKRI is updating the individual eligibility policy to make the application process more inclusive and consistent across research council funding opportunities. Anyone previously eligible for funding will continue to be so. Further details of the new policy will be announced in due course.

Who is eligible to apply

This funding opportunity is open to teams of eligible researchers at:

  • higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • approved independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments

A single project lead, who will be the main contact for BBSRC, must be designated as the project lead for administrative purposes.

The intellectual leadership and overall management of the project may be shared with any number of project co-leads at any number of eligible research organisations as part of a team science endeavour, with roles clearly specified in the application.

Building on the Technician Commitment UKRI Action Plan and the UKRI people and teams action plan, we particularly encourage the inclusion of research technical professionals in the ‘Core Team’ section. Where appropriate, we encourage applications that include research technical professionals as project co-leads.

Who is not eligible to apply

Multiple applications with the same project lead are not permitted within the same funding round.

Project leads of currently active sLoLa awards may not apply as a project lead in this funding round, unless their grant is in its final year.

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


Frontier bioscience

Projects must be grounded in frontier bioscience: discovery research that pushes the limits of human knowledge, and which has the potential to lead to major breakthroughs in our fundamental understanding of living systems.

Projects are expected to generate new fundamental biological knowledge of broad and long-term significance, changing how we think about bioscience within and likely transcending their immediate fields, thereby contributing to our understanding of important ‘rules of life’. They should have the potential to make transformational, not incremental, contributions to our understanding of the principles which govern biological processes.

Projects must be primarily within BBSRC remit and can investigate ideas within or across any scale of biological organisation from molecules to organisms and populations. We particularly encourage applications which take multimodal and multiscale approaches, integrating data-driven and experimental approaches from different bioscience disciplines.

Projects will typically use cutting-edge technologies, methods and approaches to explore the frontiers of the bioscience area under investigation. We encourage applications that incorporate development of state-of-the-art technology that will unlock new opportunities to revolutionise the discovery of novel biological knowledge.

Applications grounded in frontier bioscience but which are also potentially relevant to one or more of BBSRC’s world-class impact themes within our strategic delivery plan are also suitable to the funding opportunity. However, applications that are not principally designed to deliver new fundamental bioscience knowledge, are unsuitable and likely to be excluded at stage 1.

Examples of unsuitable applications include those where the primary aim is to apply knowledge to tackle contemporary socio-economic challenges related to end-user driven objectives from within industry or sustainable development goals.

Longer and larger scale

Through an original and fully integrated research project, your idea must have the potential to lead to a major new contribution to biological knowledge, commensurate with the longer and larger scale of support provided.

Your application must provide a clear justification for the necessity of the longer and larger scale of funding through the sLoLa scheme, to the extent that the work could not be undertaken through several separate smaller awards, either in parallel or in series.

Your application must include a clear strategy for the integration of data and results generated such that the overall outcomes of the project are substantively different than the outcomes of individual work packages.

Your application must demonstrate overall coherence, connectivity, coordination and integration of the work to be carried out. This includes how the team will deliver substantively different and synergistic outcomes than could be achieved through the efforts of individual members or their research groups working in isolation.

Applications that lack a clear case for the need of longer and larger scale funding will be at a competitive disadvantage and may be excluded at the registration or outline stages.

Team science

Your application is expected to assemble a distinctive team of researchers drawn from the full breadth of expertise available across the UK with the collective capability of delivering the proposed work. Typically, this will span several research organisations or departments, or both.

Consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion is important for all applications to UKRI-BBSRC for funding, and we expect particular care to be taken for larger projects involving multiple co-applicants such as those supported through the sLoLa scheme. You are expected to consider these issues from the earliest stage of building your teams through to the delivery of awarded projects.

Teams must collectively demonstrate that they have the appropriate depth and breadth of scientific, leadership, technical and management expertise to deliver the scale and complexity of the work proposed. This includes the ability to maintain the focus and momentum of longer and larger projects, as well as the skills to ensure the successful functioning of the wider team who may be distributed across multiple sites.

There is no requirement for project leads nor project co-leads to have held a similar sized award before. However, it should be clear how any individual holding significant scientific, leadership or management responsibilities will be mentored or otherwise supported by the wider team or institutional environment.

This is particularly important where an individual is stepping into a position with a greater degree of leadership or management responsibility than they have previously held. Dedicated project management support can also be incorporated into applications.

Your application should ensure the full complement of skills and expertise needed to achieve the expected outcomes are included and that the unique roles and responsibilities of each team member are clearly outlined and justified.

Most sLoLa projects are expected to generate significant amounts of data, and therefore the key themes outlined in BBSRC’s recent review of data intensive biosciences (PDF, 4.2MB) should be carefully considered when assembling a research team.

