Industry interchange programme
BBSRC’s Flexible Interchange Programme (FLIP) has been developed to support the movement of people between different environments, vital to the exchange of knowledge, technology and skills within the bioscience sector.
FLIP will support interchanges between academic and industrial sectors relevant to BBSRC research.
Further details of FLIP can be found at FLexible Interchange Programme (FLIP).
Supporting the flow of researchers, in either direction, between the science base and industry.
The scheme aims to support short-term exchanges that provide strategic advantage to the UK science base and industry arising from reciprocal access to facilities, expertise and/or knowledge, and an increased understanding of scientific issues of common concern.
Awards are typically up to £50k.
The interchange may be full- or part-time, or taken in tranches.
Financial support is dependent on the requirements of the proposed project and a significant cash or in-kind contribution from the industrial and/or academic partner is required.
How to apply
Download and complete the application form. Post 4 copies (one with original signatures) and e-mail an electronic version to the contact below.
- Applications must fall within our portfolio
- The programme is open to researchers within UK universities, institutes of BBSRC and UK industry
- The lead participant at the academic partner must hold a permanent academic post and be a current BBSRC research grant holder or have previously received a BBSRC research grant with relevance to the planned interchange
- All participants should be qualified to PhD level or have relevant experience to undertake the planned work. The programme will not support students
A list of previous awards can be found in the downloads section.
Keith Edwards worked for 13 years in international agribusiness, before moving to academia. He now holds the Chair in Cereal Functional Genomics at the University of Bristol.
"Since my days at ICI/Zeneca, the wheat breeding business has become more competitive and market-driven. I wanted to see how I could have an input into it, and if my research was still applicable," he said.
Edwards also wanted to test his group’s new Padlock Probe genotyping tool in an industrial lab.
Keith Edwards transferring pollen in the University of Bristol greenhouses.
Image: Dr Matt Hegarty, University of Bristol.
"While Padlock Probe genotyping did work in the industrial lab, we had to modify and develop it to get it to do so."
Edwards completed his part-time IIP placements with Nickerson-Advanta UK Limited.
"It was great to talk to the breeders and find out what I could do for them. I also visited Dr Peter Jack at RAGT Seeds Ltd to find out their views."
"Breeders’ and academics need to work together. Academics need to understand that breeders have to focus on delivering high yielding varieties, while the BBSRC’s primary remit is to support science that is excellent, with long-term potential for step changes. However all UK wheat breeding businesses saw it as a vote of support when BBSRC funded the interchange.
"The breeders taught me how to carry out large scale DNA extractions, using thousands of samples instead of 10-50. Now my lab can do thousands at once."
"They also taught me how to transfer pollen by hand from one variety to another, a skill that can only be taught through practice and guidance. This new skill fed directly into a proposal, which BBSRC funded, that involves me generating several new varieties."
Edwards is passing on his new knowledge to his undergraduates.
"I teach them the different tests that companies have to put wheat through, such as testing for flour quality. As a result, the students now have a much greater awareness of the farm to fork supply chain."
"The Industry Interchange Programme was a fantastic life-changing experience for me."
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