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2021 call for expressions of interest to join our Pool of Experts, Committee E and Follow-on Fund Committee

Call status: Closed
Application deadline: 22 July 2021, 16:00

Background

BBSRC, as part of UK Research and Innovation, plays a crucial role in the health and vibrancy of UK bioscience. Every year we invest more than £450 million on behalf of the UK public in research, innovation, training and capabilities in universities and institutes across the UK. Our aim is to sustain the excellence of, and maximise impact from, the UK bioscience community by furthering scientific knowledge, promoting economic growth and improving the quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Our research investments support frontier bioscience that advances our understanding of the fundamental rules of life and drives the development of transformative and innovative technologies. The forward look for UK bioscience is structured around three themes that outline key challenges for the years ahead:

  • Advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery: understanding the rules of life; transformative technologies
  • Tackling strategic challenges: bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food; bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth; bioscience for an integrated understanding of health
  • Building strong foundations: people and talent; infrastructure, collaboration, partnership and knowledge exchange

Call for expressions of interest

Peer review is a vital part of the decision making process that supports our investment in bioscience. Members of our assessment Research Committees and the Pool of Experts provide expert knowledge and insight to ensure that we invest in important and high-quality research, innovation and training in the biosciences. Through this role, members also gain insight into the future direction of bioscience research and innovation.

In this call, we are inviting expressions of interest to join our:

We are seeking expressions of interest from individuals who have expertise to provide credible opinion of the merit of proposals for funding submitted to BBSRC, as described in the selection criteria. Appointments will be made by UKRI-BBSRC’s Appointments Board on the basis of individual knowledge and experience, and the need for expertise in particular research and innovation areas. As part of this programme we also aspire to better reflect the diversity and experience across the breadth of the bioscience community spanning academia, industry and policy.

Person specification

Detailed information about the requirements for the different positions is provided in the role descriptions and expertise requirements.

All applicants are expected to provide evidence of:

  • Your ability to use your own expertise and experience to assess the scientific excellence and strategic relevance of research
  • Your skills and experience that demonstrate your ability to understand and assess the potential outputs and outcomes of research
  • Outputs and contributions to your area for research or innovation. For example, publications, patents and other IP, software development, company creation or leadership, professional accreditation, involvement in collaborative research and development projects, policy/public engagement, awards etc.
  • Presence in your community for example invited presentations, talks at leading conferences in the field, experience of sitting on advisory boards, peer review boards or panels, thought-leadership roles etc.

The types of evidence required will depend on the background of the applicant:

Academic applicants:

  • Evidence of a research portfolio and competitively obtained grant funding. Typically, successful applicants will have been awarded at least one grant in the last five years. This can include the award of a fellowship.

Non-academic applicants, including Business, Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and Policy professionals:

  • Evidence of experience in research, development or innovation with technical knowledge deployed in a business, commercial or policy environment.
  • Evidence to demonstrate an understanding of the academic innovation and business landscape (for example through interaction with Universities or Institutes, participation in innovation networks or commercialisation accelerators).

For all roles, we expect you to be able to commit the necessary time and attention to your appointment and to have the full support or the necessary permission of your employer.

Assessment process

Expressions of interest will be reviewed initially by BBSRC staff against the criteria set out in the person specification and role descriptions. Recommendations will be made to UKRI-BBSRC’s Appointments Board, which is responsible for making appointments. 

UKRI-BBSRC Appointments Board has delegated authority from the UKRI-BBSRC Executive Chair and is responsible for making decisions on appointments.  The Appointments Board are representatives of the community.

In addition to reviewing applications against the criteria for appointment, the Appointments Board will consider people diversity, institutional and industry balance as part of its decision making process. BBSRC seeks to balance institutional representation on our Boards, Panels and Committees. Consequently, there may be competition for places if applicants come from the same institution or organisation, and particularly if those applicants have similar expertise. If your institution or organisation is already represented on a Committee or the Pool of Experts, it will not prevent you from being appointed, but it will be important to demonstrate the distinctiveness and relevance of your expertise and experience.

Equality and diversity

We recognise that diverse ideas, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives are fundamental to successful science and innovation and we are committed to ensuring that our Committees, Panels and Boards are inclusive, diverse, and representative of the research  community.

We are committed to the principle of providing equal opportunities for all. Through this appointment activity, we aspire to increase the diversity of our Peer Review communities and welcome applications from all individuals and sections of the community irrespective of age, race, sex, gender, reassignment, disability, ethnic origin religion or sexual orientation.

