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In vivo Strategic Skills Awards

Call status: Closed
Application deadline: 2015 TBC

This call is only open to successful applicants of the Doctoral Training Partnerships and must be submitted in conjunction with their annual report.

Both BBSRC and MRC recognise the importance of continuing to support PhD-level training in advanced in vivo skills through the In vivo Strategic Skills Awards (formerly Strategic Skills Awards) top-up of Research Training Support Grants (RTSG).

Background

  • This is an important initiative reflecting concerns which have been raised regarding the funding of high-quality research training in an area of strategic importance to the life sciences industries in the UK 

Aim

  • To ensure departments do not feel under financial pressure to keep students away from high-cost research training which is strategically important for the UK

What the awards cover

  • Additional funding to cover the costs of integrative mammalian research skills in BBSRC and MRC PhDs
  • Funding is only available to supplement studentships funded by BBSRC and MRC, in particular studentships funded from BBSRC and MRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs)
  • Awards will provide additional funding towards the high-costs of in vivo training and will not replace normal studentship funding being drawn from DTPs. Standard studentship costs (i.e. student stipend, fees, etc) should be drawn from BBSRC and MRC DTPs as normal. Justification of resources required above and beyond that provided through standard studentship support, will be taken into consideration in determining the level of award, if any, recommended.
  • Funding will be available on an individual student project basis. Projects must involve a significant component of high quality in vivo training and research. Priority will be given to projects that use advanced in vivo recording techniques that maximize the data obtained from each animal and minimise disturbance. Projects in which the in vivo component comprises of the generation of a transgenic line or the use of animals solely as sources of tissues or biological fluids will not be considered for funding, as they do not provide a sufficient level of in vivo training.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

  • Applications are invited relating to individual PhD projects which will commence in the coming academic year. This may be either when a new MRC or BBSRC funded student will be starting their PhD, or where an existing MRC or BBSRC PhD student will be starting the research phase of a 4-year PhD programme (i.e. after a rotation or taught first year).
  • It is not necessary to have a named student in place or departmental DTP allocations finalised at the time of making an application.
  • For BBSRC DTPs, a summary (two pages maximum) of any project the DTPs consider to have a significant in vivo element that justifies a top-up of the RTSG should be attached to the annual report in August of each year. These will be reviewed by correspondence with representatives from NC3Rs, and a non-negotiable decision on the offering of additional funding will be made by us. Where successful, a fixed sum of £5k per annum per project will be allocated as a block top-up to the DTP RTSG. Decisions not to fund will come with rationale.
  • For MRC DTPs, you should seek advice from MRC using the contact details below.
  • Applications should be submitted, using the application form that has been circulated to DTP managers, by the holder or coordinator of the DTP, citing the reference number of the DTP which will be used to fund the proposed studentship
  • If the correct DTP number is not provided then the Council is unable to process the application further.
  • Applicants are advised to read the full guidance notes (see application downloads below) to ensure that the details of the PhD projects submitted meet the strategic aims of the scheme.

Application downloads

Guidance notes (PDF 167KB)

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Enquiries for In vivo Strategic Skills Awards (SSAs) relating to MRC studentships should be sent to fellows@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk with 'MRC Strategic Skills Award Application' clearly marked in the subject line.

Enquiries for SSAs relating to BBSRC studentships should be sent to postgrad.studentships@bbsrc.ac.uk with 'BBSRC in vivo Strategic Skills Award Application' clearly marked in the subject line.

Assessment

Proposals are scheduled to be assessed by BBSRC and the NC3Rs representatives to ensure projects fully align with the 3Rs of animal research:

  • Replacement
  • Refinement
  • Reduction

The assessment process will ensure projects provide students with high quality training to be able to undertake research in the most effective way to ensure good animal welfare.

Contacts

For any queries relating to the awards please use the BBSRC or MRC contacts below (depending on whether the award will be associated with a BBSRC or MRC DTP). Where possible, queries should be made from a single point of contact per institution.