Memorandum submitted by the Biotechnology
and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BBSRC currently offers three Fellowship Schemes
to enable scientists to devote their time to independent research
BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships:
for scientists who have demonstrated high potential during their
research training and initial years of postdoctoral research;
BBSRC Research Development Fellowships:
for younger members of university teaching staff who wish to devote
themselves to full-time research;
BBSRC Professorial Fellowships: a
small number of prestigious fellowships for outstanding scientists
at the height of their research career.
2. ISSUES RAISED
(a) an analysis of the cost efficiency of the programmes,
indicating whether your accounts isolate administrative costs
associated with these schemes
Current position on Fellowship awards is set
|Scheme||No of Current|
Expenditure (£K pa)
*Following a Council review in 1999 of BBSRC's Fellowship
schemes the Advanced Fellowship Scheme was discontinued. Existing
awards will run to completion with the last Advanced Fellowship
ending in January 2005.
Administrative costs are not easily obtained. They are not
isolated within the accounts system and the administration of
the schemes are split between two sections of the BBSRC Office
with input from other sections at various levels. These figures
could only be established at disproportionate cost.
It is worth noting, however, that BBSRC's administration
costs at £7 million p.a. represent 3 per cent of BBSRC's
net science budget, and that BBSRC is one of the most efficient
A key performance indicator produced by BBSRC is the mean
annual cost of processing a project research grant application.
This currently stands at £380 per annum, the annual cost
of administering a research grant when awarded being £56
per annum. The corresponding cost of administering a fellowship
is not recorded, but will be greater due to the additional costs
of interviewing candidates and monitoring progress.
(b) a comparison of the characteristics of your schemes,
for example career breaks and mentoring
For purposes of comparison, the various features of the three
BBSRC fellowship schemes are set out below:
(i) BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship
Up to 10 David Phillips Fellowships are available each year
tenable at UK universities and BBSRC sponsored institutes.
Applicants must be postdoctoral scientists engaged in non-permanent
research posts with no more than five and a half years active
postdoctoral research experience at 1 October in the year in which
they submit an application.
Applications are also considered from candidates who meet
the above criterion but who are also:
currently employed in industry. Proposals are
handled with maximum flexibility, and arrangements for joint funding
by the current employer and the Council are possible;
temporarily residing overseas who intend to use
the fellowship as a means of re-establishing themselves in this
wishing to use a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship
to re-establish themselves after a career break or other period
of absence from active research;
in non-permanent posts seeking a flexible working
arrangement (eg part-time). With such awards, the time devoted
to the research must be equivalent to at least 50 per cent of
a normal full-time working week. The value of an award under flexible
working arrangements would be on a pro rata basis.
BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships are normally awarded for
a period of up to five years, subject to satisfactory progress.
The fellow's starting salary will be awarded at spine point
13 of the academic RAII pay scale (currently £26,491). The
funds awarded include provision for future salary increases, and
an annual revaluation based on Government's revaluation indices.
BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships provide a support grant,
up to a maximum value of £200,000 over the five-year period
of the fellowship, to defray the costs of the research that is
to be undertaken including technical support, equipment, consumables
In addition to the support grant, BBSRC David Phillips Fellows
are eligible to apply, through their employing institution, for
research grants from BBSRC or other grant-awarding organisations.
David Phillips Fellows may be supervisors on BBSRC studentships.
However, in doing so the fellow must be in a position to provide
supervision of the student for the full duration of the award.
David Phillips Fellows may undertake up to an average of
six hours' teaching per week (inclusive of all preparatory work
and related examination duties) during university terms, provided
this does not hinder the progress of the fellowship research programme.
Apart from this, and normal holidays, fellows must devote the
whole of their usual working time to research. No other work may
be undertaken during normal working hours, including consultancy
and commercial work.
David Phillips Fellows are required to attend a half-day
induction course arranged by BBSRC prior to, or at the start of,
Special arrangements apply if a BBSRC Fellow wishes to continue
the award during pregnancy, and sympathetic consideration is given
to the wishes of the Fellow. In addition Fellows may be take up
to four weeks paid paternity leave.
Other considerations include:
medical insurance for overseas travel.
Terms of Fellowship Agreement.
When submitting an application for a BBSRC David Phillips
Fellowship, both the applicant and the proposed host institution
are required to give undertakings that they are prepared to abide
by the provisions of a Terms of Fellowship agreement, in addition
to the regulations, terms and conditions of the scheme.
BBSRC's commitments to holders of David Phillips Fellowships,
the obligations of fellows, and the Council's expectations of
the institutions which undertake to employ them during the tenure
of the fellowship, are defined in the Terms of Fellowship agreement
a copy of which is available on the BBSRC Website. The agreement
sets out the respective responsibilities of the Council, its fellows
and their institutions, and is intended to clarify the relationships
between them. It is based on the premise that in scientific matters
a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow will be treated by the institution
in the same way as its established academic staff.
