The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) recognises the need to support researchers in academia, industry or elsewhere to maximise an individual’s research effectiveness and potential. The People and Talent Strategy Advisory Panel (PAT SAP) has a Researcher Subgroup that focuses on issues related to researcher careers and contributes to the development and implementation of BBSRC strategic programmes for researchers. The objectives of the Subgroup are set out in the Terms of Reference. The Subgroup maintains a close relationship with PAT SAP to encourage a two-way conversation, ensuring consistency amongst discussions and that a researcher perspective is given to PAT SAP.
Examples of topics the subgroup has discussed:
- implementing UK Research and Innovation’s Concordat and Technician Commitment Action Plans for BBSRC and the Biosciences
- researcher Exchange programmes and their potential benefits and risks
- guidance for BBSRC fellowship applications
- mentoring and sponsoring of early career researchers: availability and best practice
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on researchers and how they can be supported
- equality, diversity and inclusion in bioscience researcher populations.
For the purpose of the PAT SAP Researcher Subgroup, BBSRC defines researchers as “individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who are employed specifically for this purpose. Within this group, it is recognised that these staff often have different contract types, levels of training, experience and responsibility, as well as different career expectations and intentions. Disciplinary and institutional context can also mean a broad range of job titles fall within this definition.”
This definition includes the following people:
- postdoctoral researchers at any time during their postdoctoral careers as there is no requirement on the number of postdoctoral positions held/or not, both from academia and industry
- researchers post-PhD and therefore excluding PhD students and postgraduate masters research students in both academia and industry
- fellows such as BBSRC Discovery Fellows or equivalent in the early stages of developing independence in a lab or group
- individuals who are in the first years of their career after their PhD who are employed mainly or solely to conduct research.
BBSRC recognises that career paths vary, but for the purpose of this Subgroup, BBSRC does not include the following under the definition of ‘researcher’:
- David Phillips Fellows or UKRI Future Leader Fellows
- individuals who have established an independent group or lab
- individuals employed in a position where managerial responsibilities are the primary responsibility of their employment rather than research.
- Karen Liu, Chair, King’s College London
- James Allen, University College London
- Tegan Darch, Rothamsted Research
- Sarah Lee, University of Birmingham
- Charlotte Brassey, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Matt Bawn, The Earlham Institute
- Eszter Csibra, Imperial College London
- Sophie Barnett, University of Glasgow
- Emily Breeze, University of Warwick
- Fatima Madugu, University of Manchester
- Svenja Tidau, University of Plymouth
Across the Subgroup as a whole, the following experiences are desirable:
- working as a BBSRC-funded researcher in an academic environment
- working in an industrial environment
- supporting the professional development of PhD students and wider researchers including early career, fellows and postdoctoral researchers
- communicating the impact of research
- engaging with both researchers and the wider scientific community (for example policymakers, funders, science communicators, those supporting innovation)
- researching scientific topics across the breadth of BBSRC Portfolio remit.
Last updated: 31 March 2022