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Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills (STARS)

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Call status: Closed
Previous call: 3 June 2016 – 4 October 2016


Our STARS programme aims to support the development of strategically important and vulnerable research skills and capabilities in the biosciences. Awards are available to develop postgraduate-level training in areas of significant need for clearly defined academic and industrial sectors.

Reasons for such additional support include, but are not restricted to:

  • A lack of training and/or capability in specific areas, or a need to up-skill individuals within a specific area
  • An identified need to attract researchers into the area
  • A need to build capacity in a new or emerging research area
  • A need to transfer technical and commercially relevant skills to/from industry

Delivery of training may be achieved by one or more of the following methods:

  1. Research Experience Placements
    • Summer research placements for undergraduate students in the middle years of their studies, to attract them into further research in a strategically important or vulnerable research area
  2. Skills schools in strategically important and vulnerable research areas, including:
    • Development of new skills schools
    • Expansion of existing institutional/regional activities for national reach
    • Expansion of existing activities for participation by BBSRC-funded researchers at any level (PhD, postdoctoral researcher, research fellow, research leader)
  3. Development and delivery of training resources through other mechanisms, such as development of e-learning modules or other online resources


A total of up to £250k is available per year to support training activities through the STARS programme. Applications may seek funding for up to £100k (at 100% fEC). It is envisaged that up to 30 awards will be supported per annum and there will be three calls per year. Details of awarded programmes are provided in the downloads section. Awards are flexible and may be used to support strategic and vulnerable skills for a short, discrete period or for up to three years of recurrent funding.

Current priorities

We welcome applications for support of any research capability within our remit, but particularly those highlighted in the Review of Vulnerable Skills and Capabilities, published in January 2015 (see downloads) and especially in relation to capabilities within the following areas:

  • Maths, statistics and computational biology
  • Physiology and pathology of plants, animals and microbes
  • Agriculture and food security

How to apply

This call is closed to applications.

Further information about the STARS programme and full details of how to apply and can be found in the information pack and Je-S help text.

Applications must be made through the Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) system. Please refer to the detailed 'Je-S help text' application download for help with the application form.

Applications must be submitted using the document templates available above. Failure to use the templates will result in the application being withdrawn.

Applications must be received by 4pm on the application deadline specified. Late applications will not be accepted.

Related calls: agriculture food industry microbes national capabilities plants skills and training