BBSRC Launch Crowd-Sourcing for Biological Sciences Call

Concert Crowd Osheaga 2009 30000 waiting for Coldplay by Anirudh Koul CC BY-NC 2.0BBSRC have just launched a new call aimed at harnessing crowd-sourcing approaches to tackle large and complex scientific problems, which have relevance to one or more of their strategic priorities:

BBSRC: Crowd-sourcing for biological sciences

What are they looking for?

Successful proposals will involve a range of disciplinary approaches, including bioscience expertise, ICT, design and possibly management. Projects will establish the software (this could be built on existing platforms), organise and conduct crowd sourcing, generate high quality bioscience data and create new knowledge. Individual bids can be of any scale appropriate to the activity described, but are not expected to go beyond £1M over 3 years. Potential applicants should be aware that BBSRC have allocated £2M in total for funding bids to this call. The problems addressed must fit with the BBSRC strategic priorities which include:

  • Food security: including crop science, animal health and welfare, soil science, and healthy and safe food
  • Bioenergy: generating new replacement fuels for a greener, more sustainable future
  • Ageing: lifelong health and well-being
  • Global Uncertainties: specifically BBSRC seek research on the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and technologies
  • Living with Environmental Change: specifically agricultural productivity, insect pollinators, flowering time, soil biological processes and interactions, pests and diseases of crops and livestock

There are a number of cases which are excluded from this call, including projects supporting community annotation of an existing resource, continued support of an existing crowd-sourced project, and open competition approaches to crowd sourcing where a cash prize is offered to solve a particular problem. BBSRC encourage potential applicants to get in touch with them at an early stage. Contact details are provided on the call page.

How do I apply?

The call has a two-stage application process:

  1. Intentions to submit must be submitted to crowd.sourcing@bbsrc.ac.uk by 5 March 2013, 4 pm. The intention to submit form is a short form (no more than 2 pages) which summarises the applicants, partners, costs, an outline of the project and its strategic relevance to BBSRC. It will not form part of the assessment process but will allow BBSRC to monitor demands on funds, overlapping applications and fit to strategic priorities. Feedback will be given on these issues where appropriate in advance of the full application deadline.
  2. Full applications must be submitted using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 9 April 2013, 4 pm. Note that full stage applications will be assessed by a “fast-track” panel of experts covering the domains of biosciences, IT, design and societal aspects of the call.

Detailed guidance on bids as well as a copy of the intention to submit form are both available from the BBSRC. Please get in touch with RBS at an early stage if you intend to apply.

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