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Moving to four grant rounds per year

June 2005

The following was sent to the research community from BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, Nigel Brown, outlining the effects of moving to four grant rounds a year:

In order to increase the opportunities for researchers to apply for funding, BBSRC is moving to four responsive mode grants rounds per annum from June 2005. I am writing to inform you of the new procedures/timescale now in place, and how these will affect applicants for funding and referees.

We have fixed the following deadlines:


  • 22 June
  • 14 September


  • 18 January
  • 26 April
  • 12 July
  • 18 October

Requests for referees' comments will be sent out approximately 4 and 7 weeks after the above dates, and the requests for applicants' responses will be 7-10 weeks after these dates. Please note that at present we are unable to shorten the time from application to decision on grants.

Running four grants rounds a year will significantly limit the ability of the BBSRC Office to undertake exceptional and ad hoc activities. It requires strict adherence to a timetable, and we have put in place a workflow system to help with this. The following steps are essential for ensuring efficient operation of four rounds a year.

  1. We are unable to accept applications after the closing date and time.
    This will require submission from your institution's submitter pool to the Je-S system by 5.00 pm on the due date. (The detail of any approval process before submission varies between institutions and your institutional administrator can advise). Applications submitted after the deadline will automatically be taken to the subsequent round
  2. All communication with applicants and referees will be by e-mail.
    This will allow rapid communication and better adherence to the workflow timetable
  3. A maximum of one week (including weekends) will be allowed to provide any missing information or faults identified by the office
    (e.g. missing letters of agreement and other supporting documents, ineligible length of case for support, etc.). After this time the grant will be deferred to the next round
  4. Applicants will be allowed one week (including weekends) to respond to referees’ comments.
    If you are unavailable to respond in that time, we cannot guarantee that the response can be seen by the Committee. The Committee will consider a refereed application even if the applicant's response is missing
  5. We need the community to participate fully in the peer review process.
    BBSRC staff will be unable to chase non-responding referees and seek alternatives. Requests for two referees' comments will be made shortly after receipt of the application. Others will be made shortly after
  6. If referees are unable to submit comments within three weeks, it would be very helpful if they indicated so to BBSRC immediately
  7. If, in spite of our best efforts, an application does not have at least two referees' comments by the date of the Committee meeting, the application will be deferred to the next round
  8. Please note that any application deferred from the June 2005 closing date will need to be re-costed under the Full Economic Costing procedures

Some of these limitations may seem harsh, but they are necessary in order to achieve the benefits of four grants rounds a year while maintaining BBSRC’s other activities in support of research.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Nigel L Brown
Director of Science and Technology


External Relations Unit