BBSRC alternative proteins – Deadline: 12 Aug 2019

Advert for UKRI-BBSRC PIPS intern – Alternative Protein Sources in the Food System

1. Summary 

UKRI-BBSRC is recruiting for an enthusiastic and capable PIPS intern to lead a project on ‘alternative protein sources in the food system’. The successful applicant will gain experience on how research strategy and policy is developed and implemented, whilst developing transferable skills that can be used in their research, including synthesizing key information to inform different audiences, providing thought leadership in an interesting and emerging area, and presenting findings to senior members of UKRI-BBSRC, academia, industry, and policymakers.

2. Role of the PIPS Intern

The purpose of this proposed project is to understand future requirements for protein consumption and the opportunities for research and innovation to meet these requirements. Evidence will be collected through portfolio analysis, scoping relevant literature, and stakeholder engagement with industry, policymakers, and members of academia.

The process by which the project is conducted will be developed by the PIPs intern, with guidance and support from Senior Managers within the Capability and Innovation Doman, and the Research Strategy and Programmes in UKRI-BBSRC.

Outcomes of the project will be disseminated to Senior Leaders within UKRI-BBSRC and the Global Food Security programme, and will help to inform future BBSRC research strategy, shaping priorities in our three strategic priority areas: Sustainable agriculture and food, Renewable resources and clean growth, and An integrated understanding of health.

3. 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 meetings.
    • Experience of cross team and organisation working work the Capability and Innovation Domain and the Strategy and Programmes Group within UKRI-BBSRC.
    • Experience of liaising with external stakeholders and grant holders
    • Further develop planning and project management skills, in order to meet deadlines

4. Background to the project

Food and drink contributes £31.1bn to the economy, and is the single largest manufacturing sector, larger than automotive and aerospace combined. The industry is of strategic importance in enabling the United Kingdom to meet the challenges of providing a nutritious, safe and sustainable supply of food to a growing and ageing population in a world with increasing scarcity of resources.

The sector is intensely competitive and, apart from a small number of large companies, it is dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating on low margins.

In the context of an increasing world population, with an increasing demand for dietary protein further driven by the growth of the global middle class, maintaining global food security may require novel sources of dietary protein. Alternative proteins (protein sources that can act as substitutes for animal and aquaculture feed, and for traditional animal-based food) have garnered greater attention in recent years, with the formation of start-ups that are growing agricultural products directly from cell cultures, and SMEs using methanogenic organisms to create new sources of protein.

BBSRC released its Strategic Framework for Research in Agriculture and Food Security in 2017. The framework encourages strategically relevant research that will enhance UK and global food security by providing knowledge and evidence to farmers, food producers and manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Step changes in biological understanding of crops and farmed animals, and new disruptive technologies, will help address the agri-food challenges globally, whilst benefiting the UK economy by opening up new markets for exports.

It is unclear how this alternative proteins sector will develop in the next 5 to 10 years, and therefore BBSRC wishes to undertake horizon-scanning to predict the research and innovation needs associated with protein sources, and build on initial findings from the PIPs intern.

5. Application process

If you are interested in applying for the PIPS placement, please complete the attached application form and return it to by 23:59 on Monday 12th August 2019.

Download Application Form Here

BBSRC will host Skype interviews on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th August 2019.

Applicants should be available to commence the placement from Monday 2nd September 2019, although UKRI-BBSRC can provide a degree of flexibility in regards to the starting date. The PIPs placement will be for a duration of 3 months.

6. Key contacts in UKRI-BBSRC:  Dave O’Gorman – Senior Innovation Manager, Business Interaction Unit, Capability and Innovation Domain (

Andrew Hellewell – Strategy and Policy Manager – Agriculture and Food Security, Research Strategy and Programmes (