UKRI-BBSRC Agriculture & Food Security Impact Review of the ZELS Research Programme – Deadline: 26th Feb 2020

The anticipated start date for this placement is April 2020 and the closing date for applications is 26 February 2020.

Professional Internship to support BBSRC UKRI Agriculture & Food Security impact review of the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS) research programme
An opportunity exists for a Professional Internships for PhD Students (PIPS) placement within the Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) science strategy team of BBSRC UKRI, to compile evidence of economic and societal impact in the UK and overseas arising from the research council’s investment in the ZELS programme. This role will provide the intern with insight of strategy development at BBSRC and within government, and its implementation nationally and internationally in the field of basic biology underpinning agriculture and food.

Background to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at BBSRC

Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food is one of three key strategic research priorities set out in BBSRC’s strategic vision:
BBSRC’s AFS remit covers arable, horticultural, forage and non-food crops, farmed animals (livestock, poultry and aquaculture), agricultural systems including soil, and the related food chains. The Research in Agriculture and Food Security Strategic Framework ( outlines BBSRC’s priorities and goals in this area.

BBSRC is the UK’s largest public sector funder of AFS research and invested over £131 billion between 2016-17. It is essential BBSRC works to maximise the benefits from the research it invests in, to further support funding to the UK’s world-leading bioscience research base.

The ZELS programme ( supports research and training to reduce the impact of zoonoses on the poor and their livestock in developing countries. It further aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines and from around the globe, and to enhance the scientific capabilities of southern partners.
The programme is inter- and multi-disciplinary, and includes biological science, environmental science, mathematical sciences, public health and animal health sciences and the social sciences.

Launched in 2012, the first tranche of the initiative, worth £18.5M of research funding, was made up of 11 projects investigating emerging and endemic zoonotic diseases in developing countries.

In addition to the research projects, since 2015, a cohort of 16 students from the UK and developing countries received doctoral training in ZELS related research, to the value of £1.5M.

The programme is funded by BBSRC in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

In 2019, a further tranche of £2.6M funding was made available by DFID to take earlier or ongoing ZELS research to the stage of practical application to deliver benefit and impact in developing countries. Six projects have been awarded.

Role of the PIPS intern

A PIPS intern is sought to assist with the analysis and dissemination of impact generated by the ZELS programme. Taking the projects’ impact statements as a starting point, you will set up meetings with, and interview, senior representatives from each of the ZELS projects to draw together the spectrum of tangible benefits derived from the ZELS programme. Using the output of your analysis, you will work with the ZELS management team to develop an impact report showcasing the widespread impacts from ZELS investments, including research and innovation;
research capacity; policy making; human, animal and ecosystem heath; and socioeconomic development.

The role will be located in the AFS team of our Science Strategy Group and provides a unique opportunity to learn about the impacts of the science UKRI funds in partnership with Government Departments and how science strategy is developed and implemented across the UK and at the global scale.

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

How to apply

To apply for this PIPS placement, please complete the attached application form and return it to by 26 February 2020.

You should be available to start your placement in April 2020.

All applications should be sent to

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 26th February 2020



Questions about this placement can be directed to Amanda Read (