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Funding Opportunities

Relevant funding opportunities for researchers in synthetic biology

Research Funding

BBSRC and EPSRC have both invested in synthetic biology. There are no specific active calls but they continue to fund through responsive mode grants. 


Translational Funding and Investment

Rainbow Seed Fund Logo

The Rainbow Seed Fund is a £24m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base, with a specific programme for Synthetic Biology.


Latest Funding Opportunities


Title Description
[Closes 6 April 2018] Hamied Foundation UK-India AMR Visiting Professorships The Academy of Medical Sciences is delighted to announce the inaugural call for applications to the Hamied Foundation UK-India Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Visiting Professorship Scheme. The scheme will support the travel and subsistence costs of UK researchers wishing to visit India to develop long-term collaborations in this highly-important and topical field of biomedical research.
[Closes 5 March 2018] 2018 CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowships The CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBioFSP) is pleased to announce the opening of the second round of CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellowships. The scheme aims to attract outstanding national and international early-career post-doctoral researchers (equivalent to Australian Academic Levels A and B, or in exceptional circumstances, Level C) to expand Australian research capacity in synthetic biology. A key element of the SynBio FSP is establishment of a collaborative community of practice extending across CSIRO and Australia more broadly, and linking into international efforts in the field. Research projects must demonstrate an ability to build Australian capacity in synthetic biology.
[Closes 28 March 2018] HFSP 2019 Research Grant HUMAN FRONTIER SCIENCE PROGRAM (HFSP) supports international preferably intercontinental collaborations in basic life science research. Applications are invited for grants to support innovative approaches to understanding complex mechanisms of living organisms. Applicants are expected to develop novel lines of research distinct from their ongoing research. Preliminary results are not required.
[Closes 14 March 2018] NSF-USDA-BBSRC Joint Funding Opportunity to Develop Breakthrough Ideas and Technologies to Advance Crop Breeding and Functional Genomics The National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have established a joint funding opportunity to support the development of breakthrough technologies that will enable significant advances in crop breeding. This opportunity aims to make high impact changes in the ability to translate basic knowledge of plant genomics to practical outcomes in crops of economic importance to the participating countries.
[Closes 12 Jan 2018] BBSRC Industry Placement Grants The University of Cambridge has been awarded a Flexible Talent Mobility Account (FTMA). The FTMA is targeted at talented early-career (postdoctoral or equivalent)* researchers who have the potential to be the next generation of leaders within UK academic and industrial research; it is intended to support the exchange of personnel, perspectives and knowledge, skills and expertise between the academic and industrial sectors.
[Closes 14 Dec 2017] Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research awards (APEX Awards) In partnership with the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society (‘the Academies’) and with generous support from the Leverhulme Trust, the APEX award (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research award) scheme offers established independent researchers, with a strong track record in their respective area, an exciting opportunity to pursue genuine interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society.
[Closes 5 Dec 2017] TRDF: Transformative Research Technologies Support for early-stage development of cutting edge, high-impact research technologies. Co-funded by EPSRC and MRC
[Closes 24 Nov 2107] Apply now to the OpenPlant Fund! The OpenPlant Fund is now open to proposals for innovative, open and interdisciplinary projects relevant to plant or in vitro Synthetic Biology. Projects run for six months and can include biological research, hardware prototyping, software, outreach, policy work and training.
Applications are open for the New Phytologist Tansley Medal Open to early career scientists, the New Phytologist Tansley Medal is an annual award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to research in plant science
Public Engagement Starter Fund An exciting opportunity for University of Cambridge researchers to apply for small grants to undertake innovative public engagement with research activities.
The Collusion Commission calls on UK artists, from all disciplines to propose bold new works The Collusion Commission are looking to commission and present a series of groundbreaking new artworks across the broad spectrum of art, technology and human interaction.