Teams are encouraged to include researchers from the full depth and breadth of the UK’s diverse research and innovation talent pool, including different career pathways and stages. You should follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

Strategic position

The proposed work should establish or significantly enhance an exceptional and unique bioscience research capability in the UK. Projects should lead to significant and distinctive improvements to health and vitality of UK bioscience in the area under investigation, raising its international profile to the point of being recognised as world-leading.

Your application should include consideration of how the proposed research fits with and complements other active UK and international research in the area, or areas, under investigation.

To facilitate the positioning of your application against the wider landscape of research investments, see the list of currently active BBSRC grants over £2 million. This is not an exhaustive account and you should consult other resources to build and demonstrate your own knowledge of the wider landscape.

We take a strategic approach to investments, considering the overall balance of our portfolio in bioscience research. Applications in areas in which there is already substantial BBSRC or other UK Research and Innovation research council investment will be at a competitive disadvantage if significantly overlapping these investments and may be excluded at the registration or outline stages. Particular attention should be paid to existing sLoLa-scale awards or research in areas covered by BBSRC institute strategic programme grants.


Work principally outside of our remit will be excluded. We encourage multidisciplinary applications, but we strongly advise you to contact us at before submission if you suspect substantial aspects of the application may be outside of BBSRC remit.


The duration of this award is up to five years.

It is anticipated that awarded grants will start in the latter half of the 2025 to 2026 financial year.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project must be at least £2 million.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

The indicative budget for this funding opportunity is up to £20 million, subject to the quality of applications received. We anticipate awarding between three and five grants in this funding round.

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.

How to apply

Overview of the sLoLa Application Process

The sLoLa funding opportunity is comprised of two mandatory stages.

Stage 1

Stage 1 consists of Registration and Outline submissions.


The aim of this registration is to ensure proposals are appropriately targeted to this funding opportunity and to provide an early indication of the level of demand, team composition and research areas.

Project leads must register their interest in the funding opportunity by completing a short registration on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. This requires a short summary of the proposed work and a list of the anticipated ‘Core Team’ members.

Feedback will only be provided by BBSRC if a registration indicates a proposal is potentially unsuitable to the scheme.

Any feedback will be provided no later than 10 working days after the close of the registration.

Apply for the registration stage.


This is only open to applicants who have completed a registration.

Project leads will provide a more detailed summary application describing their proposed sLoLa project idea and team using the Funding Service for assessment.

Costs are not requested for outline applications.

Apply for the outline stage.

Stage 2

Stage two is the full proposal stage.

This is only open to applicants who have been invited to submit following assessment of an outline proposal at stage 1. Further details on this stage will be available nearer the time.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. 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
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  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.

  • 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)
  • files must be smaller than 5MB 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:


Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. Applicants should use their discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors e.g. (Smith, Research Paper, 2019)

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


Stage 1 – registration

Registration is open now.

We must receive your Registration by 21 May 2024 at 4:00pm UK time. You will not be able to register your interest in applying to the sLoLa funding opportunity after this time.

Stage 1 – outline application

Outlines will open to submissions following the close of the registration period, on 21 May 2024 at 9:00am UK time. This is only open to applicants who completed a registration.

We must receive your outline application by 18 July 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.

Stage 2 – full application

Only applicants who are invited by BBSRC may submit a Stage 2 full application.

Stage 2 is expected to open in October 2024 and to close in February 2025. Further details on this stage will be available nearer the time.

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.

Publication of outcomes

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on the awarded research grants page.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Application questions for registration


Word limit: 300

What is your proposed sLoLa project?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In plain English, provide an overview that clearly describes your proposed work in the terms of:

  • context of the work within the field(s) of study
  • the overall goals of the project and potential outcomes
  • how the proposed work addresses the Frontier Bioscience scope of the funding opportunity: its potential to lead to major breakthroughs in our fundamental understanding of living systems and deliver new knowledge about key biological principles and mechanisms


Word limit: 300

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide an overview of the specific objectives of your proposed work.

Your objectives should require delivery by a single, coherent program.

Details of the objectives may be adjusted between stage 1 and 2, but we would expect the overall aims of the project to be broadly the same and remain aligned to the scope of the funding opportunity.

Core team

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

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Research area

Word limit: 50

What three phrases best describe the science area, or areas, covered in your proposed sLoLa project?

This information will be used by BBSRC to understand the portfolio of registrations received.

Methods used

Word limit: 50

What are the main methodologies in your proposed sLoLa project?.

This could include experimental methods (for example, microscopy, – omics, structural biology) and analytical approaches (for example, computational modelling, artificial intelligence).

This information will be used by BBSRC to better understand the portfolio of registrations received.

Application questions for outline applications


Word limit: 5

Guidance for writing a summary

Please write N/A in this section.