Applications from women, those with a disability, and members of minority ethnic groups, who are currently under represented on the pool, are especially welcome. Applications from business, user and government colleagues are also particularly encouraged. We are also keen to encourage applications from experts based overseas.

An Equality and Impact Assessment has been developed to support and inform applicants, and ensure that we enable participation and attendance at meetings. For example, we use venues that have good transport links and are accessible, we will also contribute towards additional costs for caring responsibilities to enable you to attend.  Please do not hesitate to contact the office if you wish to discuss further.

To support us in assessing how effective our policies and procedures are in eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting opportunities, we ask that you provide diversity information that will be used anonymously by BBSRC for statistical purposes. This information will be treated in confidence by BBSRC and will not be used in the assessment of applications.

Career breaks and flexible working

Time spent outside the active research and business environment, whether through career breaks or flexible working will be taken into account in the assessment process. 

Applicants should indicate any substantive periods of absence within their application. Further details on the nature of the absence and how it has affected track record, productivity and career progression may be provided, if desired. Information provided will be used only to make appropriate adjustments when assessing an individual’s track record, productivity and career progression.

In assessing the effects of career breaks or flexible working, the Appointments Board will note the applicant’s career trajectory and potential at the beginning of a break, relative to the stage of the applicant’s career and/or professional standing. In assessing applicants, panels will recognise that the effects on productivity of a career break, or a period of flexible working, may continue beyond the return to work.

Safeguarding good scientific practice

As a public investor in research, UKRI-BBSRC aims to facilitate the highest standards for research integrity. UKRI is signatory to the UK Concordat to Support Integrity (PDF); UKRI-BBSRC also implements the UKRI Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research (PDF), alongside our guidance on safeguarding good scientific practice. Appointees to UKRI-BBSRC Committees, Panels and Pool of Experts are expected to be aware of their obligations in regard to these policies. Further information relating to UKRI’s guidance and policies on Research Integrity and Misconduct can be found on UKRI's Good Research Resource Hub.

Applicants are requested to declare if they are, or have been, subject to any current or past scientific misconduct investigation(s). UKRI-BBSRC reserves the right to reject any application where such issues are considered an impediment to the individual holding a public appointment. This information will be treated in confidence.

How to apply

Applicants can apply for one position (Pool of Experts, Committee E or Follow-on Fund Committee) only. 

The survey contains the following sections:

  1. Personal information (e.g. name, organisation, contact details)
  2. Diversity information, including information about career breaks and flexible working
  3. Your primary expertise areas: You should indicate up to three research and innovation areas where you offer sufficient expertise to be able to provide credible assessment.
  4. Free text sections:
    • Personal statement: You should describe why you are interested in the role and what you will bring to it (maximum 200 words)
    • Expertise and experience: You should describe the expertise and experience that you can you offer and provide the evidence to demonstrate this.

The closing date for applications is: 22 July 2021, 16:00.

Apply now

Please use the QR Code if required:

For further information or if you have any comments, please contact Appointments Board Secretariat.

Key dates

Call open 8 June 2021
Application deadline 22 July 2021, 16:00
BBSRC Office review of applications August – October 2021
Appointments Board meeting November 2021
Outcomes communicated Mid December 2021

Pool of Experts

BBSRC’s investment decisions are underpinned by a high quality peer review process with applications for funding being assessed by BBSRC Assessment Committees and Panels. The membership of these assessment bodies is typically drawn from an appointed Pool of Experts. Members of the Pool of Experts may also be invited to participate in other activities for BBSRC, such as attending expert working groups and advisory panel meetings.

Members of the Pool of Experts are expected to make all reasonable efforts to undertake the peer review of proposals for UKRI when invited to do so, unless there is a conflict of interest or the proposal is outside of their area of expertise.

We are looking to appoint up to thirty-forty new members to the Pool of Experts from across the remit of BBSRC.  Appointments to the Pool of Experts will be for up to three years.

What does the role involve?

As a member of the Pool of Experts, you

  • will play a key role in delivering our mission through participating in the assessment of research grant applications and identifying the highest quality research for investment
  • will typically attend one or two assessment meetings per year, each of up to two days duration. At these meetings, your role is to lead on the assessment of up to twelve research grant proposals and to contribute to the assessment of other proposals, as required
  • may be invited to participate in other activities to support the work of BBSRC, for example reviewing proposals, serving on other assessment panels, participating in expert working groups.

Pool of Experts members typically serve on our Research Committees, leading on the assessment of our responsive mode grant applications.  The Research Committees meet in February, May and September.

Pool of Expert members are required to attend a one day induction, which includes a simulated assessment meeting, before serving on a Committee.

