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New funds to stimulate systematics and taxonomy research

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16 November 2009

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have made £750K available to kick-start research projects in the field of systematics and taxonomy. The scheme is administered by the Linnean Society and the Systematics Association and additional funding may be available from Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in the case of projects that focus on priority species in the UK.

The SynTax scheme will provide £250K per year for three years to grant short-term funding of between £5K and £30K to projects with a substantial systematic, phylogenetic or taxonomic component. Each research project will comprise preliminary research that will form the basis of applications to the research councils for funding under the usual responsive mode system.

Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research said: “The scheme aims to encourage high quality applications for funding such that research councils might increase the portfolio of research in the systematics and taxonomy field.

“These are important elements in bioscience research that have historically not been particularly well represented in the research councils portfolio, largely due to the low number of competitive applications received.

“BBSRC and NERC have together been involved in various activities to review the situation with funding for systematics and taxonomy and it has become clear that one important element that has been missing is resource to do the early proof-of-principle experiments that are often needed to support an application for funding. We hope that by offering these small grants we will stimulate high quality applications for funding in this field.”

All proposals made under the SynTax scheme must be excellent science and offer a high probability of the applicant submitting a responsive mode grant proposal to a UK Research Council within two years of the start of the project. Projects will last a maximum of 24 months and must fall within the remit of BBSRC or NERC. They need not be hypothesis-driven provided that they demonstrate excellent science pertaining to systematics or taxonomy.

For more information and to apply please see:



The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


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