Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline

Contribute to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) vision ‘to push back the frontiers of biology to deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future’.

BBSRC’s ‘Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline’ is a programme through which we engage with our broad research and innovation community to identify adventurous and exciting ideas that have the potential to be transformational.

We’re looking for ideas that will capture the imagination of researchers, the public, industry, and government. From knowledge gaps and future technologies that will impact upon fundamental research, through to challenges affecting society and the world in which we live.

As part of UKRI, BBSRC is a major convenor, investor, and catalyst of the UK’s world-leading bioscience endeavour. The Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline is a key strand of BBSRC’s suite of horizon-scanning and insight-gathering activities that help ensure that stakeholder perspectives and priorities are reflected in our strategic decision-making, and that we remain agile and responsive to new ideas, opportunities, and challenges.

Through this pipeline we will discover compelling ideas that have the potential to develop into exciting, cross-cutting research agendas that bridge recognised gaps in our existing knowledge.

Targeted call for ideas: 31 October 2023 to 12 January 2024

While BBSRC is committed to hearing ideas from our stakeholders whenever they may arise and keep the ideas pipeline open as a rolling consultation, we are excited to be launching a time-limited and targeted call for new ideas.

We must envision bold ideas and questions that will drive BBSRC’s long-term thinking, ideas that will ensure future generations continue to benefit from bioscience and biotechnology.

As we look ahead, we wish to co-create our forward direction with our research and innovation community, ensuring our stakeholders’ priorities and perspectives are represented, and that we are prepared to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, multidisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets.

Between October and January we’d like to invite you to tell us about your big ideas using the survey linked below.

To consider submissions, BBSRC will convene a ‘Big Ideas Panel’ drawn from subject matter experts from across BBSRC’s Strategy Advisory Network, to help us identify the most transformational standalone ideas and exciting themes and evolutions of focus for our communities.

What is a Big Idea

A Big Idea is expected to be innovative, distinctive, and compelling and have the potential to create transformational change. We’re seeking ideas that will excite and inspire and are on a much larger scale than a single research grant.

Importantly, Big Ideas should have the potential to be achievable and deliver a step change if resourced in the right way. The Big Ideas should appeal to the research and innovation communities that would be expected to play a central role in realising their potential.

Big ideas are not necessarily driven by scale, we are looking for a level of ambition and transformational potential embedded within the idea. We’d like to encourage originators to be bold and submit ground-breaking, high-risk, adventurous concepts

From discovery science through to ideas addressing issues affecting society and the world in which we live, the pipeline is open to all, but ideas should have a bioscience focus.

Recognising that truly Big Ideas will often require working across disciplines and sectors. We’d like to encourage multidisciplinary ideas. We work across UKRI to identify potential synergies across remits, nurturing ideas in a connected and agile way.

The Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline aims to complement, rather than duplicate, wider activities such as the Moonshots engagement programme, and BBSRC’s Futures Thinking consultation and workshop. As such we are not looking for resubmission of Moonshots or the grand challenges submitted to our Futures Thinking workshop. We are hoping to see something truly novel, an unforeseen challenge or opportunity.

How to submit a Big Idea

Complete and submit the form available through the link below, before 5pm on 12 January 2024. Please provide a single contact point in the submission.

Submit your Big Idea.

Read the Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline submission guidance and frequently asked questions before submitting your idea.

What happens after you’ve submitted a Big Idea

Ideas will be batched after the closing date and reviewed and prioritised by the Big Ideas Panel. The panel will help BBSRC identify the most exciting ideas and themes, and understand potential next steps towards realising an idea.

After submission BBSRC will communicate with idea originators relating to the progress of their idea in the pipeline.

Ideas will first be checked for general suitability for the pipeline, including relevance to bioscience and the Big Idea’s distinctiveness (for example, the Big Idea isn’t the topic of an existing or planned research and innovation programme).

The second step will be considering the idea’s transformative potential, and this stage will be overseen by the Big Ideas Panel. Idea originators will be provided with feedback following the completion of this process, and we expect to consult with submitters and the wider community later in the year to share and shape the most exciting themes and ideas.

Please note, once a Big Idea has been submitted you are giving BBSRC permission to develop the idea in any way we see appropriate. This may include further development by BBSRC staff working with you and inviting other people to lead or be involved in the development of the idea.

Ask us a question about the Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) statement

All personal data provided to BBSRC (as part of UK Research and Innovation) in connection to Bioscience Big Ideas Pipeline (BBIP) and submitted in the submission form will be processed in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and the EU General Data Protection Regulations 2016/679 (GDPR) where appropriate.

The personal information that you provide on this form will only be used for the processing of your submission. The information will be viewed by BBSRC and UKRI staff and those who are part of the reviewing process.

BBSRC will use the contact details provided to update you on progress relating to your idea’s review and to possibly request further input. BBSRC reserves the right to publish and share an idea’s title and summary and the name of the originator of the idea.

Further information on how we use personal data, and how you can exercise your rights as a data subject, can be found on this page, the submission guidance and FAQs and the UKRI Privacy Notice.

Last updated: 16 November 2023

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