Research grants:

Priority areas

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 related links).

Where appropriate, as well as addressing one or more of our strategic research priorities (see related links), 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).

For the 2014/15 outline call, there will be a focus on the following specific strategic areas:

Veterinary Vaccinology
Immune system function across the lifecourse
Role of epigenetics in health across the lifecourse
Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE)

For further information on industry involvement in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) proposals see this section below.

The Research Complex at Harwell

Where relevant, we encourage sLoLa proposals to locate research teams (for either part of, or the entirety of the award) at the Research Complex at Harwell, utilising the available expertise of the Oxford Protein Production Facility UK, CCP4 and other co-located groups. See our facilities and resources page for all services.

Research conducted at RCaH could benefit from access to the multidisciplinary expertise and the large STFC facilities such as Diamond, ISIS and the LSF. Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their resource requirements with the RCaH Director, Professor Simon Phillips, simon.phillips@rc-harwell.ac.uk, before submission.

Veterinary Vaccinology

We wish to highlight veterinary vaccinology in this 2014/15 sLoLa call with an emphasis on approaches that will lead to development of the next generation of vaccines.

We welcome applications that focus on multidisciplinary approaches and generic technologies for producing vaccines; novel tools and technologies; and/or diseases which constitute major threats to animal health where there is a lack of an effective vaccine.

Areas of particular interest include:

All applications:

We especially welcome approaches that bring together expertise from the human and veterinary research communities, a 'One Health' approach, to contribute to the programme of research.

Eligibility: Normal sLoLa eligibility applies to this strategic area.

Please contact Dr Sadhana Sharma, email: sadhana.sharma@bbsrc.ac.uk, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic area.

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Immune system function across the lifecourse

Proposals are encouraged that examine the role of the immune system across the lifecourse as an important component of healthy ageing. Immune system alterations have, in particular, been implicated in the development of frailty in elderly people. We seek to encourage approaches to better understand the processes of the ageing immune system that can then inform strategies to promote healthy immune system function throughout the lifecourse. In particular, we welcome proposals that aim to develop a better understanding of:

Proposals are particularly encouraged that seek to:

Eligibility: Normal sLoLa eligibility applies to this strategic area.

Please contact Dr Louisa Jenkin, email: louisa.jenkin@bbsrc.ac.uk, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic area.

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Role of epigenetics in health across the lifecourse

In the context of our Healthy ageing across the lifecourse, we welcome applications that focus on the role of epigenetics in healthy physiological systems. We particularly seek to encourage proposals focussed on:

Proposals are particularly encouraged that seek to:

Eligibility: Normal sLoLa eligibility applies to this strategic area.

Please contact Dr Louisa Jenkin, email: louisa.jenkin@bbsrc.ac.uk, if you have any questions regarding the fit of your proposed research to the strategic area.

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Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE)

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. Projects which aim to take significant steps towards the translation of research, should consider the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst (launching in late January 2014).

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:

In this 2014/15 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:

  1. elucidation and/or manipulation of novel and/or important biosynthetic pathways, including by synthetic biology approaches
  2. integrating bio- and chemo- catalysis to add value to bioproduction of chemicals
  3. understanding and manipulating challenging cellular and enzyme systems (e.g. anaerobic systems)
  4. enzyme characterisation leading towards improved biocatalysis, including structural biology and studies of enzyme mechanism to support the implementation of a, b and c above
  5. development of novel biocatalysts by discovery and/or design, including metagenomic approaches, to support the implementation of 1,2 and 3 above.

Mechanisms for enhancing cellular productivity, with a particular focus on research which:

  1. expands application of genome-scale metabolic modelling and associated techniques, including synthetic biology, to industrially relevant (or exploitable) organisms
  2. addresses the challenge of product toxicity including the molecular basis of toxicity and mechanisms to overcome toxicity
  3. develops understanding of how to enhance substrate or product flux into or out of the cell or system
  4. develops understanding of how to overcome limitations caused by problems of cofactor balancing in engineered pathways
  5. 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 area.

Eligibility: To further encourage applications within IBBE Principal Investigators applying in this area who do not meet the formal track record requirements (see eligibility details) will be considered eligible provided they can clearly explain how their previous experience demonstrates the appropriate competence to conduct the proposed project.

Please contact Dr Colin Miles, email: colin.miles@bbsrc.ac.uk, if you have any questions regarding which funding scheme is most appropriate or the fit of your proposed research to the strategic area.

Industry involvement in IBBE proposals

Applicants submitting proposals under the Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy strategic area 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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