Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: BBSRC international workshops

Researchers funded by BBSRC can request up to £10,000 to run a workshop being held overseas or in the UK. We want to encourage joint working in topics important to BBSRC’s strategy.

You can run workshops with any country in any area within BBSRC remit, based on current BBSRC research funding.

Successful awards should aim to start from April 2021.

Who can apply

Applications must be made by a principal investigator who is currently in receipt of BBSRC research funding. In addition, the associated BBSRC grant must have started before the application deadline and must have at least six months remaining from the start of the award.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC responsive mode research grant
  • principal investigators on an active BBSRC themed research grant
  • recipient of a fellowship award from BBSRC
  • principal or co-investigators on a current BBSRC strategic lola or initiative grant with funding of over £1 million
  • principal or co-investigators on a current BBSRC institute strategic programme grant at a National Institute of Bioscience:
    • Babraham Institute
    • Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences
    • John Innes Centre
    • Roslin Institute
    • Rothamsted Research
    • The Earlham Institute
    • The Pirbright Institute
    • Quadrum Institute.

The following applicants are not eligible to apply:

  • a BBSRC studentship award, including:
    • CASE studentships
    • doctoral training partnerships
    • industrial CASE partnerships
  • BBSRC grants which are not research specific, including:
    • FLIP awards
    • follow on funding
  • BBSRC funding within an academic department.

Full details of eligibility criteria for BBSRC funding can be found in the BBSRC research grants guide.

Applicants should contact BBSRC for advice if they have any eligibility concerns on

We encourage joint applications by consortia of UK partners, which could include industrial and non-BBSRC-funded partners however, a BBSRC-funded applicant must lead the consortia and submit the proposal using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

What we're looking for

Workshop objectives and benefits

BBSRC does not issue a prescriptive list of objectives for international workshops but a successful workshop would usually include:

  • a review of the current status of research in a specific area from each country
  • identification of topics that could benefit from collaboration between the participants
  • identification of the means for subsequent development of such collaboration
  • an agreed action plan for implementation
  • reporting key findings and specific outputs from their workshop.

These international workshops give rise to a number of benefits for BBSRC-sponsored scientists.

Benefit one: there is a clear gain in exposure to different approaches and ideas, especially when coupled with access to both new expertise and facilities. Workshops tend to be targeted towards new areas and those in which extensive international networks do not already exist.

Benefit two: workshops can provide the contacts and links that are essential to the formation of consortia for accessing other funding sources such as the EU Framework Programme.

Benefit three: there is return in the form of synergy in the generation of new ideas between the participating countries.

Applications can be for workshops with any country in any area within BBSRC remit, based on current BBSRC research funding.

International workshops can be held in the UK or overseas and should always present an international dimension to them, for example in its location, participants or partners.

Many workshops are used as a platform to look for new, long term partnerships which may be eligible for BBSRC International Partnering Awards on funding from other bodies.

Where you can hold a workshop

Workshops can be held in the UK or abroad. The call is open to proposals involving collaborations with any other country, although BBSRC is particularly interested in promoting further links with:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Europe
  • India
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • USA.

Workshop format

Experience has shown that there is no set formula for a successful workshop and that there is a need to be flexible according to the needs of the subject area.

Best practice from previous workshops suggests the following factors:

  • designated leads for different areas, with an overall leader nominated by each side
  • a common sense of purpose communicated in advance to all participants
  • an informal atmosphere, encouraging a full and frank exchange of ideas
  • opportunities for additional meetings between small numbers of participants (five to 10 on each side)
  • agreed outcomes
  • designated responsibilities for producing a workshop report and other follow-up actions.

The format usually includes a mixture of seminar-style presentations followed by smaller group discussions and feedback sessions to the whole workshop.

Workshops are often held within institutes or universities and there may be value in persuading the visiting side to give presentations to larger groups working in the field that are not actually attending the workshop.

Finally, the wrap-up session is an important element of the workshop, which can be overlooked in the enthusiasm of information exchange.

