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New, bilateral pilot opportunity will fund collaborations between US and UK Bioscience Researchers

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  • Proposals on systems biology, computational biology, bioinformatics and synthetic biology are eligible for consideration for joint US/UK funding

A new, two-year pilot opportunity – known as The U.S. NSF/BIO-UK BBSRC Lead Agency Pilot Opportunity – is being formally launched today.

This opportunity is designed to make it easier for research teams comprised of scientists from the US and UK to manage funding logistics and obtain funding from both countries. It is funded by the US's National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Research proposals on systems biology, computational biology and bioinformatics are eligible for consideration in the pilot in 2014 or 2015 and proposals on synthetic biology will be accepted in 2015 only.

This Pilot opportunity will use a simplified, flexible review process that will allow US/UK research teams to submit a single proposal that will undergo a single review process by only one of the partner agencies. Successful proposals will be funded by both NSF and BBSRC.

Dr. Cora B. Marrett, acting director of the National Science Foundation, said, "Although NSF has always funded US scientists involved in international collaborations, such collaborations have become increasingly important, partly because of the rapid globalization of research. The many benefits of this pilot program will include better coordination of funding for US/UK research teams and increased bilateral awareness of scientific strengths and advancements between the US and UK funding agencies."

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Partnerships are vital to UK bioscience, offering the opportunity to combine resources and expertise to tackle global challenges. As funders, we are working to reduce some of the barriers encountered by researchers when working with international partners. This pilot is an important step that will help to streamline the collaborative funding process between NSF and BBSRC making applications easier for those in our community working with the US."

The Pilot opportunity was created under a Memorandum of Understanding between NSF and the UK's Research Councils, which supports research partnerships between the US and UK. The Pilot opportunity is designed to reduce barriers that have traditionally been faced by researchers wishing to form international teams. These barriers include identifying appropriate funding agencies; risking "double jeopardy", where one country's funding agency decides to fund an international team's research proposal, but the partner country does not; and dealing with the different time tables of different funding agencies.

More information about The U.S. NSF/BIO-UK BBSRC Lead Agency Pilot Opportunity, including submission deadlines can be found here: or in the 'NSF Dear Colleague Letter' at: and US press release at:



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

Tags: data policy synthetic biology systems biology BBSRC press release