Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Future-proofing plants to a changing climate: stage two

Apply for research grant funding towards future proofing plants for a changing climate. Applicants to Stage 2 must have been invited from Stage 1 of the funding opportunity process.

Your proposal must involve researchers based in the UK, USA and Germany.

UK applicants must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

German investigators must be eligible for DFG funding.

USA investigators must be eligible for NSF or USDA-NIFA funding.

Applicants may request between:

  • £300,000 to £800,000 (80% full economic cost (FEC)) for the UK component
  • €300,000 to €800,000 for the German component
  • $300,000 to $800,000 for the USA component

The duration of your project can be up to three years.

Who can apply

Applicants must have received an invitation to submit a full proposal from Stage 1 of the funding opportunity process.

Applications must include a project lead from the UK, Germany, and US.

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

Standard eligibility criteria apply to this funding opportunity, applicants in the UK must meet the BBSRC eligibility requirements.

Institutions and researchers normally eligible for our funding include, but are not limited to:

  • higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • research council institutes (RCIs)
  • approved independent research organisations (IROs)
  • public sector research establishments (PSREs)

Applicants in Germany must meet the eligibility requirements of DFGs Individual Research Grants Programme (PDF, 132KB).

Applicants in the USA must meet eligibility requirements of NSF under the NSF Act of 1950, as amended, and other applicable authority, where applicable, or of USDA-NIFA. Applicants should contact NSF and USDA-NIFA if they have questions about which USA agency is most appropriate.

Who is not eligible to apply

Applicants not based in the UK, Germany, USA are not eligible to apply.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

Scope

Climate change is challenging the sustainability and resilience of our agri-food systems, through long-term changes to temperature and rainfall, increased threats due to extreme weather events and shifts in pests and diseases. Plants overall need to be more resilient and adapt to these threats while crops need to continue meeting the demand for safe and affordable food for a growing population on less land and with greater resource use efficiency, in order to lower the impact on the natural environment.

How will international research collaboration help address the challenge?

To address this imminent challenge, we need accelerated approaches in plant sciences translating knowledge across different plant and crop species. This necessitates new ways of working, access to diverse, complementary expertise and greater research coordination across multiple geographical locations and agri-environments to deliver a deeper understanding of the genome-phenome-environment relationship in the context of climate change. Broad community building and matching of strengths and diverse expertise in research intensive nations can accelerate solutions and leverage upon national research investments.

Germany, UK and the USA have world leading capability in plant and crop sciences and together can drive greater coordination of research efforts beyond borders. Τhe programme will support collaborative research in the three countries with synergies expected to include:

  • a novel route to inter-agency funding, supporting world-leading researcher collaborations across international teams with complementary expertise
  • enabling multidisciplinary research approaches that build on areas of particular country strengths. For example, UK’s strengths in systems biology and molecular modelling with Germany’s whole organism-level understanding and the US’s capacity to scale up modelling of crops and farming systems
  • providing strategies to close the knowledge gap between the genetic and physiological research at individual plant scale in artificial environments and the farming system level
  • achieving ‘sum of parts’ across complementary national research resources that can be brought to bear in new ways, for example, national facilities, datasets, and biological resources
  • reducing duplication of effort and embedding common data standards to enhance collaboration within the international research community.
  • delivery of novel tools, methods and approaches that could be disseminated and adopted more broadly across the plant and crop sciences research community
  • access to wider international networks and training opportunities for early career researchers, strengthening national skillsets and enhancing future international leadership and collaboration within and across the three countries

Research themes

Applications are invited for projects within, or combining, the following research areas:

From molecules and mechanisms to field performance

A multi-scale understanding of model and crop plant physiology has the potential to deliver a step change in our ability to understand genotype x environment interactions and their impact on phenotype. Integrative research is needed to understand the links between plant genetics, metabolism or physiology, and performance in complex and fluctuating environments. This requires bringing together observations from multiple scales, including:

  • molecular
  • cellular
  • physiological
  • organismal
  • plant population level

Areas that will benefit from further research include:

