Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Pilot Opportunity Launched to Simplify Funding Opportunities by US-UK Research Teams

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A pilot opportunity was launched on Tuesday by US and UK funding agencies to simplify the funding application process for researchers in the two countries who wish to collaborate on projects.

Designed to make it easier for research teams made up of scientists from the US and UK to manage funding logistics and simultaneously obtain funding from both countries, the US NSF/BIO-UK BBSRC Lead Agency Pilot Opportunity is being funded by the US National Science Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

"The many benefits of this pilot opportunity will include better coordination of funding for US/UK research teams and increased bilateral awareness of scientific strengths and advancements between the US and UK funding agencies," Cora Marrett, acting director of NSF, said in a statement.

The pilot opportunity was created following a memorandum of understanding signed by the NSF and the UK's research councils. The program aims to reduce roadblocks often encountered in the funding process by scientists wanting to form international research teams. These roadblocks include identifying appropriate funding agencies; risking "double jeopardy," when one country's funding agency funds an international team's proposal, but the partner agency does not; and dealing with the different funding agencies' different timetables.

The pilot opportunity will use a simplified and flexible review process that allows researchers from the US and UK to submit one proposal that will be reviewed by only one of the partner agencies, NSF said.

Research teams applying for funding under the pilot opportunity will first choose a lead agency based on whether the work would fall under the purview of the NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences or the BBSCR. Each team then will file with the proposed lead agency an Intention to Submit (ITS) that summarizes the proposed research, the funding request, and other associated information. The documents will be reviewed in August 2014 and August 2015, NSF said.

Teams will be invited to submit full proposals based on their ITS. The full proposals will be reviewed in the fall 2014 and the fall 2015.

Proposals that cover systems biology, synthetic biology, computational biology, and bioinformatics will be eligible for consideration, the NSF said. Synthetic biology proposals will be considered only for the fall 2015, however.

While the NSF and BBSRC's criteria are not identical, "both agencies' criteria include evaluations by invited reviewers on proposals' scientific or intellectual merit, as well as on their broader societal impacts," the NSF noted. If a proposal is approved, the US researchers will be funded by the NSF, and the UK researchers will be funded by the BBSRC.