Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UK Gut-Immunology-Brain Axis Network+: Stage 2 (invite only)

Start application

Apply for funding to support an interdisciplinary network to bring the UK research and innovation community together to advance the understanding of the mechanisms of the gut-immunology-brain axis (GIBA) across the life course.

You must:

  • be based at a research organisation eligible for Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC ) funding
  • meet individual eligibility requirements
  • be invited to apply following a successful expression of interest

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £6,250,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC (£5,000,000).

The duration of the award is up to four years.

Who can apply

You can only apply for this funding opportunity if you have been invited to do so following a successful expression of interest to lead the GIBA Network+.

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.

Researchers who are not based at UK institutions are welcome as project partners and network members but may not request funds as part of the application.

Your team

Leadership team

The GIBA network leadership team should consist of one UK project lead, who will act as the network director and up to four UK-based project co-leads, one of whom will act as co-director to assist the network director in the leadership of the network, and at least one of whom should be an early-career researcher.

Project partners

In addition to UK academia, project partners may include individuals from public, private or third sectors, such as:

  • industry
  • the international community
  • policymakers
  • end users of research (for example clinicians, practitioners)
  • individuals with lived experience

Who is not eligible to apply

  • project co-leads (international)
  • project co-leads from business or the third sector

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


The aim of this funding opportunity is to establish a single interdisciplinary network to bring the UK research and innovation community together to:

  • advance the understanding of the mechanisms of the gut-immunology-brain axis (GIBA) across the life course and how these can be modulated by lifestyle and other factors
  • convene and create networking and other collaborative opportunities and facilitate a range of activities in support of this goal


The GIBA is a complex network of direct and indirect bidirectional communication routes that exist between the brain and intestinal tract by which the cognitive and emotional activity of the brain influences gut activity, and gut activity and digestive products influence the brain and mental health. This complex network of connections involves multiple biological systems and signalling pathways such as neural, endocrine, metabolic and immune pathways.

The GIBA is an emerging and rapidly growing area of research with potential to improve physical, cognitive and mental health across the life course. However, many of the biological mechanisms underpinning the GIBA, and how it is modulated by lifestyle (for example, diet, including ultra-processed foods) and other factors (for example, cognitive function, chronobiology, stress, sleep, emotion and so on), are not well understood. Much of the evidence supporting a role for the axis in human health is correlative. Experimental approaches in animal models, such as germ-free mice, have provided promising indications of causal mechanisms, but these findings have yet to be translated to humans. Despite these scientific challenges, recent advances in tools, technologies and methodological approaches present a timely opportunity to deliver a step-change in current understanding of the GIBA and how it can be modulated.

BBSRC recognises that advancing research and innovation within the GIBA field will require new interdisciplinary partnerships and integrated approaches across biological systems, disciplines, and sectors, as well the use and development of high-quality methodologies and tools.

In March 2023, BBSRC organised a community building workshop which aimed to explore the opportunities, challenges and the research and innovation needs to advance understanding of the GIBA and to inform future activities. The recommendations from this workshop have helped to inform this network opportunity and should be considered during the development of the proposal. These are summarised below, and the workshop report (PDF, 1,718KB) is also available:

  • build interdisciplinary research network(s) to establish understanding, create collaborative opportunities and build capacity
  • understand the causal biological mechanisms and their actions on systems and health across the whole lifespan
  • better use of existing resources, for example promote awareness, access and sharing of available materials and resources such as population and patient cohorts, UK Biobank, toolkits and experimental models
  • develop experimental models that are a true representation of human biology, such as animal models, in vitro systems (organoids, lab-on-a-chip and microfluidics), and in silico models to help advance the GIBA field and improve translation to human
  • develop non-invasive techniques such as inexpensive and convenient routes to obtain different and ‘cleaner’ samples, repeat sampling, as well rapidly expanding cohort availability for studies
  • data and data integration to enable better exploitation of existing datasets for more cost effective and rapid identification of the most promising mechanisms
  • role of AI as a tool to better manage, analyse and integrate data sets to advance GIBA research


BBSRC seeks to establish an interdisciplinary GIBA Network+ that will catalyse the research community with the formation of multiple interdisciplinary research partnerships across a diverse cohort of researchers and stakeholders, with complimentary skills and expertise to drive multi-directional knowledge transfer across disciplines and sectors and increase interdisciplinary research and innovation capacity and capability in this complex area.

