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Strategic priorities

BBSRC has a set of Council-wide strategic priorities. These reflect the major priorities set out in the BBSRC Strategic Plan and set out topics or activities within these that the Council wishes to particularly encourage and promote.

When and how do priorities apply?

The application of these priorities in the submission and assessment of responsive mode grant applications is described in the next section.

Some or all of the priorities may also apply to other types of BBSRC funding. In this case the priorities that are relevant, the way they should be applied and how that will be taken into account in the appraisal of applications will be set out in the relevant call.

Use of priority areas in appraisal of responsive mode grant applications

"Relevance to BBSRC Strategy" is one of the seven assessment criteria for research grant applications - see our Grants Guide para 4.54.

The extent to which any proposal addresses one or more of the strategic priorities, in the terms described in that priority document, is therefore a factor in the appraisal and ranking of the application.

Excellence is the overriding criterion in the assessment of research grants, and the BBSRC is committed to the support of world-class bioscience science across its remit. However, it is expected that competitive applications that address a strategic priority will have some advantage in competition.

To be considered under a strategic priority any application must explicitly address the priority as set out in the priority description on the BBSRC website (see links below). Applications that are generally relevant to topics mentioned e.g. in the BBSRC Strategic Plan or other BBSRC documents are not within strategic priorities, but such relevance may be taken into account in peer review depending on the circumstances.

Pathways to impact and strategic priorities

Many of the strategic priorities aim to increase the impact of science funded by BBSRC by encouraging focus on particular problems, developing capacity and capability in the science base or strengthening links with partners and knowledge exchange.

Consequently the pathways to impact section of the Je-S form is particularly important if the application addresses a strategic priority. Applicants should ensure that activities appropriate to the exploration and encouragement of the potential impacts that priority seeks to promote form part of the research programme and are clearly set out as objectives in the Pathways to Impact section.

Some priority descriptions include specific guidance on expectations for pathways to impact within that priority.

The strategic priorities

The BBSRC Strategic Plan identifies key strategic priority areas and enabling themes. Within these a number of specific strategic priorities have been identified:

Research priorities

Food security* Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy Basic bioscience underpinning health Cross-council priorities Over-arching priorities Exploiting new ways of working
Crop science Bioenergy: generating new replacement fuels for a greener, sustainable future Ageing research: lifelong health and wellbeing Global uncertainties The replacement, refinement and reduction (3Rs) in research using animals Data driven biology
Animal health New strategic approaches to industrial biotechnology   Living with environmental change Welfare of managed animals (including livestock and companion animals) Synthetic biology
Livestock production     Lifelong health and wellbeing (see Ageing research: lifelong health and wellbeing)   Systems approaches to the biosciences
Soil science and agri-systems approaches     Energy (see Bioenergy: generating new replacement fuels for a greener, sustainable future)   Technology development for the biosciences
Healthy and safe food     Global food security*    

*Work funded under food security will be part of BBSRC's contribution to the multi-agency Global Food Security (GFS) programme. GFS promotes interdisciplinary and whole-systems approaches to research on UK and global food supplies. Its scope and priorities are set out in the programme's strategic plan (see external links). Irrespective of whether applications fit under the Global Food Security programme in order to qualify for any BBSRC grant the majority of the proposed work must fall within BBSRC's remit. We welcome cross-cutting proposals that address more than one of the food security priorities.

Building partnerships

These priorities encourage working with partners to improve the effectiveness of research and the realisation of impact. They are not specific to particular areas of science or application. Whilst applications are welcomed across the whole of the BBSRC remit, proposals that pursue partnership in the areas of the research priorities are particularly encouraged