Full details are at Annex 1.
BBSRC David Phillip's Fellows are assigned to a BBSRC mentora
designated member of the Council's Committee on Studentships and
(i) provide an individual point of contact with the Committee,
and an additional source of general professional and personal
guidance outside the Fellow's host institution; and
(ii) keep a watching brief on the Fellow's research programme
and report to the CSF to inform its monitoring of his or her progress
(but not participate in forming or communicating any judgements,
recommendations or decisions relating to the Fellow made as part
of the Committee's formal assessment and feedback process.
(ii) BBSRC Research Development Fellowships
Up to six Research Development Fellowships are available
each year tenable at UK universities.
Applicants must be full-time established members of the academic
staff of a UK university who have worked for a minimum of five
years as at 1 October in the year in which they submit an application
in their current or a similar post. Previous UK and overseas appointments
will be taken into account, but applicants must have held an eligible
appointment at their current UK institution for a period of at
least one year at 1 October in the year in which they submit an
BBSRC Research Development Fellowships are normally awarded
for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress.
In exceptional circumstances, they may be extended for a period
of up to two further years.
For the duration of the fellowship, BBSRC provides a grant
of £30,000 per annum to the university which employs the
fellow. Additionally the cash limited funds will include an annual
revaluation on Government revaluation indices.
No research support grant is provided.
During the period of the fellowship, Research Development
Fellows are expected to be relieved by their Department of all
significant teaching and administrative duties. They may undertake
up to three hours teaching and/or administration a week, provided
that this does not hinder progress on research work. Apart from
this and standard holidays, they are expected to devote their
whole time to research, and no other work may be undertaken within
normal working hours including consultancy and commercial work.
(iii) BBSRC Professorial Fellowships
Up to two Professorial Fellowships are available each year
tenable at UK universities.
Applicants must have an established/permanent appointment
in a UK university of industrial research organisation and must
already be recognised as outstanding scientists at the international
BBSRC Professorial Fellowships are awarded for periods of
up to five years, subject to satisfactory progress.
The fellow's salary is determined by the host institution.
For the duration of the fellowship BBSRC will provide to the university
which employs the fellow a grant of £55,000 per annum as
a contribution towards the fellow's total salary costs. Additionally,
the cash limited funds awarded will include an annual revaluation
based on Government revaluation indices.
As part of the application for a Professorial Fellowship,
the applicant may also apply for a grant, up to a maximum of £200,000
over the five-year period of the fellowship, to meet the costs
of their research programme, including technical support, equipment,
consumables and travel.
BBSRC Professorial Fellows are expected to be exempted by
their institutions from significant teaching and related major
administrative, consultancy and commercial commitments.
Arrangements for maternity and paternity leave, costs of
caring, removal expenses, holidays, sick leave and medical insurance
for overseas travel parallel those of the David Phillips scheme.
All BBSRC Fellows are required to submit annual reports on
the progress of their research under the fellowships.
Progress reports are assessed by the Committee on Studentships
and Fellowships and feedback given.
At the mid-point of their fellowship, David Phillips Fellows
are required to personally present their work to members of CSF.
They are questioned about their work and progress, and oral feedback
given at the time, followed by written confirmation of the Committee's
All BBSRC Fellows are required to attend a biennial BBSRC
Fellows Conference. It provides fellows with the opportunity of
meeting other BBSRC Fellows as well as members of CSF, other members
of BBSRC's Boards and Committees and senior members of BBSRC.
(c) an explanation of how schemes deal with applications
for interdisciplinary research
Applications for BBSRC fellowships are considered by BBSRC's
Committee on Studentships and Fellowships. Membership of the Committee
is drawn from BBSRC's academic and industrial community against
guidelines of expertise as set out in Annex 2. In its assessment
of fellowship applications, the first requirement is that the
quality of the applicant is of a suitably high level expected
for a BBSRC fellowship. As with research grant applications, fellowship
proposals are sent to appropriate external referees for an assessment
of the science programme.
3. OTHER FELLOWSHIP
Royal Society Industry Fellowships
BBSRC is a partner in the Royal Society Industry Fellowships
Scheme. This scheme, aimed at enhancing communications between
industry, universities or equivalent and BBSRC-sponsored institutes
in the UK, provides opportunities for post-doctoral employees
in either sector to spend a period in the other sector:
academic scientist or engineers would work in
an industrial environment and undertake a project;
industrial scientists or engineers would undertake
research or course development at a university.
Daphne Jackson Memorial Fellowships
These are two-year awards, designed to facilitate the return
to research of able engineers and scientists who have taken a
break for family or other reasons. The Fellowship Trust acts as
a link, selecting fellows and matching them with universities
and research institutes where they can update their skills and
carry out a research or development project.