Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Technology development for the biosciences

This theme focuses on research that yields the next generation of new technologies, methodologies and resources in bioscience. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) encourages development of novel bioanalytical or biological tools and technologies where there are gaps.

BBSRC’s standard research grant provides up to £2 million for projects in this priority area.
The standard research grant is an ongoing scheme. Projects can last up to five years.
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

In order for a proposal to fall within the scope of technology development, it must address the requirement for novel technology relevant to our remit. In particular, applications are sought in the following areas:

  • bioimaging and functional analysis
  • omics technologies, including new sequencing technologies
  • toolkit for synthetic biology.

Applications that include major contributions from non-bioscience disciplines are welcome, as long as there is a strong focus on delivering a new technology demonstrably relevant to an area of biology within our remit. Innovative life science instrumentation development is also welcome. Proposals in technology development should incorporate testing of the technology for use in an area of biology.

Research areas not in the scope of this theme

Areas that are not included within the scope of this council-wide priority are projects that are:

  • making minor, incremental modifications to existing technologies
  • focused on the application of an existing technology
  • on technologies where the impact of the technology or the resulting research enabled by them is likely to be limited
  • focused on generic technologies with principal applications in non-bioscience disciplines.


It is expected that proposals will require strong multidisciplinary partnerships between bioscientists and researchers in the physical sciences, engineering and information technology disciplines.

Proposals should describe how they will fulfil one or more unmet needs in the biosciences.

Data sharing

Proposals should comply with our data sharing policy. Proposals developing informatics tools should make such tools available to the wider user and developer community with as few restrictions as possible. They should ideally use open source best practices, for example Creative Commons or Open Source Initiative recommended licences.

However, we recognise that, at times, the creators’ intellectual property rights may need to be protected before any sharing takes place. This is encouraged where appropriate beforehand. Such protection should not unduly delay the release of any data or tools arising from BBSRC funding.

Why we're doing it

World-class bioscience is critically dependent on new technologies, methodologies and resources. This theme aims to encourage research that will yield the next generation of these new ways of working.

Projects should focus on underpinning and enabling one of our strategic research priorities or have potential, generic utility across one or more broad areas of the biosciences. Our strategic research priorities are:

  • agriculture and food security
  • industrial biotechnology and bioenergy
  • bioscience for health.

This area of focus aims to encourage the development of novel bioanalytical or biological tools and technologies, including the types of approach that would appear on a biologists wish list, and where there are currently technological gaps.


It is expected that proposals in the areas of technology development for the biosciences will provide tools and resources of potential application to broad communities in the biosciences.

Opportunities, support and resources available

This is one of BBSRC’s priority areas for our standard research grant. You can apply at any time.

Standard (sometimes known as ‘responsive’) funding opportunities are open to a wide range of research and approaches within BBSRC’s remit.

Find out more about applying for funding and what to include in your application.

Who to contact

Oliver Huxley

Email to

Last updated: 13 February 2023

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