All sLoLa applications must address at least one of the strategic research priorities for responsive mode grant applications, which are described on our website (see application deadlines in related links).
Where appropriate, as well as addressing one or more of our strategic research priorities, proposals are welcomed which also address the Council's 'building partnerships' priorities (collaborative research with users, research to inform public policy or increased international collaboration).
Each year, applications are particularly encouraged in certain specific strategic areas, which are announced at the time of the call launch. The strategic focus areas for the 2013/2014 call are available in the downloads section.
2013-14 priority areas
For this outline call the focus is on the following specific strategic areas:
- Endemic diseases of farmed animals
- Ageing across the life-course
- Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
1. Endemic diseases of farmed animals
The Animal Disease Working Group (a sub-panel of the Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health Strategy Advisory Panel) has considered a portfolio review of funding in the area of farmed animal disease, as it relates to our strategic priority in animal health. It noted that, with the closure of the Compton site of the former Institute for Animal Health (now the Pirbright Institute), there is a need to provide longer term strategic support for research on endemic diseases of farmed animals. Parasitic diseases, which cause significant welfare issues, were identified as a particular gap in the current portfolio.
To address these gaps, endemic diseases of farmed animals is identified as a highlight area in this 2013/14 sLoLa call. The call invites applications focused on significant and widespread endemic infectious diseases of farmed animals that are relevant to the UK. We especially welcome applications on endemic bacterial or parasitic (internal or external) diseases.
In addition, applications:
- Must include evidence of the economic impact in the UK (and where appropriate, more widely) and/or the welfare importance of the disease under study
- Should address a major research challenge or gap
- Should take a comprehensive approach to understanding, prevention and treatment of disease
- Should bring together key UK groups working in the relevant area and establish an effective collaboration that forms the basis of a long term network
Please contact Dr Lesley Heppell, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic theme.
2. Ageing across the life-course
The Ageing Research Working Group (a sub-panel of the Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health Strategy Advisory Panel) has considered a portfolio review of funding in the ageing area, as it relates to BBSRC's strategic priority in lifelong health and wellbeing.
Informed by the gaps and opportunities identified in the portfolio review and the continuing need to build capacity in ageing research, 'Ageing across the life-course' will be a highlight area in this 2013/14 sLoLa call. Applications must address our strategic priority in 'Ageing research: lifelong health and wellbeing' (see related links) and should seek to increase our understanding of the biology of the ageing process across the life-course, with particular focus on research that includes one or more of the following:
- The use of current or new model systems, especially invertebrate systems
- Epigenetic approaches
- Making use of biological samples and data from human cohort studies and biobanks (translation of work from model systems to man is particularly important)
- Studies of the ageing bladder and gut (including upper, middle and lower bowel)
- Investigation of the effect of physical activity, including sedentary behaviour, on the ageing process
- Groups are encouraged to demonstrate clear networking and engagement with the wider ageing research community
Please contact Dr Jef Grainger, email: email@example.com, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic theme.
3. Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) is widely recognised as having a significant role to play in the transition of the UK to a low carbon economy through the development of new and less carbon intensive products and more efficient processes. IBBE will play an important role in enabling the UK to meet the ambitious targets for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. The expansion of IBBE approaches will underpin the development of a sustainable UK Bioeconomy with the potential to maintain future energy security, create innovative bio-based products, increase the efficiency of a wide range of manufacturing processes generate sustainable economic growth and create jobs.
We support research in IBBE which underpins the processing and production of materials, chemicals (including pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals) and bioenergy through the sustainable exploitation of biological resources such as the tissues, enzymes and genes of algae, marine life, fungi, microorganisms and plants to facilitate the use of renewable feedstocks including crop wastes, municipal wastes, perennial biomass and solar energy.
Fundamental bioscience when applied to challenges in IBBE can help overcome current limitations in technology development through increased understanding of the underlying biological processes and the development of novel biological resources. As such, basic bioscience is well placed to address the barriers to real-world application of low carbon technology.
Aims of IBBE
Through strategic investment in world-class bioscience, we aim to fund cross-disciplinary research which contributes to fundamental new understanding of biological products and processes that underpin the development of sustainable manufacturing routes to high value products, platform chemicals and sustainable bioenergy. To realise this goal, we wish to:
- encourage the application of cutting-edge technologies such as genomic, systems and synthetic biology approaches to tackle research challenges and help deliver key benefits in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy
- encourage world-class researchers to apply their expertise to IBBE
- encourage the use of cross-disciplinary approaches to integrate biology with other disciplines including chemistry, engineering, mathematics and computational modelling and wherever possible, a consideration of the related environmental, economic and societal challenges
- increase the UK's capacity to undertake basic and strategic research in IBBE through increasing the critical mass of trained staff in UK Universities and Institutes
- increase the opportunities for collaboration with industry and government, which enable the development and translation of novel discoveries into new products and processes for economic benefit
In this 2013/14 sLoLa call BBSRC encourages proposals that seek to increase understanding and exploitation of:
- Innovative routes to fine and platform chemicals (including biofuels), with a particular focus on research which explores:
- elucidation and/or manipulation of novel and/or important biosynthetic pathways, including by synthetic biology approaches
- integrating bio- and chemo- catalysis to add value to bioproduction of chemicals
- understanding and manipulating challenging cellular and enzyme systems (e.g. anaerobic systems
- enzyme characterisation leading towards improved biocatalysis, including structural biology and studies of enzyme mechanism to support the implementation of a, b and c above
- development of novel biocatalysts by discovery and/or design, including metagenomic approaches, to support the implementation of a, b and c above
- Mechanisms for enhancing cellular productivity, with a particular focus on research which:
- expands application of genome-scale metabolic modelling and associated techniques, including synthetic biology, to industrially relevant (or exploitable) organisms
- addresses the challenge of product toxicity including the molecular basis of toxicity and mechanisms to overcome toxicity
- develops understanding of how to enhance substrate or product flux into or out of the cell or system
- develops understanding of how to overcome limitations caused by problems of cofactor balancing in engineered pathways
- addresses fundamental barriers to achieving increases in productivity towards systems with near theoretical carbon yields
Research must be undertaken with a focus on IBBE relevant enzymes, pathways and/or systems to be accepted under the Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy strategic theme. Please contact Dr Colin Miles, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic theme.
Applicants submitting proposals under the Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy strategic theme are strongly recommended to engage with industrial partners. Examples of industrial engagement on a project could include but are not limited to; cash contributions, materials, access to equipment or facilities and staff participation in research or on a project management committee/scientific advisory board.
Industrial involvement is not compulsory and we do not stipulate a specific degree of participation. However, it is encouraged and should be appropriate to the research proposed to ensure the successful delivery of the project.
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