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In Vivo Skills Awards

In Vivo Skills Awards are no longer awarded through an annual competition. They are only available to our Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) who successfully applied for these funds.


We recognise the scientific and strategic importance of ensuring advanced in vivo skills are retained and enhanced within the UK research ecosystem. Understanding the financial implications of doctoral projects with significant in vivo skills requirement, we will continue to provide additional funding to our DTPs to support such projects in a timely manner which meets the needs of the student undertaking the project and the project itself.

We will work closely with DTPs and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) to ensure this additional investment is directed towards projects requiring advanced in vivo skills.

The In Vivo Skills Awards (formerly Strategic Skills Awards) provide top-up of Research Training Support Grants (RTSG) to support PhD level training in advanced in vivo skills.

What the awards cover

  • Additional funding to cover the costs of advanced integrative in vivo research skills in whole, living protected animals (as defined in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986) in BBSRC PhDs. Other species, such as insects, are not eligible for use of these funds
  • Funding is only available to supplement studentships funded by BBSRC through DTPs
  • Awards will provide additional funding towards the high costs of in vivo training and will not replace normal studentship funding being drawn from DTPs. Standard studentship costs (i.e. student stipend, fees, etc.) should be drawn from DTPs as normal
  • Funding is allocated as a block award to cover the duration of the current DTP awards (five annual student cohorts, starting in 2015/16)


BBSRC defines advanced in vivo skills as:

Research skills training where a major component of the work involves developing and applying sophisticated physiological, immunological, pharmacological, behavioural observation or experimentation in whole, living protected animals (as defined in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986) in order to understand normal and abnormal biological/psychological mechanisms.

Research projects must provide significant hands-on in vivo skills training, including (but not limited to):

  • surgical and pre-clinical skills
  • complex experiments
  • novel imaging technologies
  • other innovative techniques

Research training which is predominantly focused on the generation of transgenic lines; model systems lacking clear novelty; or the use of animals primarily as sources of DNA, cells, tissues or biological fluids, are not included.


Doctoral Training Partnerships