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Technology development for the biosciences

Aim

World-class bioscience is critically dependent on new technologies, methodologies and resources. This priority aims to encourage research that will yield the next-generation of these 'new ways of working'. Projects should focus on underpinning and enabling one of the BBSRC strategic research priorities (food security, industrial biotechnology, bioscience underpinning health) or have potential, generic utility across one or more broad areas of the biosciences.

Scientific scope

This area of focus aims to encourage the development of novel bioanalytical and/or biological tools and technologies, the types of approach that would appear on a biologists 'wish-list', and where there are currently 'technological gaps'. In particular, applications are sought in the following areas:

  • Bioimaging and functional analysis
  • 'omics' technologies, including sequencing (ref 1)
  • Toolkit for synthetic biology

Applications that include major contributions from non-bioscience disciplines are welcome, as long as there is a strong focus on delivering a new technology oriented towards and dedicated to applications in an area of biology within BBSRC's remit. Innovative life science instrumentation development is also welcome. Proposals in technology development should incorporate testing of the technology on one or more biological application within BBSRC's remit.

Please note that the following areas are not included within the scope of this Council-wide priority:

  • Projects that are making minor, incremental modifications to existing technologies.
  • Projects focused on the application of an existing technology.
  • Projects on technologies where the impact of the technology and/or the resulting research enabled by them is likely to be limited
  • Projects focused on generic technologies with principal applications in non-bioscience disciplines.

Outputs and impacts

Requirements

It is expected that proposals will require strong multidisciplinary partnerships between bioscientists and researchers in the physical sciences, engineering and information technology disciplines.

Proposals should describe how they will fulfil (an) unmet need(s) in the biosciences.

Data sharing

Proposals should comply with BBSRC's Data Sharing Policy (see related links). Proposals developing informatics tools should make such tools available to the wider user and developer community with as few restrictions as possible, ideally using open source best practices (e.g. Creative Commons or Open Source Initiative recommended licences). However, BBSRC recognises that, at times, the creators' intellectual property rights may need to be protected before any sharing takes place, and this is encouraged where appropriate beforehand. Such protection should not unduly delay the release of any data/tools arising from BBSRC funding.

Pathways to impact

It is expected that proposals in the areas of 'technology development for the biosciences' will provide tools and resources of potential application to broad communities in the biosciences.

References

  1. Refer to the BBSRC Review of Next Generation Sequencing (see downloads) for further details of areas we wish to encourage specifically. These include: improved chemical and molecular biology methodologies (recommendation 8, p.20); tools for metagenomics (recommendation 9, p.22); and data analysis tools (recommendation 11, p. 24).

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