BBSRC strategy advisory panels: chair vacancies

Closing date
10 January 2024
Number of positions
Three chair vacancies:

One for the Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Strategy Advisory Panel

One for the Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health Strategy Advisory Panel

One for the Transformative Technologies Strategy Advisory Panel

Length of term
Standard term length is three years (one year in the first instance with an anticipated extension if mutually agreed to a full term of three years).

The term can be extended further in exceptional circumstances, up to a maximum of six years.

Time commitment
Maximum of 10 to 12 days (generally less)

Including at least two strategy advisory panel meetings per year of one to two days each, with a maximum of five to six days for preparation, and a maximum of five to six days for additional responsibilities (ad hoc strategic advice for UKRI and BBSRC)

Remuneration
Attendance fee per meeting for both in-person and virtual meetings

Travel and subsistence for in-person meetings

Interview date
To be confirmed 2024
Outcomes communicated
End of March 2024

We are inviting expressions of interest to join a Strategy Advisory Panel (SAP) as a chair for:

  • bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food
  • bioscience for an integrated understanding of health
  • transformative technologies

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) SAPs play a key role in delivering BBSRC’s mission by providing expert input and advice that:

  • help to shape and develop our strategy, policies and ideas
  • provide assurance, monitoring and benchmarking on our research and innovation decisions
  • ensures that our research and innovation decisions are supported by expert knowledge and insight from members of the scientific research and innovation community, including those with broad experience between and across disciplines

The panels are made up of six to eight members, supplemented as appropriate with additional invited experts according to business need.

We aim for our panels to reflect the diversity and experience across the breadth of the bioscience community, spanning academia, industry and policy.

Who we’re looking for

As a chair of a BBSRC SAP, you will play a key role in delivering BBSRC’s mission by:

  • co-defining a strong working partnership with BBSRC strategic leads
  • chairing the SAP meetings, managing potential conflicts of interest and guiding group discussions towards clear outcomes
  • ensuring wider biosciences community perspectives are fully considered and embodied in the panel’s activity
  • reviewing and evaluating SAP outcomes and impacts
  • representing the SAP and its collective viewpoints in periodic workshop activities (typically annually) to synthesise and tension strategic views across BBSRC’s advisory bodies
  • feeding into SAP workplans including meeting agendas
  • ambassador for BBSRC science

We welcome applications from previous panel members, but in order to encourage diversity on our panels, the maximum period panel members can serve is two full terms of three years. In such cases we would ask that applicants wait one term afterwards (three years) before re-applying.

Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food SAP

For Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food SAP we are keen to encourage applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • farmed animal production, including aquaculture
  • the link between agri-food production and consumer nutrition and health
  • precision agriculture and smart technology (including but not limited to artificial intelligence and engineering biology)
  • the interactions between agri-food production and the wider environment including biodiversity, ecosystem services and regenerative agriculture
  • soil science

In the interests of ensuring fair community representation and recognising existing membership, unless there is a compelling strategic case we are unlikely to accept further appointments to the panel from applicants employed by:

  • Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
  • University of York
  • Quadram Institute
  • G’s Growers

Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health SAP

For Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health SAP we are keen to encourage applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • ageing and health across the life course
  • food and nutrition for health
  • combatting infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance
  • transformative technologies for health

In the interests of ensuring fair community representation and recognising existing membership, unless there is a compelling strategic case we are unlikely to accept further appointments to the panel from applicants employed by:

  • Newcastle University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Alan Turing Institute
  • The University of Manchester
  • University of Oxford
  • The Babraham Institute
  • Collider Health

Transformative Technologies SAP

For Transformative Technologies SAP we are keen to encourage applicants with expertise in at least one of the following areas:

  • engineering biology
  • systems biology
  • artificial intelligence
  • research infrastructure
  • omics, including but not limited to:
    • proteomics
    • metabolomics
    • transcriptomics
    • genomics
  • technology development
  • interface between bioscience, medical and engineering disciplines

In the interests of ensuring fair community representation, and recognising existing membership, unless there is a compelling strategic case, we are unlikely to accept further appointments to the panel from applicants employed by:

  • University of Dundee
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • University of Southampton
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Bristol

What you’ll be doing

Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Strategy Advisory Panel (SAF SAP)

Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food is one of three challenge led strategic priorities outlined in BBSRC’s ‘Forward look for UK bioscience’ and BBSRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025.

