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People and Talent Strategy Advisory Panel (PAT SAP) Researcher Subgroup

BBSRC recognises the need to support researchers in academia, industry or elsewhere to maximise an individual’s research effectiveness and potential. 

The People and Talent Strategy Advisory Panel (PAT SAP) has a Researcher Subgroup that focus on issues related to researcher careers and development and contribute to the development and implementation of BBSRC strategic programmes for researchers. This Subgroup maintains a close relationship with PAT SAP to ensure a two-way conversation, ensuring consistency amongst discussions and that a researcher perspective is given to PAT SAP. 

Please note. For the purpose of the PAT SAP Subgroup, BBSRC define researchers as “individuals whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and who are employed specifically for this purpose by a higher education institution or research institute. Within this group, it is recognised that these staff often have different contract types, levels of training, experience and responsibility, as well as different career expectations and intentions. Disciplinary and institutional context can also mean a broad range of job titles fall within this definition.” [1, 2]

This definition includes the following people:  

  • Postdoctoral researchers at any time during their postdoctoral careers as there is no requirement on the number of postdoctoral positions held/or not, both from academia and industry; 
  • Researchers post-PhD and therefore excluding PhD students and postgraduate masters research students in both academia and industry; 
  • Fellows such as BBSRC Discovery Fellows or equivalent in the early stages of developing independence in a lab/group;  
  • Individuals who are in the first years of their career after their PhD who are employed mainly/solely to conduct research whether that be in academia, industry, policy, enterprise, business or innovation sectors. 

BBSRC recognises that career paths vary, but for the purpose of this Subgroup, BBSRC does not include the following under the definition of ‘researcher’:  

  • David Phillips Fellows or UKRI Future Leader Fellows; 
  • Individuals who have established an independent group or lab; 
  • Individuals employed in a position where managerial responsibilities are the primary responsibility of their employment rather than research.   

The Subgroup provides advice on a range of issues relating to researcher careers, training, and development. The objectives of the Subgroup are set out in the below Terms of Reference. 


1.   To work closely with PAT SAP to contribute a researcher perspective on a wide range of issues related to bioscience skills and careers including: 
i.    The skills pipeline: ensuring an appropriate flow of talented people into bioscience training to benefit research communities and the wider economy; 
ii.    Equality, diversity and inclusion, recognising and addressing the need for widening access and opportunity to research and industrial early career opportunities; 
iii.    Researcher mobility, including collaboration, interdisciplinary working, and movement between sectors; 
iv.    Research culture and the implementation of the Concordat for the Development of Researchers. 
2.    To provide advice on issues that are specific to researchers, including how BBSRC can: 
i.    Support the effective career planning of researchers, 
ii.    Aid researchers in the transition to independence. 
3.    Support researchers in accessing the training and development opportunities they need 
i.    Best engage with the researcher community in a fair and equitable way. 
4.    To seek input from the community and provide advice on the current and emerging skills needs of researchers 
i.    To consider and advise on the impact of BBSRC policies and activities on researchers. 

How the Subgroup Works 

  • The group will meet four times per year. 
    o In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings will continue to take place virtually for the foreseeable future. 
  • One meeting per year will be aligned with a PAT SAP meeting, to ensure crosstalk between the two groups. 
  • Members of the Subgroup will attend and present to the PAT SAP group when appropriate. 


The Subgroup aims to have approximately 10, and will consist of: 

  • Chair  
  • Deputy Chair  
  • Researchers based in academia 
  • BBSRC Discovery Fellows 
  • Researchers with experience of industry and/or currently based in industry 
  • Researchers who have experience in academia, as well as in policy, business, enterprise or innovation sectors.

Members based in academia should be working on one or more of the below: 

  •  A BBSRC-funded grant; 
  • Working at or in collaboration with a BBSRC-funded strategic institute; 
  • Undertaking research within the BBSRC Portfolio remit at the time of application to the Subgroup (please see Our portfolio - BBSRC ( to search BBSRC Portfolio or contact, for clarification around Remit areas.) 

BBSRC Discovery Fellows will be expected to gather input from other fellows to feed into conversations at the Researcher Subgroup meeting. Past BBSRC Fellows are invited to apply however we do encourage current fellows to be involved in this opportunity.  

Members in industry should be working for a company with which BBSRC has an established relationship or a company with intent to develop a collaborative partnership with BBSRC, and/or as an individual were supported by BBSRC during their PhD.  

Members that have moved out of the traditional academic career route into policy/enterprise/business or innovation should have experience of working on a BBSRCremit related project either during their PhD, postdoctoral researcher position or on a BBSRC-funded grant at their institution. This can include, for example, working in a 
Technology Transfer Office at a university or at an Innovation Centre which may have applied for funding from BBSRC.  

All members should have experience of employment, working at or with, or having been funded by BBSRC or a Research Council including Innovate UK and Research England. 
We will ensure equality and diversity in the group including diversity of individuals through career, demography and location alongside diversity of thought. We aim to have a representative group of the biological sciences sector and aim to work proactively to ensure representation and inclusivity of opportunity.  

Current members 

  • Karen Liu, Chair - King's College London 
  • James Allen - University College London 
  • Tegan Darch - Rothamsted Research 
  • Sarah Lee - University of Birmingham 
  • Charlotte Brassey - Manchester Metropolitan University 
  • Matt Bawn - The Earlham Institute 

Across the Subgroup as a whole, the following experiences are included: 

  • Working as a BBSRC-funded researcher in an academic environment; 
  • Working in an industrial environment; 
  • Working in a business/enterprise/policy or innovation environment; 
  • Supporting the professional development of PhD students and wider researchers including early career, fellows and postdoctoral researchers; 
  • Communicating the impact of research; 
  • Engaging with both researchers and the wider scientific community (e.g. policy makers, funders, science communicators, those supporting innovation etc); 
  • Researching scientific topics across the breadth of BBSRC Portfolio remit. 

Recruitment Opportunity 

There are a number of vacancies and opportunities open to join the PAT SAP Researcher Subgroup. Please note that there are up to nine vacancies available (four vacancies will replace outgoing members towards the end of 2021, and up to five additional members). 

Are you interested in:

  • helping shape BBSRC strategy for Researchers
  • influencing future funding calls
  • being a voice for the needs of the BBSRC Researcher community
  • building experience for your own career development
  • being an ambassador for BBSRC amongst your organisation and colleagues.

If so, and you meet the eligibility criteria outlined under the Membership section above, the PAT SAP Researcher Subgroup is the opportunity for you. Please carefully read the PAT SAP Subgroup - call for members (PDF, 125KB) and complete the application form (PDF, 158KB) and send back to by 5th April 2021, 16:00. To request a paper copy of the form, or for any other questions, please contact