BBSRC Responsive Mode Committee chair and deputy chair vacancies

Closing date
15 November 2023
Number of positions
Two chairs

One deputy chair

Length of term
Three years

Committee B chair role starting 1 April 2024

Committee C chair role starting 1 July 2024

Committee C deputy chair role starting 1 January 2024

Time commitment
Approximately 20 days per calendar year (including responsive mode meetings, assessment preparation plus Committee Chairs and other ad hoc activities)
Attendance fee per meeting, for both in-person and virtual meetings.
Travel and subsistence for in-person meetings.
Interview date
To be confirmed 2023
Outcomes communicated
December 2023

We are inviting expressions of interest to join the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Responsive Mode Committees B and C as:

  • chair
  • deputy chair

Who we’re looking for

Peer review is a vital part of the decision-making process that supports our investment in bioscience.

Our assessment research committees provide expert knowledge and insight to ensure that we invest in important and high-quality research, innovation and training in the biosciences.

We expect you to be well respected in your field. Knowledge of the UK funding landscape is essential.

For Committee B we are looking for expertise in one or more of the following remit areas:

  • cell, genetic and molecular biology of both plants and microbes
  • crop and plant science (including photosynthesis and pathogens)
  • microbiology (both applied and basic)
  • soil science

For Committee C we are looking for expertise in one or more of the following remit areas:

  • genetics
  • developmental biology
  • science, technology, engineering, and mathematics approaches to biology
  • stem cells
  • tissue engineering

You must show evidence of leadership and some chairing experience.

What you’ll be doing

You will be leading the research committee in:

  • undertaking the peer review of applications according to BBSRC processes and best practice
  • providing recommendations for awards to BBSRC Executive
  • providing feedback to BBSRC on the operational delivery, emerging areas of bioscience and responsive mode narrative

Key responsibilities

Your responsibilities include:

  • attending three responsive mode meetings per year
  • facilitating the fair and evidence-based assessment of research grant applications and safeguarding the decision making of the committee
  • asking questions of the introducers and the committee and facilitating a discussion, rather than leading on the detailed assessment of proposals
  • summarising the discussion and ensuring a consensus decision is reached
  • ensuring that decisions are robust, credible and made in an evidence-based, objective manner
  • representing the committee at the committee chairs meeting following each responsive mode round, providing feedback on the operational delivery, emerging areas of bioscience and responsive mode narrative

For details of Committee B and the recent chairing team, refer to Research Committee B.

For details of Committee C and the recent chairing team, refer to Research Committee C.

How to apply

If you have any queries before applying, email

To apply, submit your application via the UKRI Engagement Hub.

The application form contains the following sections:

  • personal information (for example, name, organisation and contact details)
  • diversity information
  • free text sections, including evidence of how you meet the essential and desirable criteria
  • why you are interested in joining the chairing team (maximum 300 words)
  • what you can bring to the role (maximum 300 words)
  • any current or previous memberships of panels or committees (maximum 500 words)

If you have any queries or additional needs to enable you to complete the application form, email

How we’ll assess your application

BBSRC staff will review and shortlist expressions of interest. The Appointments Assurance Committee may then interview shortlisted applicants.

In assessing applications, we will consider scientific expertise, diversity of people, institutional and industry balance as part of the decision-making process.

The role profile for a candidate for the chairing team should meet the following requirements.

You should:

  • have demonstrable leadership and presence in the community
  • have experience of a range of areas in BBSRC’s remit
  • for academic applicants, have an active portfolio of work and demonstrable ability to obtain competitive research funding
  • have experience that demonstrates the expected skills of a chair, listed below
  • be at a research organisation that is not already represented by a committee chair or deputy across the committees
  • have previous chairing experience (internally or externally)

Expected skills

Chairing skills:

  • impartiality
  • objectivity
  • facilitation skills
  • good judgement
  • confidence to propose actions or make decisions
  • able to see the bigger picture
  • quick thinking
  • time management skills
  • ability to support evidence-based decisions

Communication skills:

  • ability to handle difficult conversations
  • ability to ask challenging questions
  • listening skills
  • able to provide constructive feedback
  • interviewing skills

We expect you to commit the necessary time and attention to your appointment and to have the full support or the necessary permission of your employer.

Further information

Equality and diversity

We recognise that diverse ideas, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives are fundamental to successful science and innovation. We are committed to ensuring that our committees, panels and boards are inclusive, diverse and representative of the research community.

We are committed to the principle of providing equal opportunities for all. Through this appointment activity, we aspire to increase the diversity of our advisory structures and welcome applications from all individuals and sections of the community.

We have developed an equality and impact assessment to support and inform applicants and ensure that we enable participation and attendance at meetings. We will also contribute towards additional costs for caring responsibilities to enable you to attend.

To support us in assessing how effective our policies and procedures are in eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting opportunities, we ask that you provide diversity information that will be used anonymously by BBSRC for statistical purposes.

BBSRC will treat this information in confidence and will not use it in the assessment of applicants.

Equality impact assessment BBSRC Responsive Mode Committee chair and deputy chair vacancies.

Safeguarding good scientific practice

As a public investor in research, BBSRC aims to facilitate the highest standards for research integrity.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a signatory to the Concordat to Support Research Integrity. BBSRC also implements the UKRI policy and guidelines on governance of good research, alongside our guidance on safeguarding good scientific practice.

Appointees to BBSRC committees, panels and boards must be aware of their obligations in regard to these policies.

Learn more about UKRI’s guidance and policies on research integrity and misconduct as part of UKRI’s good research resource hub.

You must declare if you have been subject to any current or past scientific misconduct investigations. BBSRC reserves the right to reject any application when such issues are considered an impediment to the individual holding a public appointment. This information will be treated in confidence.

Last updated: 16 November 2023

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