BBSRC Neuroscience – Deadline: 24 Jan 2020

2020 BBSRC Neuro applic form

Professional Internship opportunity: developing a BBSRC narrative for neuroscience and behaviour

Within BBSRC’s Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health (BIUH) sector, there is an exciting opportunity for a Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) placement to input into the development of BBSRC’s research strategy for neuroscience and behaviour. This interesting and challenging internship will provide an intern with insight into strategy development by the UK’s leading bioscience research funder.

Background to BIUH

The BIUH sector covers a diverse range of scientific disciplines, including healthy ageing, diet and health, regenerative biology, immunology and neuroscience. In 2017/18 BBSRC’s research funding in this sector totalled £56M. Both fundamental neuroscience and neuroscience underpinning health are within BBSRC’s remit in this portfolio.  BBSRC’s annual neuroscience and behaviour research spend is approximately £30M.

Scientific areas covered within this portfolio, include (but are not limited to): fundamental neuroscience research, pain, cognition, mental health, sleep, behaviour, tools and technology development, satiety, stress, degeneration and neuro musculoskeletal systems. They would like to identify their unique offering in this space, and communicate this clearly with Government, academia, industry and the public; which is where this internship is timely.

Background to Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health

Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health is one of three key strategic research priorities set out in BBSRC’s Strategic Plan ( ). The scope of the priority takes in bioscience and enabling biotechnology that informs, and delivers research impact from, a better understanding of healthy human systems, and exploiting the value of comparative biology and ‘one health’ approaches for the improved health and welfare of both humans and animals.
In April 2015, BBSRC launched the Bioscience for Health Strategic Framework 2015 – 2020 ( ), outlining BBSRC’s priorities and goals for the next 5 years in this important area.

Background to Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health strategy development at BBSRC

BBSRC funds a large body of world class science directly aligned to Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health of ~£56M per annum, which is built on a foundation of ~£126M investment in underpinning world class bioscience. This body of research is a unique portfolio providing a crucial contribution to UK’s health research landscape. BBSRC funds research into healthy human systems and both animal health and disease. Research focussed on human diseases falls outside of BBSRC’s scientific remit, but working with other funders, we seek to maximise the value of shared research objectives and knowledge between studies of human health and animal health and disease, through comparative ‘one biology’ approaches, and a ‘one health’ approach to zoonosis research.

Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health research investment is specifically supported through Responsive Mode priority areas in:

• Animal health of livestock species, underpinning future ‘One Health’ approaches
• Food, nutrition and health, launched in May 2014, to build on existing strength in understanding the fundamental mechanisms by which food influences long-term health
• Healthy ageing across the lifecourse, with particular strength in the comparative, systems and cell biology of fundamental mechanisms of ageing, from development to old age
• the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction (3Rs) in research using animals
• Welfare of managed animals

The BBSRC Health Portfolio Review identified particular and unique research strengths in further areas that underpin Bioscience for Health, including other research portfolios and activities such as neuroscience and immunology.

Role of the PIPS intern

We are looking for a PIPS intern to join BBSRC’s BIUH team, where they will work to support the development of forward strategy for potential future neuroscience and behaviour investment, as well as providing evidence to showcase the impact of BBSRC’s existing neuroscience and behaviour portfolio. This is a varied and interesting role. The intern will gain experience of BBSRC and wider UKRI strategy and policy development, as well as an understanding of the research funding landscape in this area. They will:

– Work closely with an external neuroscience and behaviour expert working group and secretariat, to gain an understanding of the wider funding landscape, identifying strengths, gaps and opportunities for BBSRC communities
– Work with the BIUH team and wider organisation to develop a BBSRC narrative for neuroscience and behaviour, particularly with relevance to areas such as the gut-brain axis, cognitive computational neuroscience, mental health and/or artificial intelligence
– Produce case studies for publication for a range of audiences (including the general public, government, researchers) demonstrating the impact of BBSRC neuroscience and behaviour activities
– Carry out analysis of BBSRC’s neuroscience and behaviour portfolio of investments to inform future strategy development
– Input into the development of forward strategy.

The PIPS intern should have enthusiasm for science, in particular fundamental research and biotechnologies, as well as good organisational, communication, and interpersonal skills. This placement will also be an excellent professional development opportunity as well as a chance to learn about other activities of BBSRC and UKRI.

Experience gained on the project:

• Opportunity to provide thought leadership in an emerging area of research and innovation
• Synthesizing information to inform different audiences, including senior members of UKRI-BBSRC, academics, industry and policymakers.
• Presenting work to senior academics, members of industry, and policymakers at Strategy Panel or Expert Working Group meetings (dependent upon timing).
• Experience of cross team and organisation working work the Capability and Innovation Domain and the Strategy and Programmes Group within UKRI-BBSRC.
• Opportunity to develop forward strategy for Bioscience for an Integrated Understanding of Health
• Experience of liaising with external stakeholders and grant holders.
• Further develop planning and project management skills, in order to meet deadlines.


Questions on this placement can be directed to Iain Templeman email:

How to apply

If you would like to apply for this PIPS placement, then please complete the attached application form and return it to by 24th January 2020.

You should be available to start your placement in Spring/Summer 2020.