BBSRC Doctoral Career Development Fund guidance

BBSRC recognises that due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, students graduating from doctoral training programmes in 2021/2022 may not have been able to participate in training and career development opportunities that ordinarily would have been available to them.

In order to support doctoral candidates and recent graduates in the pursuit of their career goals, a BBSRC Doctoral Career Development Fund (DCDF) is available, designed to enable recipients to pursue additional training, research and innovation that builds on any aspect of their studentship training.


To support doctoral candidates and recent graduates to build on their doctoral research, PIPS or CASE placement or any other training they received on their BBSRC studentship to:
• Develop new lines of research for Fellowship applications
• Explore new interdisciplinary research and innovation collaborations
• Explore the application of their doctoral research and/or training beyond academia for economic or societal impact in other sectors.

The training may take place either at the host organisation of your doctoral degree or at an external organisation from any sector.


  • Any BBSRC-funded SWBio DTP or CTP doctoral candidate or graduate who submitted their thesis after 1st January 2021 and is/was registered at the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff or Exeter.
  • Activities can only be undertaken after the thesis is submitted.
  • Activities need to have been completed by 31st December 2022.

Types of activities

There are a number of different activities that we are supporting to meet aims of this funding as listed in the scope section. These include:

Placements – Awards of up to £25,000

  • Maximum length of 6 months.
  • These can be carried out flexibly, for e.g. part-time or over short periods.
  • These placements can be research-based or non-research based. To support longer placements, you may consider approaching the hosting organisation for a financial contribution.
    Eligible costs include salary (to be a suitable salary for the role undertaken), consumables, travel, accommodation.

Engagement visits – Awards of up to £1,000

  • To support short visits to companies of interest in the UK and abroad to explore placement and collaboration opportunities and to develop networks.
    Eligible costs include travel, accommodation.

Skills development and training – Awards of up to £1,000

  • To support training opportunities tailored to your own development needs: these may be internal or external courses and seminars. As part of a single application, you can undertake more than one course, as long as the total amount does not exceed the award value.
  • Eligible costs include course costs, travel, accommodation.

It is possible to apply to this scheme more than once, however, priority will be given to new applications if needed. So we can manage this, it is important to contact the DTP Hub as soon as possible if you are interested, even if you have not yet fully identified a potential opportunity.

Application process

You should discuss any potential activities with the DTP Hub before applying.
Please send your applications to

Application deadline: This will be an open call, but applications will be approved bi-monthly, therefore, we ask that you submit any applications at the end of the following periods: end of Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept.

Please also be mindful of the time that it may take to set up a contract/seek permission from your employer if undertaking placements; we ideally suggest allowing 2-3 months for this.

Costs and conditions

Placements: If you will be employed/undertaking a placement at a Research Organisation (RO) (e.g. a university) where Full Economic Costing (fEC) is applied, a fEC record must be created and approved. This needs to be costed at the standard UKRI rate of 80% fEC.  For queries on completing the fEC please contact the employing RO’s finance contact.  For organisations where fEC is not applied, only directly incurred costs are eligible.

When fEC costing:
Funds can be used for:
• directly incurred, directly allocated costs (proportionate and reasonable indirect costs are allowed, but these must be fully related to the project).
• salary (and associated superannuation and NI contributions).
• consumables
• reasonable travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs

Non-eligible costs:
• IP protection
• purchasing of new equipment

Contracts for placements

The contractual arrangements will depend on your current employer, the type of placement and the hosting organisation. Depending on the arrangement the contractual agreement either:
• needs to be agreed between the two partner organisations – for e.g. if you are employed as a researcher by a university and undertaking a research based placement at another organisation.
• or led by the host organisation.

Further guidance can be sort from the DTP Hub.

If you are currently in employment following your PhD, you may need to consider what your current employer will allow. For example, suspension of your contract, a secondment, a delayed start date, going part-time or study leave. Explaining the benefits of undertaking a placement to your current employer will help you with this.

Review of applications

The completed application form should be sent to The DTP will review the applications according to the relevant criteria below. If required, we aim to prioritise students/former students whose training experience has most significantly been impacted by COVID-19.

Review criteria:
• Clearly thought through activity
• Consideration of the anticipated impact
• Skills and training development
• How this builds on training received during your studentship
• Considerate costs for the activity – any further support from organisations will be looked upon favourably.