Core team

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

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions


What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

Word limit: 750

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field or fields
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new fundamental knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • is of sufficient novelty and ambition to warrant consideration for funding
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

Within the vision we also expect you to:

  • provide the overall aims and objectives of your research, typically as a small number of bullet points
  • describe your aims in the context of relevant prior work by your team and the wider bioscience research landscape
  • highlight features that are particularly original or unique
  • describe how your application addresses the frontier bioscience scope of the funding opportunity, in particular its potential to lead to a major advancement in the fundamental understanding of living systems

Your project must be within the frontier bioscience scope of the funding opportunity.

If a full stage proposal is invited, it is expected that the high-level objectives will appear unchanged unless feedback from the outline stage assessment process indicates otherwise.

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


Word limit: 1,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

Explain how your approach:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • meets the highest international standards of research excellence in the scientific area, or areas, covered
  • deploys or develops the most appropriate tools, methods and technologies according to the highest international standards and cutting-edge advances in research
  • leverages the team’s collective capabilities, noting the specific contributions of your team members to achieving each of your objectives
  • leverages the research environment, available facilities and other resources available to your team and how this will contribute to the success of the work

Within the approach we also expect you to:

  • clearly outline the role and contribution of project leads and project co-leads to each objective
  • give an overview of anticipated research effort needed to fulfil the programme of work and explain how this will be organised in relation to your objectives and the project leads and project co-leads leading them, as well as technical and research staff
  • include a summary diagram as an image at the very end of this section that provides an overview of your project. The diagram should identify the key aspects of your programme of work and how they interrelate, including the contribution of team members.

Outlines will not be subject to a detailed technical assessment by subject-area experts, but broad feasibility will be considered. The approach should be written with this in mind, so that the information is accessible to a broad panel of experts from a range of different fields.

Your approach should include an overview of how you will tackle the individual objectives, including reference to the experimental and analytical methods, tools, and technologies which will be employed or developed, and what model system, or systems, might be used. Key synergies or interdependencies between objectives which contribute to the delivery of outcomes greater than the sum of individual objectives should be highlighted.

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

Strategic case

Word limit: 500 words

What is the strategic case for a sLoLa grant?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should:

  • justify why your proposed programme of work requires longer and larger scale funding to achieve its aims
  • describe the synergy across the proposed work, including how the work is more than the ‘sum of its parts’
  • explain how the project is not achievable through a series of smaller awards nor by individual groups working in isolation
  • explain how the proposed work will demonstrate UK leadership in the field
  • explain the project’s uniqueness including its distinctiveness versus any existing longer and larger scale research endeavours in a national and international context. This should reference BBSRC’s research portfolio: for information, please see downloads on the funding opportunity web page and Gateway to Research
  • describe plans for ensuring long-term legacy of the project beyond the team (such as training, FAIR data, software, technologies or other resources generated through the project)

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

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

What the panel 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 others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community
  • contributed to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge: sLoLa awards are expected to use a variety of experimental techniques and generate a large amount of data so care should be taken to highlight both experimental and analytical experience directly relevant to the proposed research
  • contributed to the inclusion and development of others
  • contributed to the maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributed to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

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

The word count for this section is 1,650 words: 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) 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.


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.

References may be included within this section.

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

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your stage 1 application using the following process.

Registration stage

Registrations will be reviewed by BBSRC programme managers who will examine the fit of the proposal to our remit and whether the work addresses the Frontier Bioscience scope of the funding opportunity.

You can make changes to the team and the projects objectives prior to submission to the outline stage. If substantive changes are made that may affect eligibility of the application we recommend you contact us before submitting your outline.

Outline stage

Outline applications will be assessed by a single multidisciplinary panel: the Strategic LoLa Committee (SLC), there is no external peer review.

The SLC will provide feedback and a recommendation to BBSRC for applications to invite to submit a full stage application. The SLC will assess following areas:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Strategic case
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver

If you are invited to submit a full stage application you can make changes to the proposed programme of work and team in response to feedback from the outline stage but your high-level aims should remain the same. If you intend to make substantive changes to your high-level aims or objectives such as adding or removing entire objectives or project co-leads please contact us at least 10 working days prior before submitting your full stage application.


We aim to provide any feedback on registrations within 10 working days of the deadline.

We aim to complete the outline assessment process by mid-October 2024.


Feedback on registrations will only be provided if an issue is identified. We may advise that your idea is not suitable for submission as an outline application.

If no issues are identified you will not be notified by us and should proceed with your outline application.

You will receive feedback from the SLC on your outline stage application.

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 UK Research and Innovation (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

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

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 about submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email

Include in the subject line: [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


Frontier bioscience: understanding the rules of life.

Webinar for potential applicants

We will hold a webinar on 25 April 2024. This will provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions. We will update this page as soon as a webinar date has been confirmed. A recording of the webinar and the slides, including answers to any questions will be uploaded afterwards for people who were unable to attend.

Register for the webinar.

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 documents

BBSRC portfolio of grants over £2 million (PDF, 316KB)

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