  • development of tools that enable integration of existing plant physiological cellular and genomics knowledge into whole farming systems understanding
  • considering plants in real world contexts for example, the influence of the plant microbiome and plant-soil interactions, where beneficial relationships play a role in plant resilience and resource use efficiency
  • understanding the trade-offs that come from optimising traits in the context of abiotic and biotic challenges, such as water stress or pathogenic threats, and the implications for performance
  • link insights from laboratory studies to field performance of crops

Research in this area should seek to develop or harness advances in:

  • modelling
  • machine learning
  • phenotyping
  • other multi-modal technologies

With the aim to deliver quantitative insights and potential strategies to optimise plant performance under different conditions, particularly in the field.

Programmable plants

The ability to ‘programme’ plants with predictable and novel characteristics and ideotypes suited to specific environments, will provide fresh insights into complex genotype-phenotype relationships and offer innovative solutions for agricultural adaptation to climate change impacts. Biotechnological and synthetic biology approaches are needed to accelerate plant research in this direction and deliver step-changes in our ability to control plant growth, developmental and stress responses more precisely.

Areas that will benefit from further research include:

  • complex multigenic trait engineering in genomes
  • development of innovative techniques to control chromosome recombination for rapid and efficient implementation of pangenome diversity or crop wild relatives to enhance complex traits, such as encoding resistance to stresses like:
    • drought
    • flooding
    • salinity
    • temperature
    • pathogens
    • microbial interactions
  • engineered approaches to reduce reliance on fertilisers and pesticides (such as nitrogen fixation and microbiome modulation), or enhanced carbon capture (such as improved sequestration in below ground tissues and photosynthetic efficiency)
  • development of new tools and methods that address current bottlenecks in engineering plant systems to accelerate the pipeline of development of rationally engineered plant traits for a changing climate. For example:
    • plant transformation
    • plant synthetic biology
    • genome editing
    • speed breeding
    • rapid phenotyping

Duration

The duration of this award is up to three years.

We expect funding outcomes will be announced in November 2024.

Funding available

The following funding has been earmarked for the funding opportunity:

  • BBSRC has earmarked £6.5 million of its budget for this activity, subject to executive approval. Funding will be available for up to 12 research projects, with a duration up to three years
  • DFG have earmarked a budget of €4.7 million plus 22% overheads (€5.7 million in total), representing the ability to co-fund up to 12 projects
  • NSF intends to commit up to $8.6 million over the three years of the programme, subject to the availability of appropriations (NSF-Plant Genome Research Program intends to commit $7 million and NSF-Plant Biotic Interactions intends to commit another $1.6 million)
  • USDA-NIFA intends to commit up to $2 million for this activity, subject to the availability of appropriations and executive approval

All proposals are to adhere to the budget restrictions of the funding opportunity. These are:

  • UK applicants will adhere to BBSRC’s eligibility rules and guidelines as set out in the BBSRC guidance for applicants
  • German applicants are to adhere to DFG’s eligibility rules
  • US applicants are to adhere to NSF or USDA-NIFA’s eligibility rules. If necessary, NSF and USDA-NIFA will provide guidance on respective funder suitability to USA applicants. Applicants should contact NSF or USDA-NIFA for advice

Proposals should adhere to the following country-specific requirements:

  • UK budget requests should be within the following range £300,000 to £800,000 (at 80% of the project’s FEC)
  • German budget requests should be within the following range €300,000 to €800,000
  • USA budget requests should be within the following range $300,000 to $800,000

What we will not fund

Projects involving cannabis are excluded from this funding opportunity.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage UK teams to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

How to apply

Overview of the application process

The ‘Future proofing plants for a changing climate’ funding opportunity is comprised of two mandatory stages. The UK project lead will be responsible for assembling all the information required for each stage from the wider team and this will be submitted using the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service by their research organisation.

At each stage of the funding opportunity you will be able to access the corresponding Funding Service page to submit your application using the ‘Start application’ button on this page.

Stage one: expression of interest stage

Details on how to submit a stage one application can be found here: Future-proofing plants to a changing climate: stage one.

Stage two: full stage

The full stage is only open to applicants who have been invited to submit following stage one. The deadline for submitting full proposals is 22 May 2024.

