Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: BBSRC International Schemes

BBSRC’s International Schemes include a range of shorter and longer term awards for working with overseas scientists and researchers. Depending on the type of award, the funding can be used for:

  • travel
  • overseas visits
  • access to facilities not available in the UK
  • workshops
  • other activities and costs.
Budget:
Up to £150,000 (depending on the type of award)
Duration:
Up to four years (depending on the type of award)
Partners involved:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

BBSRC’s International Schemes bring an international dimension to research. They include:

  • short term travel awards to establish new contacts
  • medium term workshop opportunities
  • long term collaborations with overseas scientists.

Depending on the type of award, researchers can use the available funding for:

  • travel
  • visits to overseas institutions
  • access to facilities not available in the UK
  • exchange of personnel
  • workshops
  • networking
  • initiating first contacts
  • other collaborative activities
  • some research costs.

While the funded project must be within BBSRC’s remit, there are no restrictions on who UK researchers can collaborate with.

Why we're doing it

BBSRC recognises that collaboration and engagement with overseas researchers produces benefits to the BBSRC research and innovation community, the UK and partner countries across the globe.

It is therefore important that BBSRC continues to ensure that strong linkages in the biosciences are developed and sustained.

The overarching aim of the International Schemes is to provide resources to research groups, which allow them to forge long term relationships with international researchers and technical specialists. This is in areas of research that are of direct relevance to BBSRC’s current research and innovation strategy.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Funding opportunities

BBSRC International Travel Award Scheme (ITAS)

International travel awards are for BBSRC-supported researchers (for example, to initiate collaborations or prepare proposals with international partners) visiting overseas facilities for up to one month.

Funding of up to £3,000 is limited to travel and subsistence costs.

The application must be made by a principal investigator, but the principal investigator does not have to be the one travelling. Students are not eligible.

This funding opportunity is always open and applicants should apply at least six weeks before the anticipated travel dates.

BBSRC Brazil pump-priming award (FAPPA)

Brazil pump-priming awards are for BBSRC-supported researchers and consortia of academics.

They are supported by BBSRC and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to pump-prime collaborations between UK and Brazilian scientists in São Paulo state.

Funding of up to £35,000 for the UK side (mainly for networking and travel, and modest research costs) can be requested. Brazilian counterparts should apply for equivalent funding from FAPESP.

The application must be made by a principal investigator. One person may act as a lead for a consortium of academics. Students are not eligible.

The principal investigator in Brazil must hold a FAPESP research award.

This funding opportunity is always open and applicants should apply at least 12 weeks before the anticipated start date of the project.

BBSRC International Workshops

Researchers funded by BBSRC can request up to £10,000 to run a workshop (series) being held overseas or in the UK. Workshop topics important to BBSRC’s strategic priorities are especially encouraged.

Applicants can run workshops with any country in any area within BBSRC’s remit. BBSRC encourages 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.

This funding opportunity is run annually and usually opens in early autumn.

BBSRC International Partnering Awards

Researchers funded by BBSRC can request between £25,000 and £50,000 (depending on the specific award) over four years to develop links with overseas researchers. BBSRC offers specific opportunities for Partnering Awards with:

Collaborations with all other regions fall under the Global Partnering Awards.

Applicants can initiate and develop partnerships with any country in any area within BBSRC’s remit. BBSRC encourages 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.

This funding opportunity is run annually and usually opens in early autumn.

BBSRC International Partnering Award Plus (IPAP)

Researchers can apply for funding to establish new, or develop existing, collaborations with researchers in selected countries and on specific topics.

The scheme aims to pump prime collaborations and build readiness in the community to take on future joint opportunities, and was conceived to facilitate partnerships beyond what is possible with the International Partnering Awards.

For this, funding of up to £150,000 for 18 to 24 months is available and UK applicants must be based at an eligible UK organisation.

Overseas partners must be based in the country specified in the opportunity text. Funding covers:

  • UK research costs (including consumables and salary costs)
  • facilities costs in the UK and the specified overseas country
  • travel between both countries (including subsistence and accommodation)
  • networking costs.

These funding opportunities will be launched on the funding finder.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Since 2010, BBSRC’s International Schemes have resulted in investments of over £10 million in funding for more than 450 awards with more than 40 partner countries.

This has enabled researchers at all stages of their career to learn new skills, share knowledge, gain experiences, build their careers and further the UK research communities by forging new connections across the globe.

The following are just two examples of what has been funded through the BBSRC International Schemes.

A Japan Partnering Award between the University of Bristol and RIKEN research institute eventually led to the creation of an algorithm called Mogrify, which is being utilised to precisely predict the proteins required to reprogramme any human cell type. Mogrify is being used by two spin-out companies, Cell Mogrify and Chondrogenix, to develop new treatments for diseases.

A travel award enabling a visit to the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) in France from Rothamsted Research laid the foundation for identifying novel gene variants in wheat. These novel variants have the potential to reduce the viscosity of wheat grain extract used for distillation processes, therefore making whisky production more efficient.

Who to contact

BBSRC International

Email: bbsrc.iru@bbsrc.ukri.org

Last updated: 7 September 2022

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