Research Committees


Committee and Pool membership

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) research committees and Pool of Experts play a key role in delivering our mission through participation in the assessment of research grant applications, and identification of the highest quality research for investment.

Serving on a research committee provides useful insight into the grant funding process, offers an opportunity to be involved in the support of cutting edge research and will be beneficial in the preparation of future grant applications for those who serve.

Opportunity to apply

The call for expressions of interest is closed.

What’s it like to be a BBSRC committee member?

In the video below, committee members share their experiences of being part of a research committee, the benefits they found and advice for future members – including the need for increased diversity.

Do you have any minimum application criteria?

We are open to applications from a wide range of people from all sectors, and therefore prefer to use role profiles which appear in the advert. You will be asked to demonstrate how you fit these profiles.

However, for academic applicants to apply to the pool of experts we would generally expect you to have been principal investigator on two awards of at least £150,000 in the last 10 years, with one being awarded in the last five years.

To encourage early career researchers, a fellowship may count as one of these awards.

How do the committees operate?

Each committee has a core membership that is complemented at each meeting by members drawn from the Pool of Experts. Membership of the core committees and Pool of Experts is composed of both academic and industrial representatives. While serving on a committee, core and pool members are considered to be of equal standing, and where possible appointments to Core positions are made from the existing pool membership. This core/pool mode of operation ensures that BBSRC have the appropriate expertise available to assess the proposals it receives.

How long would I serve?

Core and pool members are initially appointed for a period of one year, with the expectation that they will serve a maximum term of three years in either a pool or core role, or both. For members initially serving on the pool and then moving to a core position, a maximum service period of six years is permitted.

How many meetings will I have to attend?

Attendance of committee meetings will depend upon the portfolio of applications received, conflicts of interest and availability. Due to the size and diversity of the pool, members of the pool are likely to serve on a committee for fewer meetings than core members. Pool members may also be asked to assist with the reviewing of applications for a meeting.

What is involved?

The majority of the work for committee members takes place in the two to three weeks before a committee meeting. Meetings currently take place three times a year in February, May and September. Committee members are usually approached to serve 12 weeks before a meeting. Each committee member will usually be asked to introduce 8-12 proposals and will need to use the reviewer comments as well as their own experience to reach a view on each proposal.

Prior to serving, members are also required to attend an induction. These inductions typically last one day and a number are held throughout the year.

Do I get paid for being a committee member?

Eligible committee members are paid an honorarium for attending a meeting and reasonable travel expenses will also be reimbursed.

Do I get any training?

Members do receive initial induction training which includes participation in a simulated meeting. The office also provides ongoing support to all serving members.

Objective decision making – insights from responsive mode committee chairs

For those members who wish to get more involved, in the video below some of the Committee Chairs talk about the role of chairing research committees, including why they chose to do it and how it is different from being a member.


Pool Manager

Last updated: 11 September 2023

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