The network should:

  • have a strong vision for the change they want to create within the research landscape during the funding period of the network to advance mechanistic understanding of the bi-directional communication pathways within the GIBA to improve health across the life course
  • facilitate networking, new collaborations, knowledge creation and exchange across disciplines and sectors
  • support two early career researcher fellowships
  • integrate research communities to gain new knowledge, strengthen science disciplines and break down barriers to research progress
  • demonstrate leadership to build research capacity and interdisciplinary capability in the UK
  • represent a diversity of thought and show some evidence of community co-development or buy-in
  • deliver tangible outputs (for example, publications, synthesising existing evidence, framework for future activity, mapping the UK landscape in GIBA, research and innovation gap analysis, stakeholder engagement plan and novel research proposals)
  • encourage inclusion of a diverse range of individuals, disciplines and stakeholders across academia, industry, and policy relevant to the focus of the network, and geographically distributed across the UK, to ensure the outcomes and impacts of work undertaken by the network are maximised. This may also include representatives from fields such as medical, computational, mathematical, chemical, physical, engineering and social sciences
  • identify challenges within the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) space and how these can be addressed, including those experienced by minoritised and under-represented groups

We expect the network to:

  • have a strong, inclusive and open leadership team that will act on behalf of and in partnership with the wider research community
  • include an external advisory group that provides support and advice
  • be based in the UK and actively seek to grow the membership (including international members) of the network throughout the lifetime of the award
  • engage with existing strategic investments and other funding opportunities and will be required to work collectively in areas of common interest
  • liaise closely with BBSRC, keeping it informed of activities and events
  • consider EDI in its activities, including where relevant outreach across career paths, career stages, expertise levels, and to underrepresented groups as required

Examples of under-represented or minoritised groups may include individuals belonging to a protected characteristic group, such as an ethnic minority group, women, individuals who are disabled or individuals who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, it can also include those who have caring responsibilities or other communities who have requested additional support from their network.

An initial list of network members is not required.

BBSRC will convene an expert panel to conduct a mid-term review of the network activities and to provide focus to the network for the remaining two years. Following the mid-term review assessment and working with leadership team, we expect the network to expand its activities to include:

  • setting up topic focused spokes to advance GIBA research and innovation
  • scaling up collaborative and outreach activities, particularly stakeholder partnerships and international collaboration
  • increasing the translation of research

External advisory group

As part of the network’s governance framework, the application must articulate plans to assemble an external advisory group (EAG) to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the network and provide unbiased advice and support. An overview of how this will be established and utilised should be included.

An outline of the collective skills, expertise and experience that will be sought for the advisory group should be provided. Provide information on the proposed membership of this advisory group. The group should be independent from both the academic institutions and project partners involved in the proposal and the mechanisms to ensure this should be detailed in the application.

No salary costs should be requested for members of the external advisory group, but EAG meetings can be costed as part of the proposal and T&S for group members can be requested.

A BBSRC representative must also be invited to join the external advisory group and invited to attend external advisory group meetings. It is expected that BBSRC will be an observer only.


The duration of this award is a maximum of four years.

Funding available

The FEC of the network can be up to £6,250,000.

BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC (£5,000,000).

The total cost of the project to BBSRC must not exceed £5 million.

Eligible costs

BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC with the following exceptions:

  • network manager:
    • costs may be requested for a network manager (full or part-time) payable at 100% FEC to provide administrative support for the day-to-day network activities such as project management, event coordination and communications and website development for the network
    • as a community support role, the salary of the network manager can be requested at 100% FEC
    • no general estates and indirect costs should be claimed in association with network manager’s role if claimed at 100% FEC
    • costs requested at 100% FEC should be listed under Staff (Exceptions)
  • network events:
    • costs for supporting and facilitating network events such as workshops, working groups, seminars, conferences, hackathons or summer schools, can be requested at 100% FEC
    • no general estates and indirect costs should be claimed in association with network events if claimed at 100% FEC
    • costs requested at 100% FEC should be listed under Other (Exceptions)

Flexible fund

A flexible fund to support small scale activities aligned to the network may be requested and will be funded at 80% FEC by BBSRC. It is anticipated that the total flexible fund awards will not exceed 25% of total requested cost and that individual awards would typically not exceed £50,000.

