Research networks



BBSRC participate in several major national research and research funding networks:

  • Microbiological Safety of Food Funders’ Group
  • National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
  • MRC: National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI)
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)
  • UK Collaborative on Development Sciences

We have also funded a series of research networks, intended to support community building in these particular thematic areas:

  • BioImaging UK
  • Chemical biology
  • Data Visualisation
  • Metagenomics
  • Multi-Scale Biology
  • Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB)
  • Physics of Life Network
  • Plant Phenomics
  • Technology Touching Life Networks
  • UK Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN)
  • Veterinary Vaccinology Network

BioImaging UK

BioImagingUK is a multi-funder network, with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust working together. It was established with the aim to tackle challenges cross-cutting the bioimaging community including:

  • training
  • outreach to the wider imaging community
  • careers
  • defining strategic priorities for the community.

The Principal Investigator is Professor Jason Swedlow (University of Dundee).

Chemical biology

Funded by BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC, with investment from over 20 user organisations, to improve collaboration between academia and industry at the chemical biology interface in areas such as drug discovery, biocatalysis and agri-chemicals.

The academic collaborators leading seven networks are:

  • Dr Laura Barter (Imperial College London): Agri-Science Chemical Biology Network
  • Professor Weng Chan (University of Nottingham): Cell Control in a Petri Dish (CCPD) Collaborative Network
  • Professor Beining Chen (The University of Sheffield): Stem Cells, Prion Proteins and Alzheimer’s Diseases: A Prion Chemical Biology Network (PCBNet)
  • Professor David Klug (Imperial College London) and Professor Andrew Wilson (University of Leeds): Protein-Protein Interaction Inhibitors: From Design and Synthesis, Through Biophysics to Cell Permeable Inhibitors
  • Professor Jason Micklefield (The University of Manchester): Manchester Chemical Biology Network
  • Professor Nick Tomkinson (Cardiff University): Alignment of Synthesis, Medicinal Chemistry and Structural Genomics to Accelerate UK Drug Discovery
  • Professors Paul Wyatt and Ian Gilbert (University of Dundee): 3D Libraries Consortium

Data Visualisation

The Biological Visualisation Network (BiVi) was intended to provide a forum for researchers who have data to visualise to come together with researchers who develop data visualisations. The Principal Investigator is Professor Jessie Kenedy (Edinburgh Napier).


The metagenomics network was funded on recommendation of the BBSRC Metagenomics Expert Working Group. The network is intended to bring together researchers interested in metagenomics to discuss challenges associated with using metagenomics techniques. The principal Investigator is Professor Elizabeth Wellington (Warwick).

Multi-Scale Biology

The UK Multiscale Biology Network was funded on recommendation of the Digital Organisms Expert Working Group and the Exploiting New Ways of Working Strategy Advisory Panel. It aims to build a multi-disciplinary community with a common interest in developing and applying multi-scale biology techniques and is led by Professor Markus Owen.

Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB)

In 2014, together with support from EPSRC, we funded 13 Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB) across a range of IBBE relevant areas. These networks were setup to foster collaborations between academia, industry, policy makers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to find new approaches to tackle research challenges, translate research and deliver key benefits in IBBE and also look for international opportunities.

In 2019, BBSRC, with support from EPSRC, committed approximately £11 million to fund six unique collaborative Networks in Phase II of the Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB) from 2019 to 2024. The second phase of the BBSRC NIBB will build upon the success of the 13 Phase I NIBB and continue to build capacity and capability in the UK supporting research and translation in sustainable, biologically based manufacturing. The Phase II NIBB will continue to foster collaboration between academic researchers and businesses at all levels, using excellent research to tackle research challenges and help deliver key benefits in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy.

These Phase II multidisciplinary networks will drive new ideas to harness the potential of biological resources for producing and processing materials, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals, and energy. The networks organise conferences and events, provide flexible funding for Proof-of-Concept projects and are open to new members through-out their lifetime.

Physics of Life Network

The Physics of Life network is funded by EPSRC with co-funding from BBSRC. Its purpose is to bring together researchers from the physics, biology and other research communities wishing to develop an integrated understanding of living systems by employing experimental and theoretical physics approaches. The network ultimately aims to address the grand challenge of integrating biology across the length scales, from molecules to systems.

Plant Phenomics

The UK Plant Phenotyping Network (UK PPN) was funded with the intention of coordinating the development of internationally competitive phenomics research capability in the UK. The Principal Investigator is Professor John Doonan (IBERS).

Technology Touching Life Networks

Funded by BBSRC, EPSRC and MRC, with an investment of £3 million, to foster interdisciplinary research into innovative and potentially disruptive technological capabilities that will drive world-leading basic discovery research in the health and life sciences.

The five TTL networks funded are:

  • 3DbioNet (University of Liverpool)
  • Organ-on-a-Chip (Queen Mary University of London)
  • PhenomUK (University of Nottingham)
  • University College London: ImagingBioPro (University College London)
  • Integrative Biological Imaging Network (Kings College London).

UK Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN)

The UK Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN), led by Mike Mendl (Bristol) was funded in January 2016. The AWRN aims to bring together the UK animal welfare research community, researchers in related areas and stakeholders with interests in animal welfare, to identify important research topics, foster collaboration and support and encourage research activities.

Veterinary Vaccinology Network

The Veterinary Vaccinology Network aims to foster a multi-disciplinary community to enhance the uptake of new tools and technologies and address the unmet needs in protective immunity, in order to design, develop and deliver safe and efficacious next generation vaccines. The network will draw together the major UK research players to advance the field.


You can find out more information.

External Relations


Last updated: 30 May 2024

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