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International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP)

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Call status: Open
Application deadline: 11 September 2019, 16:00 GMT


BBSRC invites applications for projects of up to 12 months in duration, which involve international people exchanges (Interchanges) between UK academic institutions and user organisations that operate within countries on the DAC list (see external links). Users of research can include private businesses, third sector organisations (for example, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), or public bodies including government departments, local government, and regulatory authorities).

The International Flexible Interchange Programme (I-FLIP) aims to increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of previous BBSRC funded research through facilitating knowledge exchange and capacity building activities that deliver direct tangible and demonstrable benefits to users. I-FLIP will provide funding to directly address challenges faced by developing countries by supporting the movement of people between the UK academic base and user organisations in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

This call is funded from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). As well as building upon the outputs of previous BBSRC funded research, projects supported through I-FLIP must meet the criteria for classification of expenditure as Official Development Assistance (ODA), see: UK Research and Innovation: Official Development Assistance Global Challenges Research Fund Guidance (PDF).


I-FLIP is part of BBSRC’s portfolio of activities that enable the delivery of economic and societal impact through innovation and knowledge exchange. As with all GCRF funding, the primary beneficiary of all I-FLIP projects must be a country on the DAC list.

Where possible, effort has been made to promote inclusivity and remove barriers to participation for individuals in UK and overseas (see Equality and inclusion impact assessment in Downloads section).

Purpose and aims

I-FLIP aims to:

  • increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of previous BBSRC funded research through knowledge exchange activities that deliver benefits for people within a DAC list country(ies)
  • Support and enable the formation and development of sustainable partnerships with the aim of maximising the impact of previously-funded BBSRC research
  • Strengthen the wider skills of interchanger(s) and explore opportunities to further develop these skills by spending time working within a different environment.


I-FLIP will support multidirectional interchanges between the UK academic base and users within a DAC list country leading to the exchange of knowledge / skills / capabilities for the purpose of directly addressing challenges in developing countries. Successful projects will draw upon the combined strengths of each participating organisation to take research into practice and deliver impact from previous BBSRC funded research.

Interchanges funded through I-FLIP will consist of individuals moving between the academic base in the UK and user organisations operating within countries on the DAC list in order to deliver the aims of the I-FLIP project. BBSRC expects that interchangers from the UK will spend a period of time working within the country that the I-FLIP project aims to support.

BBSRC welcomes researchers, technical staff and professional service staff to participate as interchangers in order to maximise the transfer of knowledge and know-how from previous research. Each I-FLIP project can include any number of interchanges, which can operate in either direction, between UK academic institutions and user organisations. Interchanges can occur on a full-time, part-time or intermittent basis.

Building upon excellent research

We encourage applicants to be innovative in their approaches to accelerate the uptake of BBSRC-funded research by users through knowledge exchange. The I-FLIP Call will fund activities that aim to achieve outcomes that deliver impact and benefit for people within DAC list country(ies).

Projects should draw upon the outcomes, outputs and learning from previous BBSRC research grants therefore a demonstrable link to a previous BBSRC grant is an essential criterion of this call.

Working with in-country users

Successful projects are those that will generate sustainable outcomes and impact. In order to achieve this, users should be engaged by the applicant in the co-creation of the project at the earliest possible point, defining the issues to be addressed, the project objectives, and the specification of outputs, ensuring value and utility to the users. Providing evidence to this effect is essential and should help ensure the project’s activities are sustainable and achieve the desired outcomes.

Applications should explain how any stakeholder collaboration and knowledge exchange activities strengthen the route to impact and likelihood or scale of beneficial outcomes. This should include any specific commitments from institutions or enterprises from the UK or developing countries to adopt or apply outcomes of the research, and where appropriate it is helpful to outline how this enhances local innovation and research capacity at an individual, institutional or national level.

Applications to this call should have a primary focus on knowledge exchange, and the following are out of scope:

  • Projects focused solely on delivering training
  • Academics acting as consultants for commercial third parties
  • Projects that only involve/engage the academic community or between the research base and the general public
  • New research
  • Projects that do not meet the criteria for ODA compliance

Official Development Assistance

Applicants must demonstrate that the primary purpose of their proposed project is to promote the economic development and welfare of people in the DAC partner country. The scale and breadth of its potential impact will be an important consideration in the assessment of proposals.

Successful proposals aiming to work with a country on the DAC list of ODA recipients will focus on delivering outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of that country (or countries). Funding within this call will therefore be awarded in a manner that fits with ODA guidelines. Applicants should refer to the guidance for applicants’ document for information about demonstrating ODA compliance in their project.

Gender equality

As part of this call it will be mandatory for all applications to provide a Gender Equality Statement. This statement must outline how applicants have taken meaningful yet proportionate consideration as to how the project will contribute to reducing gender inequalities, as required under the 2014 International Development (Gender Equality) Act. Applicants should refer to the guidance for applicants’ document for information about demonstrating gender equality compliance.

Project scale and duration

Up to £600,000 is available in total, subject to the quality of proposals received, with the aim of supporting between 6 and 10 projects. Applications can be up to £100,000 per project.

Funds may be requested for up to 12 months. All projects must be completed by 31 March 2021.


Applications will be rejected before peer review for proposals which:

  • are not predominantly within BBSRC’s remit
  • are outside the scope of the call
  • do not demonstrate ODA compliance
  • request funding for ineligible individuals or organisations.


The call is open only to current or past BBSRC grant-holders based at organisations normally eligible to apply to the UK research councils for research grants, see: UK Research and Innovation: Eligibility for funding.

Applications must be led by an eligible Principal Investigator (PI) in the UK.

UK Interchangers must be employed by the same eligible UK institution as the UK applicant(s) and be on a permanent or fixed term contract which extends beyond the duration of the project, and have a PhD or equivalent level of professional experience. Interchangers may be from an academic, technical or professional services background.

Overseas Interchangers will be from a named user organisation from a country on the DAC list. Overseas Interchangers will have significant professional experience from outside of academia in order to provide insight and expertise which compliments that of the UK academic partner.

As well as UK researchers normally eligible for BBSRC funding, applications to this call must include at least one user organisation from a country on the DAC list as a project partner.

Full details of eligibility and how to apply are provided in the Guidance for Applicants.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the Je-S system by 11 September 2019, 16:00 GMT.

A single application should be submitted by the research organisation of the UK PI on behalf of all participating organisations.

Full details of the submission process and documentation required are provided in the Guidance for Applicants.

Application downloads


Call opens in Je-S Tuesday 9 July 2019
Call closes Wednesday 11 September 2019, 16:00 (UK local time)
Assessment panel December 2019
Announcement of awards January 2020
Earliest project start date 1 April 2020


Cameron Fenwick and Alexandra Winn

Related calls: GCRF innovation knowledge exchange