Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Changes afoot at the BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has announced changes to the way its peer review committees are organised, the way new research and policy priorities are highlighted and a reorganisation of funding structures for its five sponsored Institutes.

The changes are:

  • The creation of four new research committees from the existing seven

  • The setting up of a mixed economy of peer review membership, including core committee members and a pool of reviewers able to be called on flexibly for their specific expertise

  • New research and policy priorities that will overarch all of BBSRC’s activities. The policy priorities will help BBSRC researchers to consider the strategic relevance of their proposals when they make applications

  • A system of highlight notices that BBSRC will use to generate demand when it identifies the need for more applications in certain areas

  • Institute Strategic Programme Grants to replace Core Strategic Grants to the BBSRC-sponsored Institutes

BBSRC Chief Executive Doug Kell has said, "These changes are not about abandoning responsive mode or about forcing researchers to work in industry. It is a fallacy that responsive mode research is only for blue skies or fundamental science. The criteria for peer review will not change. BBSRC will always fund excellent science. What we want the new system to do is to encourage our research community to think about the strategic focus of their applications and then ensure that when we fund excellent science we are able to capture the impact of the outcomes."

Read the BBSRC News Release in full.

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