The research team will provide a full description of their project idea, people involved, and other information including letters of support, management plans, and full justification of resources using the Funding Service.

Separate budgets and budget justifications will be required for each agency. All budget items must conform to the national rules applicable to each applicant. Further information on what is required will be provided with the invitation to submit a full proposal following stage one.

UKRI’s Funding Service

BBSRC will run this funding opportunity on the new Funding Service on behalf of the involved funding agencies. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

Your team can be led by either UK, German or USA applicants, or may involve co-leads from the three countries. Please indicate roles within your proposal.

For administrative purposes, the project lead (lead UK applicant) is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all international team members and project partners to contribute to the application where appropriate.

Only the lead UK research organisation can apply to UKRI, joint submissions involving multiple UK research organisations must be made using the same Funding Service application.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

Deadline

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any deadlines that may be in place within your research organisation.

Stage one: expression of interest

BBSRC must receive your outline by 6 February 2024 at 4:00pm UK time. You will not be able to submit an expression of interest after this time.

Details on how to submit a stage one application can be found here: Future-proofing plants to a changing climate: stage one.

Stage two: full stage

Only applicants who are invited may submit a full stage submission.

The full stage will open shortly after the expression of interest stage closes.

BBSRC must receive your full proposal by 22 May 2024 at 4:00pm UK time. You will not be able to submit a full proposal after this time.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

DFG must receive a PDF copy of the application that has been submitted to BBSRC full proposal stage, including the CVs and publication lists of the applicants, and the ‘DFG Lead Agency procedure Project Data Form’ within one week after the closing date of the full proposal submission to BBSRC, by 29 May 2024. The German project lead will upload this application to the DFG’s submission portal ‘elan’.

Personal data

Processing personal data

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with DFG, NSF and USDA-NIFA so that they can participate in the assessment process.

For more information on how NSF uses personal information, visit NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements. In general, all proposals, reviews, and so on are confidential, only the public award abstract is published.

Please note the DFG’s data protection notice on research funding, which can be viewed and downloaded at DFG Privacy Policy.

Publication of outcomes

BBSRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at Awarded research grants.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • researcher co-lead (RcL)
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

German Applicants

Word limit: 350

Please provide the following details of the German applicants on this application:

  • name
  • institute
  • job title
  • role in project (for example, project lead or project co-lead)
  • email address

Please also indicate who the lead German applicant(s) will be.

DFG will use this information to confirm applicant eligibility.

Please do not include details of German applicants in the ‘Core team’ section.

USA Applicants

Word limit: 350

Please provide the following details of the USA applicants on this application:

  • name
  • institute
  • job title
  • role in project (for example, project lead or project co-lead)
  • email address
  • unique entity identifier (UEI). See Sam.gov for details.

Please indicate who the lead USA applicant(s) will be.

NSF and USDA-NIFA will use this information to confirm applicant eligibility.

Please do not include details of USA applicants in the ‘Core team’ section.

Vision

Word limit: 1,500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • demonstrates synergy between the applicants
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

Within your vision you should:

  • describe how your application addresses the ‘future proofing plants to a changing climate’ scope of the funding opportunity
  • provide the overall aims and objectives of your research, typically as a small number of bullet points
  • describe your aims in the context of relevant prior work by your team and how the proposed research complements (and does not overlap with) other research funded in this area internationally
  • highlight features that are particularly original or unique

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Approach

Word limit: 4,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work
  • describe how the project will be managed to ensure effective working between the investigators and wider team

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Your approach should describe how you will tackle the individual objectives, including reference to the experimental and analytical methods, tools and technologies which will be employed or developed, use of relevant facilities and infrastructures, and what model system, or systems, might be used.

Within the approach we also expect you to:

  • clearly outline the role and contribution of team members to delivering each objective
  • describe key synergies or interdependencies between objectives which contribute to the delivery of outcomes greater than the sum of individual objectives
  • describe key milestones where you may need to make decisions, track, or evaluate progress

A project Gantt chart is compulsory and should be inserted as an image at the very end of this section. The Gantt chart should identify appropriate deliverables, responsibilities, and time points for each objective. Please make sure to check sizing and readability of the image using ‘read view’ prior to submission.