The panel advises on how the UK’s strengths in bioscience can have an impact on global food and nutrition security, and drive innovation and policy to deliver a sustainable, productive, diverse, resilient, and healthy agri-food system.

The panel will provide advice to BBSRC on a broad range of topics, including:

  • sustainable food production as part of wider agri-ecosystems (including interdisciplinary, multi-scale (lab-field-farm-landscape) and systems modelling approaches)
  • building resilience into our agri-food systems, including:
    • food safety and reducing food waste and loss
    • novel strategies to predict, detect and manage threats to plant and animal health including aquaculture
  • linking agriculture, food and nutrition to health benefits
  • transformative technologies for agriculture and food, including:
    • precision agriculture and smart technologies
    • genomics and genetic diversity needed to develop the next generation of improved crops and farmed animals
  • transition to net zero in agri-food systems and reducing environmental impacts, including:
    • biodiversity
    • ecosystem and soil health
    • soil carbon dynamics

See details on SAF SAP and most recent membership.

Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health Strategy Advisory Panel (BIUH SAP)

Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health is one of three challenge-led strategic priorities as part of BBSRC’s ‘Forward look for UK bioscience’.

The panel focuses on improving animal and human health and wellbeing across the life course. This centres on providing a deep integrated understanding of the health system and of the factors that maintain health and wellness under stress and biological or environmental challenges.

The panel will provide advice to BBSRC on a broad range of topics spanning the four challenge areas identified in the ‘Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health strategic framework’ document:

  • ageing and health across the life course: understanding the biological mechanisms of ageing, with the long-term objective of maintaining and enhancing the quality of mental and physical health throughout the life course
  • food and nutrition for health: understanding the biological mechanisms by which nutrients, food components, foods and whole diets and their interactions promote a healthy lifespan
  • combating infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance: coordinated transdisciplinary approach to understand, forecast, avoid and mitigate animal infectious diseases, infections of zoonotic origin and antimicrobial resistance
  • transformative technologies for health: development, validation, implementation and application of tools, technologies and data that enable innovative approaches to understand and improve human and animal health and wellbeing throughout the life course

See details on BIUH SAP and most recent membership.

Transformative Technologies Strategy Advisory Panel (TT SAP)

TT SAP focuses on the tools, technologies, and approaches that enable researchers to push the boundaries of bioscience discovery and increase the impact of their research.

You can find more information on transformative technologies in BBSRC’s strategic delivery plan 2022 to 2025. It also contributes to the ‘Advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery’ theme within the Forward Look for UK Bioscience.

The panel will provide advice to BBSRC on a broad range of topics, including:

  • disruptive experimental methods and technologies to advance bioscience research and innovation
  • research employing quantitative approaches to harness large-scale data in the biosciences
  • development, dissemination, and stewardship of computational methods, software, data resources and cyber infrastructure
  • emerging interdisciplinary fields within the biosciences.

See details on TT SAP and most recent membership.

How to apply

In the first instance please contact the relevant SAP team to register your interest in applying, and to ask any questions you may have about the role:

  • Bioscience for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Strategy Advisory Panel, email: saf@bbsrc.ukri.org
  • Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health Strategy Advisory Panel, email: bfh@bbsrc.ukri.org
  • Transformative Technologies Strategy Advisory Panel, email: tt@bbsrc.ukri.org

You can apply for one position only.

To apply, submit your application via the UK Research and Innovation Engagement Hub.

