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BBSRC-NRF Newton-Utafiti fund call in enhancing ruminant livestock productivity

Call status: Closed
Previous call: 5 February 2018 - 10 April 2018


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the UK and the National Research Fund (NRF) in Kenya are pleased to announce a joint call for collaborative research under the Newton-Utafiti Fund programme. This call will focus on tackling challenges relevant to ruminant livestock production in Kenya.


The call will support short term projects of up to 12 months in duration starting on 1 October 2018, awarded to a maximum of £100,000 (80% FEC) in the UK and up to £50,000 (KES 6,903,288.54) in Kenya. BBSRC and NRF are looking to support three to four projects to establish new, or build on existing collaborations and envisage a balanced partnership in terms of research effort.

The funds for successful projects must be spent between October 2018 and September 2019.

It is envisaged that further BBSRC-NRF joint calls under the Newton-Utafiti Fund will in future years be run following a similar timeline and funding model to this call, but focussing on a different scientific topic relevant to enhancing food security in Kenya.

Scientific scope

This programme is focussed on improving farmed animal health and production in ruminants and managed camelids of relevance to Kenya.

Proposals should investigate one or more of the following priority areas:

Animal physiology and nutrition

  • Investigating the bioavailability of key nutrients in animal feed and feed conversion efficiency
  • Understanding how nutrition improves resilience to disease and reduction of disease risk, including the effect of the microbiome
  • Investigating challenges to livestock fertility, reproduction, including conditions which affect these
  • Understanding how animals in arid and semi-arid environments are able to adapt to climatic challenges

Vector borne animal disease and epidemiology

  • Understanding pest/ disease pathogenesis in ruminants and camelids, including vector-borne disease
  • Understanding the genetic basis of host resistance in ruminants and camelids
  • Understanding transmission mechanisms between host species including transmission dynamics and biological factors affecting transmission

Your application needs to build on existing partnerships, ideally enhancing past RCUK or NRF investments.

Applications should also clearly indicate how the research outcomes will contribute towards one (or more) of the current areas of focus of the Government of Kenya (food security, universal health care, or manufacturing and agro-processing).

While they cannot receive funding, we would like to encourage the involvement of international research institutes based in Kenya (that is The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)) and / or industry partners, (for example farming, breeding and the agricultural supply industry) where appropriate.

Research topics that are excluded from this call are as follows:

  • Pigs, poultry and aquaculture species are excluded from the scope for this call.
  • Wild animal species, including species hunted for food are also not in scope.
  • Viral diseases
  • Vaccine development including basic research involved in antigen identification, candidate antigen immunogenicity studies, vaccine formulation/manufacturing, vaccine delivery methods and field trials.
  • Data collection, surveillance and sampling projects without significant research underpinning a biological hypothesis
  • Breeding for non-climatic production traits, and yield increases
  • Pathogen-focused studies without the appropriate host-pathogen research
  • Sequencing-based projects not driven by significant research underpinning a biological hypothesis
  • Forage and feed crop focused research, unless there are the appropriate animal studies to measure the effects of forage/feed on animal health and disease reduction
  • Anti-microbial resistance both how it arises, and mechanisms of resistance and transmission of resistance genes within the host or on-farm, including the development of AMR in the gut and the development of novel anti-microbials
  • Wild animals as disease reservoirs, of farmed animal diseases
  • Zoonoses which only significantly affect the human host.
  • Animal models of human health and nutrition


Collaborative applications are invited from UK and Kenya-based researchers eligible to receive funding as Principal Investigator from BBSRC and NRF respectively. For this Newton Fund call, BBSRC will support the project costs for successful UK applicants, whilst NRF will support the project costs for successful Kenya-based applicants.

UK applicants - All UK applicants must be eligible to receive research funding from BBSRC as Principal/Co-Investigator; see the BBSRC Grants Guide for further details.

NRF applicants - Institutions of higher learning and Kenyan National Research organizations are eligible to apply. Researchers eligible for NRF funding must refer to the NRF Research Funding Guidelines and Criteria Manual.

Additional eligibility criteria apply to this call for Kenyan applicants:

  • Principal Investigators who are beneficiaries of the NRF-British Council Institutional Link projects funded under the second call of the Newton-Utafiti Fund programme are not eligible to lead an application to this call as PI, but are eligible to apply as a Co-Investigator.

Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that they, and any Co-Investigators included on the application, are eligible. Applications involving any ineligible applicants (UK or Kenya) will result in the whole application being rejected without consultation.

Examples of eligible activities and costs

Please note that BBSRC and NRF are able to consider different eligible costs within the pump-priming proposals:

UK applicants (to be funded by BBSRC - please refer to the BBSRC Grants Guide for specific guidelines on costs)

  • Staff time and consumables
  • Travel and subsistence costs to enable consortia to participate in workshops
  • Exchange visits (short and longer term and in both countries)
  • Access to facilities
  • Estates and Indirects

The maximum grant value that UK researchers can apply for is £125,000 (£100,000 when awarded at 80% FEC). The purchase of capital (items over £10,000) are not permitted by UK applicants through the Newton Fund.

Kenyan applicants (to be funded by NRF)

  • Travel and subsistence costs to enable consortia to participate in one local international conference or project partner workshop
  • One air ticket and subsistence allowance for up to 1 month exchange visits ( to access new technologies that do not exist locally - this should be indicated clearly in the proposal)
  • Direct research costs (consumables, services, low cost equipment that does not already exist within the institution).

Note: NRF does not support salary costs or overheads.

The maximum grant value that Kenyan researchers can apply for is £50,000 (KES 6,903,288.54).

It is not necessary to request an equal amount of money in the UK and Kenya, but joint proposals must demonstrate a balanced partnership in terms of research effort.

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Application process

Kenyan-UK research teams must prepare a single, joint research proposal. Although all proposals will involve a UK PI and a Kenyan PI, it is the UK PI that must submit the proposal to BBSRC (using the Je-S system) as BBSRC are leading the peer review process for this call. Please note, all documents submitted to BBSRC will be shared with NRF to facilitate peer review.

Applications may involve researchers from multiple eligible UK institutions, but should be submitted as a single Je-S application submitted by the organisation of the lead UK Principal Investigator. If successful, the lead organisation would be the recipient of the UK component of the award, and would be responsible for managing and distributing funds to other participating UK institutions in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. Funding for the Kenyan component of the collaboration will be paid by NRF to the Kenyan partner institution(s).


A single Je-S application (proforma) should be submitted per project using Full Economic Costing (fEC) for UK institutions only. Costs for the Kenyan component of the application should not be submitted in the Resources section of the Je-S application.

Costs requested from NRF by the Kenyan applicants should be detailed on the NRF budget template (the ‘Non UK Component’ attachment – see downloads section of call web page).

Both the UK and Kenyan costs and the justification for them must be described in the Justification of Resources document.

Assessment criteria

ODA compliance will be determined on receipt of the application; non-compliance will result in the application being rejected. If you are unsure about whether your project is likely to be ODA compliant, please contact BBSRC ( in advance of submitting your application.

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Scientific excellence: novelty, importance, feasibility and timeliness of the proposed research;
  • The relevance of past RCUK/NRF-funded research to this proposal/ partnership
  • Relevant expertise and track record of research teams;
  • Potential  impact of the research on ruminant livestock production in Kenya and the focus areas of the Government of Kenya;
  • Research collaboration: including strength and clarity of collaboration, and added value of the collaboration;
  • Quality of the management structure proposed (including governance, arrangements for data management and sharing and management of intellectual property);
  • Quality and suitability of the research environments and of the facilities available;
  • Value for money.

The final funding decision will be made jointly between BBSRC and NRF. Please note that, in order to achieve a balanced portfolio, the Panel will be asked to consider the scientific spread of the applications across the research priorities outlined in the call scientific scope above.

The Newton Fund

This call forms part of BBSRC’s Newton Fund activities and therefore requires projects to address Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) objectives alongside their scientific aims.

The Newton Fund was set up by UK Government in 2014 to build research and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. The total budgeted UK investment for the Newton Fund is £735M from 2014 to 2021, and partner countries provide matched resources within the Fund.

The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee list. Newton Fund countries represent a sub-set of this list.

Please see "Guidance for applicants" for complete application instructions.


Stage Date
Pump-priming call opens 5 February 2018
Pump-priming call closes 10 April 2018, 16:00
Funding decisions announced September 2018
Pump priming projects (6-12 months) begin Late 2018


For NRF enquiries:


Related calls: agriculture animal health animal welfare collaboration genetics livestock Newton Fund nutrition partnerships