References

Word limit: 600

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 2,000

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

This section should cover the whole UK-USA-German team.

The word count for this section is 2,000 words: 1,500 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasize where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

Information provided here will be reviewed by UKRI and further information may be requested if the proposal is recommended for funding.

Genetic and biological risk

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve any genetic or biological risk?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

In respect of animals, plants or microbes, are you proposing to:

  • use genetic modification as an experimental tool, like studying gene function in a genetically modified organism
  • release genetically modified organisms
  • ultimately develop commercial and industrial genetically modified outcomes

If yes, provide the name of any required approving body and state if approval is already in place. If it is not, provide an indicative timeframe for obtaining the required approval.

Identify the organism or organisms as a plant, animal or microbe and specify the species and which of the three categories the research relates to.

Identify the genetic and biological risks resulting from the proposed research, their implications, and any mitigation you plan on taking. Assessors will want to know you have considered the risks and their implications to justify that any identified risks do not outweigh any benefits of the proposed research.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Research involving the use of animals

Word limit: 10

Does your proposed research involve the use of vertebrate animals or other organisms covered by the Animals Scientific Procedures Act?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires using animals, download and complete the Animals Scientific Procedures Act template (DOCX, 74KB), which contains all the questions relating to research using vertebrate animals or other Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulated organisms.

Studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications.

Save it as a PDF. The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

If this section does not apply to you, please write ‘N/A’ and mark as complete.

Conducting research with animals overseas

Word limit: 10

Will any of the proposed animal research be conducted overseas?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing to conduct overseas research, it must be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with those in the UK, as in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research, page 14.

Ensure all named applicants in the UK and overseas are aware of this requirement. Provide a statement to confirm that:

  • all named applicants are aware of the requirements and have agreed to abide by them
  • this overseas research will be conducted in accordance with welfare standards consistent with the principles of UK legislation
  • the expectation set out in Responsibility in the use of animals in bioscience research will be applied and maintained
  • appropriate national and institutional approvals are in place

Overseas studies proposing to use non-human primates, cats, dogs, equines or pigs will be assessed during NC3Rs review of research applications. Provide the required information by completing the template from the question ‘Research involving the use of animals’.

For studies involving other species, select, download, and complete the relevant Word checklist or checklists from this list:

Save as a PDF. If you use more than one checklist, save it as a single PDF.

If this section does not apply to you, please write ‘N/A’ and mark as complete.

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this section does not apply to you, please write ‘N/A’ and mark as complete.

Research involving human tissues or biological samples

Word limit: 700

Does your proposed research involve the use of human tissues, or biological samples?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing work that involves human tissues or biological samples, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the use of human tissue or biological samples specifying the nature and quantity of the material to be used and its source.

If this section does not apply to you, please write ‘N/A’ and mark as complete.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 700

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

This section should be used to discuss and justify UK costs only.

Please use the ‘additional documentation for German applicants’ and ‘additional documentation for USA applicants’ for German and USA budget information.

Your organisation’s support

Word limit: 10

Provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a Statement of Support from your UK research organisation(s) detailing why the proposed work is needed. This should include details of any matched funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work.

Upload guidance for the PDF will be provided in the Funding Service.

Letters of support from the US and German research organisations are not required for this section.

Additional documentation for German Applicants

Word limit: 10

Please upload a single PDF attachment with the following documents in this order:

  • German budget template and justification of resources using the DFG Lead Agency procedure Project Data Form from the ‘Additional information’ section of the funding opportunity page
  • German CVs
  • If a German applicant is requesting a temporary principal investigator position from DFG then an employer statement should be included as part of the PDF upload.

In all other circumstances German applicants do not need to submit a Letter of Support

Additional documentation for USA Applicants

Word limit: 10

Please upload a single PDF attachment with for the following documents in this order:

  • USA budget template and justification of resources using the US budget template from the ‘Additional information’ section of the funding opportunity page.
  • USA biosketch

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions.

