Research funding:

Eradication of bovine tuberculosis through basic research and discovery (ERADbTB)

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Call status: Open
Full call application deadline (invite only): 25 February 2015


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BBSRC, in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), announce a call to support fundamental bioscience that will address key gaps in the knowledge of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) biology.

Total funding available for the call is £6M (BBSRC: £5M and Defra: £1M).

This call is part of BBSRC's Integrated Programme of Research on bTB and will contribute to the:

About the programme

BBSRC's Integrated Programme of Research on bTB aims to fund basic fundamental bioscience research that will provide the foundation for the development of effective bTB control and eradication strategies.

The aim will be achieved by encouraging collaboration between animal and human TB communities and supporting:

  1. Fundamental basic bioscience research which addresses key gaps in the knowledge of bTB biology and informs Defra's policies
  2. The development of novel cost effective non-animal models of bTB which will help to speed up discoveries

BBSRC envisage that this programme will facilitate the growth of the bTB basic bioscience research community and promote cross-disciplinary working.

The ERADbTB call is complemented by the NC3Rs strategic award call, 'Replacing animal models for studying bovine Tuberculosis, to generate new non-animal models for bTB research'.

About Defra evidence activities

Defra has a significant programme of applied research, including vaccination, epidemiology, wildlife and diagnostic research, as well as social and economic research. There is also a substantial surveillance programme. Both are aimed at combating the bTB epidemic in the UK. Defra recently published the 'Strategy for achieving officially bovine tuberculosis free status for England' (see external links) following a public consultation and extensive dialogue.


Bovine TB (bTB) is one of the most pressing animal health problems in the UK. It is one of the biggest challenges facing cattle farming in the UK with very serious economic consequences and poses a potential zoonotic risk. The number of new herd outbreaks has doubled every nine years. The disease which was once isolated to small pockets of the country is spreading northward and eastward from infected areas in the south west of England and Wales at a cost of £500M to the taxpayer over the last decade. The reasons for this spread are not understood.

In February 2013, BBSRC held a workshop with key researchers from the bTB and human TB research communities, and Defra to identify areas where BBSRC support could make a significant impact. It was recognised that fundamental basic bioscience research is needed to identify new approaches to control the current epidemic with focus on three themes described below. Furthermore, it was recognised that this research could considerably contribute to Defra research and surveillance activities.

Scientific priorities

The call for research focuses on three basic underpinning bioscience themes. We encourage proposals that adopt a One Health approach, utilising advances in human TB research to provide insights into bTB and vice versa. Research proposals should demonstrate relevance to the current knowledge gaps and explain how they will lead to significant advances in bTB control.

Types of proposals and funding request

BBSRC and Defra anticipate funding multidisciplinary collaborative proposals that take a holistic approach to address the above gaps in bTB research and form 'centres of excellence' around these themes. BBSRC and Defra envisage funding research in each of the identified theme areas. Applicants must clearly indicate which of the themes the proposal addresses.

Standard BBSRC funding limits apply i.e. applicants can apply for a maximum of £2M (fEC), which must also include any funds requested from Defra, for up to 5 years.


All applications must include at least one PI eligible to receive funding from BBSRC. Applications requesting support from Defra alone will not be accepted. Applicants requesting BBSRC funding must meet BBSRC's eligibility criteria, which is available in the grants guide, see link, and those wishing to be considered for funding from Defra should meet Defra's eligibility criteria Defra's eligibility criteria.

For the purposes of this call, subcontracts from AHVLA, AFBI and Moredun will not be accepted as it is expected that researchers from these institutes will be fully integrated within the proposed projects.

How to apply

All proposals must be submitted through the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system (see external links). The closing date for proposals is 4pm on 25 February 2015. It will not be possible to submit proposals after this time.

In addition to the standard requirements, the following apply to this call:

The additional attachments required for this call are summarised below:


The timetable for the administration and assessment of applications submitted to the programme is expected to be as follows: 

Full application stage