BBSRC Japan-UK Engineering Biology for Discovery Research and Cross-Cutting Technologies

Closing Date: 16/04/2024

Funding to support Japan-UK research projects focused on the fundamentals of engineering biology and cross-cutting technologies.

This call is launched jointly by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Based on the implementation principles of the ASPIRE program in Japan and the International Science Partnership Fund (ISPF) in the UK, it aims to support internationally competitive collaborative research projects between Japan and the UK focusing on the fundamentals of engineering biology and cross-cutting technologies, creating leading international researcher networks, and nurturing early career researchers to drive tomorrow’s engineering biology.

The themes of the call are:

  • Discovery-inspired projects: Novel and high-risk ideas primarily focused on the design and redesign of biological cells, organisms and systems (synthetic biology). Research themes include bioengineered cells and systems (including synthetic plants), bio-inspired design and novel materials.
  • Cross-cutting research and technologies: Projects in transformative areas underpinning research and technology development to unlock the full impact and benefit the engineering biology field as a whole. This would include but not be limited to areas of eg, rational design, sensors, scalability, metrology and standardisation. The development of computational approaches, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning that can revolutionise the design of engineering biology experiments would also be in scope even if no ‘wetlab’ engineering biology is conducted.

Eligible proposals may include:

  • Orthogonal biosystems: proposals in engineering cells and organisms to include systems or parts not found in nature to impart new capacities or chemistry are encouraged.
  • Regulatory circuits: proposals for designing and inserting well-characterised circuits or networks, to generate new functions or responses in cells and organisms, are encouraged.
  • Protocells: proposals in bottom-up chemical design approaches to produce synthetic or semi-synthetic cells and compartments are encouraged.
  • Metabolic engineering: proposals involving using complex modifications informed by predictive models of biosynthetic pathways to allow or enhance production of useful products are also encouraged.
  • Minimal genomes: proposals involving the understanding of the minimal number of parts (genes) needed for life, to serve as a chassis for engineering minimal cell factories for new functions, are encouraged.
  • Bio nanoscience: proposals for projects that utilise and exploit synthetic molecular nano machines based on cellular systems are also encouraged.
Funding body Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Maximum value £1,000,000
Reference ID S25958
Category Biotechnology and Biology
Fund or call Fund