Flexible funds may be awarded by the network to members to support a range of projects, for example:

  • feasibility studies
  • synthesis of existing evidence
  • method, tools or technology development
  • discipline and sector exchanges (discipline hopping)
  • short secondments
  • writing policy documents
  • commissioning reports and analysis
  • skills development
  • early career research training

It is envisaged that these flexible funds will help to support the development of new interdisciplinary partnerships and foster the development of new approaches between network members to provide robust preliminary data to inform longer-term GIBA research and innovation activities and generate research applications to other funding opportunities.

Clear justification for how the flexible fund will be used must be provided. BBSRC reserves the right to sign off the assessment process for any flexible funding competitions.


It is anticipated that up to £1 million of the requested funding for the network will support two fellowships for early career researchers wishing to carry out independent research within a host laboratory and gain leadership skills. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC. These fellowships must be completed within the duration of the network.

Clear justification for how the fellowship funding will be allocated must be provided, alongside demonstration of how the assessment process will be fair and equitable. BBSRC reserves the right to sign off the assessment process for any fellowship funding competitions.

Network leadership

Salary costs for the network director (project lead) and up to four co-leads may be requested to cover their time spent directing and managing the network. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC. However, it is envisaged that staff costs will not form the majority of costs of the proposal and be reasonable (anticipated to not exceed 30% of total requested costs).

No other salary costs should be included.

Salary costs for members of the external advisory group or other network members should not be included in the proposal.

What we will not fund

We will not support:

  • a programme of work that:
    • appears to be siloed and where interdisciplinary research outcomes are limited, for example where work packages are discreet and discipline specific rather than integrating disciplinary knowledge and methodological approaches
    • has an imbalance of intellectual content, and where some disciplines appear ‘bolted’ on
    • does not clearly articulate how this funding will drive significant novelty and interdisciplinarity
  • salary costs for members of the external advisory group or network members
  • international travel and subsistence
  • overseas costs
  • equipment
  • relocation costs
  • publication costs
  • cost of any time spent in quarantine as a result of travelling on this grant
  • PhD stipends

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.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

See further guidance and information about TR&I, including where you can find additional support.

How to apply

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. We strongly suggest that if you are asking UKRI to add your organisation to the Funding Service to enable you to apply to this funding opportunity, you also create an organisation Administration Account. This will be needed to allow the acceptance and management of any grant that might be offered to you.
  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. You should use your 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 for example (Smith, Research Paper, 2019).

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


BBSRC must receive your application by 17 September 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.

Publication of outcomes

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

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


Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary of your network proposal.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. 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)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician

Only list one individual as project lead.

Please see some additional guidance on the core team:

  • the core team membership is limited to no more than six applicants. This includes the network director, up to four other project co-leads (one of whom is the network co-director and one of whom is an early career researcher) and the network manager
  • the network director must be the project lead (PL) of the application
  • a network manager is mandatory and should be identified via the grant manager role

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

Application questions


Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed network?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed network:

  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field/area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment
  • will connect and expand the GIBA community with researchers from a broad range of disciplines
  • enhance research capacity in the UK
  • will embed EDI considerations into, and how these will guide your aims, as well as other activities such as stakeholder engagement, events and networking

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • describe the concept, context and coordination function of your network
  • demonstrate the alignment of the network to this opportunity
  • clearly explain how your proposed network will create the knowledge and skills to advance understanding of GIBA and inform novel strategies to improve physical, cognitive and mental health across the life course

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Please make sure to check sizing and readability of the image using ‘read view’ prior to submission.

Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.


Word limit: 2,500

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
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • will build EDI considerations into the formation, operation and governance of the network, including how these will be operationalised

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Please make sure to check sizing and readability of the image using ‘read view’ prior to submission. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines
  • explain how you will undertake community and stakeholder engagement and wider participation, including providing an outline of a communication plan to be developed within the first six months of the award
  • evidence co-creation and user engagement
  • demonstrate how the network will identify and develop partnerships with relevant parties which contribute to the aims of the network
  • outline how the flexible funding will be used and how it supports your objectives for the network (further details must be provided in the ‘Flexible funding’ section)
  • detail how you plan to distribute and manage the funding for the two fellowships through robust, transparent competitive processes, including monitoring, reporting and governance
  • outline future plans for sustaining the network beyond this application, or for funding research which may develop from the partnership

Activities focused on increasing engagement with individuals from minority groups should, wherever possible, be based on quantitative and qualitative evidence. For example, EDI data collected from the network community and the networks’ potential outreach as well as qualitative evidence such as the lived experience of the members of the network.

