Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Transformative Technologies

The Transformative Technologies programme develops the tools, technologies and approaches that enable researchers to push the boundaries of bioscience discovery and stimulate innovation. The programme is divided into four main themes:

  • technology development
  • research infrastructure
  • data-intensive research
  • engineering biology
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

The Transformative Technologies programme supports developments in tools, technologies and approaches that enable researchers to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and increase the impact of their research. It is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and highlighted as contributing to the ‘Advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery’ theme within the Forward Look for UK Bioscience.

The programme is divided into four main themes:

• technology development
• research infrastructure
• data-intensive research
• engineering biology

Annual funding opportunities include the Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund, and the Tools and Resources Development Fund.

Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund

The Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund was established to tackle a strategic need, identified by BBSRC, to provide proper support for resources such as databases, genetic resources and culture collections which require long term maintenance and curation. The fund plays an important role in enabling data sharing in the biosciences, as mandated by our data sharing policy.

Tools and Resources Development Fund

Through the first funding opportunity of the Tools and Resources Development Fund we support small or short-duration, pump-priming projects that enable excellent bioscience, encourage applications that develop novel tools, technologies and methods spanning the breadth of BBSRC research and underpin in the long run all of our strategic priorities and the wider biosciences.

Why we're doing it

Cutting-edge bioscience is critically dependent on the availability of modern research infrastructure and the adoption of new ways of working. The emergence and exploitation of disruptive technologies can open transformative new opportunities for research and business innovation.

The main thematic areas of the programme address these issues through four focus areas.

Technology development

World-class bioscience is dependent on new technologies, methodologies and resources. Advances in research often involve the development or application of new tools and technologies and, increasingly, data-intensive and predictive approaches to biological discovery, for example in genomics or artificial intelligence.

Research infrastructure

In order to facilitate ground-breaking research in an internationally competitive environment and investigate complex biological phenomena, researchers need access to state-of-the-art comprehensive, integrated and interoperable digital and biological research infrastructure, facilities and resources, built to community-accepted standards.

Data-intensive research

The development and innovation of new data-intensive approaches through software tools and algorithms that enable computational dependent analysis, data integration and modelling provide the capability to process the volume and complexity of biological research data from transformative technologies, ultimately enabling unique insights and discoveries.

Engineering biology

Engineering biology is the process of taking synthetic biology concepts and translating them into real-world solutions. It is the design and fabrication of biological components and systems using engineering technologies and principles, from modification to natural systems through to artificial biology. Consequently, engineering biology encompasses the entire innovation ecosystem, from breakthrough synthetic biology research to translational and application.

Who to contact

Ask a question about Transformative Technologies

Contact the Transformative Technologies Team

Email: tt@bbsrc.ukri.org

Governance, management and panels

Transformative Technologies Strategy Advisory Panel

Strategy development in the Transformative Technologies (TT) area is informed by the TT Strategy Advisory Panel (TT SAP), which brings together experts from academia and industry. The panel, and its associated expert working groups, provide advice to BBSRC on the strategic direction of its research, training and knowledge exchange portfolio in areas relevant to TT. This is in order to maintain the competitiveness of the UK in line with the Forward Look for UK Bioscience.

Working groups are established to provide in-depth strategic advice on a particular topic and normally meet two or three times. Recent TT SAP working groups have considered data-intensive bioscience and technology development.

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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