If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include private sector, non-governmental organisations, third parties that would not normally receive funding directly from the grant and may provide direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partners’ section.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter ‘N/A’.  Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

Save letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any sensitive personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique Funding Service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘Project partner’.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 1,000

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with BBSRC’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Facilities

Word limit: 750

Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility, follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Please note this section should only be used to discuss facilities from the linked facility information list.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite international peers to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UKRI Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

This stage will include an opportunity for principal investigator response.

Panel

Following peer review we will invite a panel of international interdisciplinary experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application. At the end of the meeting, panel members will confirm an overall score for each proposal and agree on a ranked list.

Funding Decisions

After the panel meeting, representatives from the participating agencies will form a working group to discuss the potential outcomes. The selection of the final list of projects to be recommended for funding will be based on 1) the consolidated evaluation summary and ranking of proposals provided by the assessment panel and 2) financial considerations including availability of funds from the contributing organisations for selected proposals.

The final funding decision about the recommended proposals rests with the national participating agencies that contribute to the funds of this opportunity.

The outcomes of the peer review and assessment panel will remain confidential among the participating agencies until each participating agency has made their funding decision. BBSRC will inform lead applicants of funding outcomes, following which the non-lead agency will contact their own applicants.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process within 6 months of receiving your application.

The panel for this funding opportunity is expected to be convened in late September 2024. Funding outcomes are anticipated to be released October 2024.

Feedback

We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Sharing data with co-funders

We will need to share the application (including any personal information that it contains) with DFG, NSF and USDA-NIFA so that they can participate in the assessment process.

For more information on how NSF uses personal information, visit NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements. In general, all proposals, reviews and so on. are confidential, only the public award abstract is published.

Please note the DFG’s data protection notice on research funding.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

Research excellence

Have the applicants demonstrated how the work they are proposing:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • the tools, methods and technologies applied should be the most appropriate for the delivery of the objectives according to the cutting-edge of the field, or fields, under investigation
  • is relevant to the scope of the scheme including at least one of the research themes
  • will impact world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

The panel will pay particular attention to the ‘Vision’ and ‘Approach’ sections to assess research excellence.

International Partnership

Have the applicants demonstrated a clear rationale for the international partnership and the added value this offers to advance the research field:

  • explaining why this partnership has been chosen, including the research strengths, expertise and capabilities of UK, USA and German partners involved
  • describing how the UK, USA and German teams and their research environments will contribute to the success of the proposed work
  • explaining the unique added value opportunities, complementary expertise or synergy in research efforts by bringing together the UK, USA, German partners, provides to advance the research
  • describing an appropriate balance of opportunities for the exchange of people (for example. Researchers and technicians), including the purpose of the exchanges and their potential to enhance the professional development of those involved

The panel will pay particular attention to the ‘Approach’, ‘Vision’ and ‘Team capability to deliver (R4RI)’ sections to assess this criterion.

Feasibility

Have the applicants demonstrated that they have designed their approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve their objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts

The panel will pay particular attention to the ‘Approach’ and ‘Team capability to deliver (R4RI)’ sections to assess this criterion.

Team capability to deliver

Have the applicants provided evidence of how they, and their teams in the UK, USA and Germany, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and their approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The panel will pay particular attention to the ‘Approach’ and ‘Team capability to deliver (R4RI)’ sections to assess team capability to deliver.

Resources and cost justification

Have the applicants demonstrated how the resources they anticipate needing for their proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact Details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact the funding opportunity team at trilateral_plants@bbsrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

You can also find information on submitting an application here: Improving your funding experience.

If you have questions specific to the German component of your application, please contact:

DFG Head Office

Dr Catherine Kistner, Life Sciences II, phone +49 228 885-2803, catherine.kistner@dfg.de

Tanja Zdebel, Life Sciences II, phone +49 228 885-3105, tanja.zdebel@dfg.de

If you have questions specific to the USA component of your application, please contact: dbipgr@nsf.gov

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, please contact: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

US partner budget form (NSF) (DOCX, 122KB)

German partner budget form (DFG) (DOCX, 47KB)

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