Information for applicants
Research applications aligned to the scope of Technology Touching Life are welcome through the responsive/standard mode schemes of the three research councils (BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC). To help applicants make the most of this route to funding we have provided some information and guidance below.
To help applicants identify the most appropriate lead research council for their proposals, we recommend they submit a query form (PDF, 161KB) (Office (Word, 80KB)) to the TTL inbox. This will be discussed by a group involving staff from across the three research councils who will provide feedback prior to submission of the full application. The group will then also help to coordinate reviewer selection, cross-council co-funding where appropriate, and strategic briefing to the relevant funding panel.
Please submit your query to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will aim to provide a response within 15 working days.
Please note that expressions of interest (EoIs) will not be assessed on their scientific quality. Submission of an EoI is not a prerequisite for submitting a TTL relevant proposal to any of the eligible schemes across the research councils.
One research council will lead on the peer review for responsive/standard mode applications:
- Proposals submitted to MRC will be assessed by the most relevant board or panel. Response mode applications are assessed through four research boards: Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Neurosciences and Mental Health, Infections and Immunity and Population and Systems Medicine.
- Proposals submitted to BBSRC will be assessed by BBSRC Responsive Mode Committees, and are relevant to the Technology Development Strategic Priority Area
- Proposals submitted to EPSRC could be discussed by any standard mode panel across EPSRC, as appropriate to the research proposed. Standard mode panels are primarily run by the capability themes, which are Physical Sciences, Engineering, Information and Communication Technologies or Mathematical Sciences.
Considerations for applicants
Interdisciplinary technology research will need to be assessed by peer reviewers from across the relevant domains, where appropriate including reviewers with relevant expertise in interdisciplinary research. To best communicate TTL research to a range of multidisciplinary peer reviewers, we have laid out the following principles for applicants to consider:
- Explain how the research incorporates innovative fundamental technology research that is grounded in a clear and relevant biological question. The technology research should be exciting, ambitious and offer the potential to enable progress on challenging biological questions that would otherwise not be possible.
- Discuss the research questions, scientific novelty and potential impacts from each disciplinary perspective. Consider how the research proposed will advance knowledge in both the engineering/physical sciences and life sciences.
- Show why an interdisciplinary approach is necessary, and describe the skills and expertise required to guide and deliver the research. Where a collaborative team has been assembled, explain the contributions of each member to the overall aim.
- For collaborative proposals, demonstrate how a true partnership will be developed where ideas and questions are co-created and co-delivered.
- Describe how the collaboration will be maintained throughout the project.
- Describe a coherent and cohesive research project that avoids non-convergent ‘parallel’ progress of project components or contributing disciplines.
- Proposals relevant to TTL are expected to have begun bridging the EPS/HLS interface. This means that validating the technology or tool in a biological context should be considered within the proposed research; this may be iterative in nature and in a relatively simple model for early-stage or high-risk work. Proposals should clearly describe where the project is expected to be in the time available and what the next steps are beyond the period of the grant. It is important to provide sufficient contextual information about the future potential of the technology even where proposals are focused on proof of principle and initial validation.
- Consider the terminology used within the proposal and whether it will allow the research to be clearly understood by audiences from different disciplines.
- Detail how any early career researchers associated with the proposal will be supported to develop their academic careers.