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David Phillips fellowships

Call status: Closed
Call opens: 1 July 2014
Application deadline: 5 November 2014

Aimed at

Scientists who have demonstrated high potential and who wish to establish themselves as independent researchers.

Nature of award

Awards are for 5 years, up to 5 are available, and include personal salary and a significant research support grant. Applications are welcome from candidates seeking flexible working arrangements (e.g. part-time); see the Fellowships handbook for further information (see downloads).


  • Applicants should not exceed 10 years in active postgraduate research studies and postdoctoral research employment
  • Applicants should have no less than 3 years of active postdoctoral research experience

Note: David Phillips fellowship applicants are not eligible to apply to any additional 2014 BBSRC fellowship competitions.

Research areas

Submit a proposal in any area of science within the BBSRC portfolio. We particularly encourage proposals that are aligned with BBSRC's overarching strategic priorities (see related links including our strategic priorities).

How to apply

Submit a proposal electronically via the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system from 1 July 2014 with the following mandatory attachments (see also Je-S DP help text in application downloads below):

  • CV (see applications downloads below)
    You should complete the standard CV template. We do not accept stand alone CVs.
  • Case for support and track record 
  • Diagrammatic workplan
  • Data management plan
  • List of publications
  • Head of department statement
  • Justification of resources
  • Pathways to impact plan

Fellowships are awarded under full economic costing (fEC).

You should submit costed research support grant proposals in line with the grants guide.

Detailed guidance on how to complete proposal forms and proposal attachments can be found in the Je-S DP help text (see below) and in the Fellowships Handbook (see downloads above). Note: Please do not use the fellowship help text in the Je-S system.

We do not accept late proposals.

Important: applicants should ensure proposals are submitted to their host institution's Je-S submitter/approval pool well in advance (a minimum of 5 working days) of the published deadline. This enables institution checks to be carried out before final submission to BBSRC.

Application timeline

Application deadline 5 November 2014
Fellowship proposal sift 17 December 2014
Refereeing stage January–March 2015
Fellowship shortlisting for interviews March 2015
Fellowship interviews April-May 2015
Fellowship award notification May 2015

Application downloads

Case study

Lynda Harris, David Phillips Fellow at The University of Manchester

How does BBSRC fund your work?

I'm supported by a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship, which funds me to identify specific homing peptides that bind to the surface of the placenta. I did the initial work screening for the peptides, and both my PhD students are taking that work further by building different carriers and testing different drugs in animal models.

Dr Harris in her lab in the US.

Dr Lynda Harris

What research do you carry out under your fellowship?

The idea is to synthesize liposomes, which are like small bubbles that can be modified to display the placental-homing peptides on their surface. This creates a little drug carrier and when you introduce it intravenously it binds only to the placenta, and doesn't accumulate in any other organs so you don't get off-target side effects from the drugs you are administering.

It's an idea developed originally for delivering chemotherapy to tumours. Because cancer drugs are toxic and you don't want them accumulating around the body, this method of targeting reduces the side effects as well as the amount of drug you need.

Why target the placenta?

A poorly functioning placenta is the cause of many pregnancy problems, so by targeting the placenta we are treating the problem rather than treating the symptoms. You can either give drugs that increase blood flow into the uterus and placenta, to supply more nutrients and oxygen to the tissue, or you can give drugs that encourage placental growth.

We know from evidence from a lot of animal studies – mice, rats and sheep – that either increasing placental size or function or increasing blood flow improves outcomes for the baby. And this can relieve maternal symptoms too.

What inspired you to look at this field?

I started with in interest in human biology and did a degree in pathobiology, which is basically biomedical science, then did a PhD in vascular biology. And then I accepted a post-doc up in Manchester looking at how the placenta interacts with blood vessels in the uterus – that got me interested in the placenta.

Then it became evident there was no safe way of delivering drugs to pregnant women. That seemed to be a big gap. When I found out that it was possible to target delivery of drugs to tumours, I thought that this technology would work well for the placenta, because you can consider placenta as a big tumour. That's when I applied for the David Phillips Fellowship to do the screening for novel peptides that bind to the placenta.

When did you start DP Fellowship?

I started that in October 2010 and spent first year in big cancer lab in the US, working with Professor Erkki Ruoslahti's at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, California. It was there that I did the screening for placental peptides and learnt their technology.

What was working in the US like?

The US was a great experience – it was a big lab with lots of funding, the average age was mid-30s so quite a mature environment with people with specialised knowledge who were really excited about science.

Read the full Q&A profile feature: Lynda Harris and promise for preterm births


Innovation and Skills Group - Fellowships

tel: 01793 413256
fax: 01793 414674