The workshop is about the future and it is essential that enough time is left to prepare an action plan for the way forward. Please indicate in your case for support if you would find it helpful for BBSRC to be represented at the workshop.

How to apply

All applications must be made through the research council’s Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

In addition to the Je-S proforma, the application should also include the following attachments:

Case for support

The case for support should be a PDF document of no longer than three sides (not including appendix) of single spaced 11pt Arial text. It must contain the following sections:

  • main scientific objectives
  • summary of previous contacts or links with proposed partners and participants
  • objectives and benefits. Include details of how the workshop will assist in achieving the main objectives and how the collaboration will be taken forward after the workshop
  • statement of added value. Indicate the benefit of the proposed collaboration to UK science and in particular, the relevance to your current BBSRC funding
  • proposed participants. As an appendix, applicants should include in their case for support (where possible) a list of all proposed participants, including their country and institution.

Cover letter

A short proposal letter must be included in the application.

Additional documents

CVs and publication lists are not required; however applicants may wish to include any particularly pertinent recent publications. A letter or support (maximum one side of A4) from, for example, the proposed collaborators may also be included but is not mandatory.

Read detailed guidance on how to complete the Je-S application process (PDF, 183KB).

International travel considerations

Applicants must follow travel advice set out by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office before departure and should check travel guidance for countries of interest when preparing an application.

BBSRC will not cover the cost of any time spent in quarantine as a result of travelling on an international workshop grant.

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed internally by BBSRC. This light-touch internal assessment allows applications to be processed swiftly and can be applied as they are based on an existing BBSRC grant, which has already undergone robust peer review.

Proposals are assessed against the following criteria:

  • the value added to BBSRC-funded science from the workshop
  • alignment of the workshop to current BBSRC strategic priorities
  • the expected output of the workshop
  • the level of contribution made towards the workshop from other sources.

Further details about BBSRC’s science and strategic priorities may be found in BBSRC’s delivery plan.

The success of each workshop will be measured against the following criteria:

  • completion of the objectives set out in the application
  • the added value to BBSRC science
  • the value of the developing partnerships and whether the workshop has led to further external funding opportunities
  • the value to wider UK international science, engineering and technology objectives
  • the production of further applications to BBSRC or other funders.

Contact details

Eligibility queries about this scheme should be addressed to:

Sana Afzal, Assistant International Relations Manager

Additional info

Supporting documents


BBSRC appreciates that the best research and ideas often come about from collaboration with other individuals, located both in the UK and around the world. This scheme has been running successfully for over 10 years to facilitate the coming together of experts.

Since 2005, BBSRC has supported 111 workshops with a total investment of over £1.2 million.

In previous years the scheme has provided around six awards of up to £10,000 each.

Awards are aimed at developing relations in topics relevant to current BBSRC strategic priorities. Previous BBSRC-sponsored workshops have created good international synergy; many have led to successful international research projects that have provided considerable added value to UK science. A list of awards funded through previous calls is available above.

Grant maintenance

All grant maintenance requests (for example, grant extension request, extension to start date, transfer of organisation) should be made via the grant maintenance facility in Je-S. All requests for extensions must be made once the required duration is known and before the grant ends.

Read more about making a change to your project.

Reporting requirements

All grant holders must use researchfish® to record key findings and specific outputs from their grants. Grant holders can enter information into researchfish® at any time throughout the year and submit during the annual submission period.

For international workshops BBSRC expects the following sections in researchfish® to be completed as a minimum requirement:

  • key findings
  • collaborations and partnerships
  • secondments and placements
  • further funding
  • publications
  • narrative impact
  • animal use.

Read more about reporting your research outcomes.

Data sharing notice

BBSRC carries out the processing of personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

The information you provide will only be used by BBSRC for the purpose of carrying out reviewing and assessment for making a funding decision.

By providing your information you are consenting to its use as detailed above.

Further relevant information is available in the:

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.