Eradication of bovine tuberculosis through basic research and discovery (ERADbTB)
Call status: Open
Letter of Intent deadline:
4 November 2014
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:
- UK multi-partner programme in Global Food Security
- Defra strategy for achieving Officially Bovine Tuberculosis Free status for England
- Welsh Government strategic framework for bovine TB eradication
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:
- Fundamental basic bioscience research which addresses key gaps in the knowledge of bTB biology and informs Defra's policies
- 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.
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.
- Theme 1: Step change in bTB vaccinology
Basic studies defining the biology of the immune response in cattle to identify and validate correlates of protection.
- Theme 2: Understanding bTB Strain Diversity
Dissecting the biological significance of the different strains of M.bovis circulating in the UK, i.e. moving from genotype to phenotype.
- Theme 3: Host pathogen interactions:
Understanding disease pathogenesis, pathogen transmissibility, and interactions of pathogen with bovine, other livestock host(s) and other pathogens.
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 for up to 5 years.
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 funding 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
A Letter of Intent is a prerequisite for submission of a full application. Letters of Intent must be received before 4 November 2014, 4pm
The Letter of Intent must adhere to the following guidelines:
- The Letter of Intent is limited to three pages only
- On page 1, provide only the following information:
- a descriptive title
- indicate which theme this proposal is addressing
- indicate clearly whether you wish the proposal to be considered for funding from either BBSRC & Defra or BBSRC only
- indicative budget and amount requested from each funder, if appropriate
- indicate the name, professional title, department, institution and email address of the lead Principal Investigator and name, professional title, department, and institution of all collaborating investigators
- if wishing to be considered for funding from both BBSRC & Defra: indicate the name, professional title, department, institution and email address of the lead Principal Investigator that will lead the BBSRC and Defra Components.
- On pages 2 and 3, include:
- overall hypothesis or goal
- specific objectives
- rationale including policy relevance
- potential impact and expected outcomes
- BBSRC will only accept Letters of Intent in the portable document format (PDF). The PDF Letter of Intent should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the funders in order to plan for appropriate expertise for the peer review panel and ensure that the proposed project fits appropriately within the call remit and addresses Defra's policy needs.
- PIs will be informed whether they have been invited to submit a full application by the middle of December 2014.
- Applications to the full stage submitted without prior approval, following the Letter of Intent stage, will be rejected.
- Applicants must notify BBSRC of any changes to key project personnel, title, or objectives from the time of submission of the Letter of Intent to the submission of a full application.
Full applications will be submitted via Je-S and further instructions will be sent to applicants with the feedback.
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The timetable for the administration and assessment of applications submitted to the programme is expected to be as follows:
Letter of Intent stage:
- Application deadline for Letters of Intent: 4 November 2014
- Funders' meeting: end of November 2014
- Feedback to applicants to submit full proposal: mid-December 2014
Full application stage
- Call launched on Je-S: mid-December 2014
- Application deadline for full call: end of February 2015
- Panel meeting: June/July 2015