The application form contains the following sections:

  • personal information (for example, name, organisation and contact details)
  • diversity information
  • free text sections, including:
    • personal statement: a summary of the skills and experiences you can bring to the specific role of a SAP Chair (maximum 500 words), including evidence of how you meet the essential and desirable criteria
    • what you think is the greatest challenge facing this section or discipline in the UK (maximum 300 words)
    • evidence: details on your involvement in any relevant advisory, strategic, policy, assessment or similar groups, panels, boards or committees (maximum 300 words)
    • experience: describing how your experience and career path to date means that you meet the essential and desirable criteria for the SAP Chair role (maximum 500 words)

If you have any queries or additional needs to enable you to complete the application form, email research.committees@bbsrc.ukri.org

How we’ll assess your application

We will make appointments based on individual knowledge and experience in line with the criteria listed. We will also consider the need for expertise in particular research and innovation areas, along with the coverage of panel membership overall in relation to the expertise requirements of each SAP.

As part of the assessment process, particularly where there are a number of suitable applicants at the shortlisting stage, you may be required to attend an interview before a final decision is made.

The types of evidence that you provide will depend on your background, but may include:

  • participation on committees, boards or panels
  • business or industry, innovation, commercialisation or investor experience
  • experience of activities related to skills and careers for the biosciences or research more widely, including doctoral training, researcher development and research support for teams in the biosciences
  • experience of working internationally, particularly in the context of global challenges
  • experience of working in policy development, strategy development or both
  • experience of the development of research outputs into real-world value, for example in the form of:
    • infrastructure
    • people
    • technologies
    • new commercial products
    • software
    • data management
    • standards
  • publication and funding history, where relevant to current and previous roles
  • evidence of involvement in monitoring and evaluation

Essential criteria

These include:

  • evidence of leadership and community involvement, including chairing strategic meetings
  • knowledge of research culture, including equality, diversity and inclusion within the biosciences
  • a collegiate approach and ability to work with the office and SAP members to co-develop meeting agenda and manage panel membership performance
  • ability to take a high-level strategic view and contextualise discussions, with an appropriate high degree of objectivity
  • ability to influence and achieve consensus, including stimulating discussion and navigating challenging viewpoints, to synthesise clear lines of strategic advice for BBSRC
  • ability to effectively time manage meetings
  • professional expertise relevant to the current requirements of SAPs
  • knowledge and understanding of the bioscience landscape in the UK and internationally, how UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) works within this landscape and an understanding of the challenges facing the appropriate sector or discipline (both broadly and relating to your own area of expertise)
  • knowledge and experience of policy or strategy development across key biosciences stakeholders (for example government, UKRI, industry and third sector)
  • awareness and understanding of societal, ethical or legal considerations related to the biosciences or research more widely
  • understanding of the interface between academia, industry and other relevant BBSRC stakeholders, as well as awareness of end user and developer perspectives
  • expertise in multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary working across fields in the biosciences and more widely, including the formation of collaborations and partnerships and facilitation of knowledge exchange

Desirable criteria

These include:

  • previous experience of working with BBSRC or UKRI
  • awareness and expertise in specific fundamental bioscience areas that are advancing our understanding of the rules of life
  • awareness and knowledge of the facilities, resources and services necessary for the biosciences community to:
    • carry out groundbreaking research
    • support its translation into economic and societal impact

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

We will assess expressions of interest against the criteria set out in the role description.

In addition to reviewing applications against the criteria for appointment, we will consider people diversity and institutional and industry balance as part of the decision-making process.

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.

An equality and impact assessment has been developed to support and inform applicants and ensure that we enable participation and attendance at meetings, for example by using venues that have good transport links and are accessible. 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.

This information will be treated in confidence by BBSRC and will not be used in the assessment of applications.

Safeguarding good scientific practice

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

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 SAPs are expected to be aware of their obligations regarding these policies.

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

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

Last updated: 18 December 2023

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