Travel and subsistence will be paid, along with an attendance fee of £170 per meeting. Pool of Experts members who are not invited to attend a panel meeting may be asked to assist with the reviewing of applications.

Role profile

In addition to the person specification, candidates for the Pool of Experts are expected to evidence and demonstrate that you:

  • Have sufficient expertise to be able to offer a credible scientific opinion of the scientific merit of grant applications submitted to BBSRC. You should be able to provide an assessment that is knowledgeable, informed, and impartial.  You should be able to demonstrate your suitability through your research interest, funding track record and publications (where appropriate).

Expertise requirements

Expertise is welcome from across the whole of BBSRC’s remit.

For further information please contact Appointments Board Secretariat.

Research Committee E

Committee E is responsible for the award of fellowships and other personal awards and providing key mentoring support to BBSRC Fellows. Members are expected to be well respected within their field and to have demonstrable interest in supporting career development. 

We are looking to appoint nine new members. Appointments to Committee E will be for up to three years.

BBSRC is committed to enhancing the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) of talented individuals within the bioscience research and innovation community, through all its strategies, programmes and processes. This includes eliminating unintentional bias from our systems, processes, behaviours and culture. Therefore, we welcome applications from individuals irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or disability, provided that the relevant expertise and role profile are fulfilled.

In addition to members from the academic community we are particularly interested in increasing those from the industry sector from this call for new members.

What does the role involve?

Committee E:

  • undertakes the peer review of fellowships and other personal awards, and applications for other people movement schemes according to BBSRC processes and best practice and provides recommendations for awards to BBSRC Executive
  • provides mentoring, support and regular feedback to Fellows through face-to-face visits and meetings, through the annual progress update system and attendance at Fellows' induction seminars and the biennial BBSRC Fellows Conference organized by BBSRC
  • provides input to BBSRC and its Strategy Advisory Panels and sub-groups on the recommendations it makes on the award of fellowships and other personal awards.

Committee E members are required to:

  • Attend meetings in April or May and October (usually one and two days duration respectively) to assess current fellows’ progress (April or May) and sift new fellowship proposals (October)
  • Participate in fellowship interview panels in November or December (two or three day panel)
  • Mentor BBSRC’s fellows as described at Fellowship mentoring programme. Members usually mentor between 1 to 3 fellows at any one time
  • Attend the induction seminar for new fellows (two day event usually in February) if the member has been selected to act as a mentor to a new fellow being inducted
  • Attend the biennial fellows’ conference (two day event)
  • Support the work of the Committee through correspondence on an adhoc basis

Note – some of these meetings / events may become virtual or hybrid in the post COVID-19 pandemic landscape.

Details of the Committee and most recent membership can be found at Research Committee E

Role profile

In addition to the person specification, candidates for Committee E are expected to evidence and demonstrate:

  • Experience of mentoring and nurturing early career scientists to support the development of scientific careers
  • Experience of panel interviewing

Expertise requirements

We welcome candidates with scientific expertise from all areas of the BBSRC remit. In particular we would like to encourage applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • Neuroscience and behaviour
  • Biotechnology
  • Virology
  • Plant science
  • Bioinformatics/computational biology

For further information, please contact Darren Pirt.

Follow-on Fund Committee

Our Follow-on Fund (FoF) supports the translation of research into practical application, including commercialisation. The aim of the programme is to help researchers maximise the societal and economic benefits of their research. The FoF is a proof-of-concept programme to support bioscience innovation and provide funding where further work on an idea will take it through to a stage at which the route to application is clear, which may include the creation of a spin-out company, licensing opportunity or the creation of a social enterprise. The programme enables researchers to undertaken technical and business development activities essential to preparing a robust business plan and to secure, where appropriate, further funding and support to progress the project.

We are looking to appoint five new members from business and academia. Appointments to the FoF Committee will be for up to three years.

What does the role involve?

Committee members will be required to attend up to two meetings per year, each lasting one day.

On occasion Committee members may be asked to contribute to the assessment of other translational calls developed by the office in response to new funding opportunities. The office aims to ensure that any ad-hoc requests are distributed evenly across Committee members.

Details of the Follow-on Fund Committee and most recent membership can be found at Follow-on Fund Committee.

Role profile

In addition to the person specification, candidates for FOF Committee are expected to evidence and demonstrate:

  • Your experience in supporting and enabling innovation.

Expertise requirements

We are seeking applicants with expertise in the following areas:

  • Drug delivery and vaccines
  • Platform and technology development
  • Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Plant and Crop science
  • Animal Health.

Further information please contact David Hendry.