DSV Gamma Funding Applications Are Now Open The Deep Science Venture are inviting applicants for funding from Jan 2018. Final year STEM students (Masters, PhD), early to mid career researchers that may already be looking for funding, co-founders or researchers with ideas for launching new companies are welcome to apply for funding
[Closes 11 Oct 2017] Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research Projects The British Academy is inviting proposals from UK-based researchers across all disciplines within the social sciences and humanities to develop international interdisciplinary research projects with development impact, in collaboration with colleagues from the natural, engineering and/or medical sciences.
The CRI Paris invites applications for fellowships. The CRI is looking for motivated, innovative scientists who thrive in dynamic environments, comfortably mix disciplines straddling field boundaries and wish to explore uncharted domains.
[Closes 4 Aug 2017] Call open for EPSRC IAA Partnership Development Awards and Knowledge Transfer Fellowships The IAA aims to establish closer working partnerships between researchers and business and two schemes of potential relevance to SynBio SRI members are now open to applications
[Closes 23 June 2017] Apply now for the Biomaker Challenge! Biomaker Challenge is a four-month programme challenging interdisciplinary teams to build low-cost sensors and instruments for biology. From colorimeters to microfluidics and beyond, we’re looking for frugal, open source and DIY approaches to biological experiments.
[Closes 30 June 2017] Apply now for the OpenPlant Fund The OpenPlant Fund is now open to proposals for innovative, open and interdisciplinary projects relevant to plant or in vitro Synthetic Biology. Projects run for six months and can include biological research, hardware prototyping, software, outreach and policy work.
[Closes 6 Jul 2017] DST-NRF Fellowships for UK Early Career Researchers - Synthetic Biology Opportunities in South Africa This Newton Fund opportunity allows early career UK researchers to spend 3-6 months working with a South African research group.
[Closes 25 June 2017] Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA Research Fund Cambridge-Africa have announced the 2017 call for applications for the ALBORADA Research Fund
[Closes 31st May] Border Labs Award 2017 Border Labs have opened a 2017 award competition for inspiring explorers who go beyond the expected.
[Closes 28 April] SB7.0 biosecurity fellowships announced The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security have announced an exceptional near-term opportunity for emerging leaders who wish to prepare for and contribute to ongoing discussions regarding biosecurity.
[Closes 17 Apr 2017] BBSRC funding available for summer Research Experience Placements The BBSRC has provided funds to support 12 summer students in the Research Experience Placements (REP) scheme. Projects that include mathematical skills training (covering Exploiting New Ways of Working) are highly desirable
(Closes March 31st 2017) Deep Science Ventures 6-month venture building program Deep Science Ventures offers a paid and fully funded 6-month venture building program to change the world.
[Closes 3rd May 2017] Grand Challenges Explorations - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting proposals for the latest round of Grand Challenges Explorations.
[Closes 27 Mar 2017] Synthetic biology future science fellowships The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation invites applications for its synthetic biology future science fellowships.
[Friday 21 April 2017] Vice Chancellor's Awards The University runs two sets of parallel awards to recognise achievements in the areas of Impact and Public Engagement with Research. Applications for the 2017 Awards are currently open. Deadline: Friday 21 April 2017.
[Closes Jan 2017] Studentships available at EPSRC and BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology The EPSRC and BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology (SynBioCDT) is a doctoral training programme that combines the fundamental understanding of biological systems with the principles of engineering, so as to create the next generation of industrial and academic leaders in the nascent field of Synthetic Biology.
[Closes 31 Jan 2017] PhD Studentship: OpenIP strategies for emerging technologies This PhD project with Dr Frank Tietze at the Institute for Manufacturing will be focused on a recent phenomenon that can be labelled “OpenIP”, for instance where large IP owners strategically make IP freely available through patent pledges. These seem to be carefully designed by the companies for different reasons and with a number of restrictions on licensees, such as non-assertion clauses.
[Closes 2 Mar 2017] Biotechnology for a sustainable bioeconomy The aim of the co-funded call with an indicative budget of approximately €36.3M is to contribute to transforming the global economy from a dependence on fossil raw material to a sustainable bio-based economy.
[Closes 23 Nov 2016] BBSRC Enterprise Fellowships The Fellowships enable the recipient to concentrate on developing the commercial potential of their research, whilst also receiving formal training in relevant business skills.

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