This evidence building can be built into the activities within the network; a strong evidence base prior to application is not mandatory. The networks will need to identify a clear strategy for addressing these challenges through the funding available and identify potential solutions and opportunities for engagement with these communities with the goal of tackling these challenges. If applicable, include information on how you will acquire and manage EDI data under the ‘Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)’ question.


Word limit: 500

How will you manage the award to successfully deliver its objectives?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the proposed award will be managed, demonstrating that it:

  • has an overall governance appropriate for the oversight and successful delivery of the network
  • will be effectively and inclusively managed, with clear leadership team roles and responsibilities to ensure appropriate delivery and prioritisation of network activities aligned to the overall ambitions of the network
  • how you will work together as a team to ensure that the different disciplines, ECRs and stakeholders can contribute in a meaningful and timely way
  • has an external advisory group, which is independent from both the academic institutions and project partners involved in the proposal. Provide information on the proposed membership of this advisory group and how it will be used
  • has plans for monitoring your progress as well as self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of your award
  • will manage and encourage partnerships with non-HEI organisations across government, industry and civil society
  • will put in place appropriate governance and administration to deliver the range of network activities, particularly the flexible fund and fellowships

Within this section you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • 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 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

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 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 others
  • 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 Funding Service.

The word count for this section is 1,650 words, 1,150 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 to 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 below. 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).

You should complete this section as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

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

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical and 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

If you are collecting or using data, you should identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing and storing the data (including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data)
  • formal information standards that your proposed work will comply with

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) relating to research involving:

  • animals
  • human participants
  • genetically modified organisms

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s key resource costs, in particular:

  • project staff
  • flexible funding
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’, such as the network manager and other network activity costs

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

Flexible Fund

Word limit: 1,000

How will you use and manage the flexible fund?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you will use and manage the flexible fund so that it:

  • supports your objectives
  • distributes funding appropriately across a diverse range of activities
  • where appropriate, distributes funding through robust, transparent competitive processes
  • builds capacity in key fields and career stages
  • ensures appropriate processes for monitoring, reporting and governance of funded activities

Your organisation’s support

Word limit: 10

Provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a Statement of Support from your research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed. This should include details of any matched funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work.

The committee will be looking for a strong statement of commitment from your research organisation.

BBSRC recognises that in some instances, this information may be provided by the Research Office, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) or equivalent, or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or Research Office, or both
  • office address or web link

Upload details are provided within the Funding Service on the actual application.

Project partners

Provide details about any project partners’ contributions.

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.

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: letters of support

Upload a single PDF containing the letters of support from each partner you named in the Project partners section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter ‘N/A’. Each letter you provide 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
  • the page limit is two sides A4 per partner

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

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 letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Do not provide a statement of support from collaborators.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

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

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Expert panel review and interview

The invited network proposal will be reviewed by an independent panel of experts only and the leadership team will be invited to an interview by the panel in November 2024.

The process is as follows:

Each member of the expert panel will review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity and provide reviewer comments.

There will be an opportunity for you to respond to the panel reviewer comments.

Full details of the interview process will be sent to leadership team before the interviews. The interview will assess whether the proposed network meets the assessment criteria sufficiently.

The panel may recommend conditions for BBSRC to impose before funding is awarded. Based on the panel’s recommendations, BBSRC reserves the right to seek further information from the applicants before awarding funding.

BBSRC will make the final funding decision in December 2024.

BBSRC reserves the right to modify the assessment process.

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.

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

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Governance
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • Resources and cost justification

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

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.

See further information on 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

Additional disability and accessibility adjustments

UKRI can offer disability and accessibility support for UKRI applicants and grant holders during the application and assessment process if required.

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

Report of BBSRC GIBA Workshop March 2023 (PDF, 2MB)

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