Early Career Researchers – Looking for funding?

Looking for help with conference fees, training, outreach or want to do more within your subject?

There are numerous societies and professional bodies which encourage and support ECRs. Most feature reduced membership fees for students which allow you to access their multitude of bursaries, scholarships, awards, grants and events worth thousands of pounds.

Try the Royal Society of Chemistry (£20), the Royal Society of Biology (£37.50), the Biochemical Society (£24), the Microbiology Society (£30), Society for Applied Microbiology (£25), The Society for Experimental Biology (£22),The British Ecological Society (free), the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (£26), IChemE (£25), ICE (free), CIWM (free), CIWEM (free).

It is also worth looking for support from Trusts and Charities which can assist ECRs with supporting grants e.g. The Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, see: www.stapleytrust.org/wp/about/  or the Leathersellers’ Company, see:  www.leathersellers.co.uk/education/educational-awards/.

There are hints about how to proceed at www.findamasters.com/funding/guides/alternative-masters-funding.aspx .

Roundup of PhD Opportunities – Jan 18

Catalytic Conversion of Organic Acid By-Products from Sustainable Processes,
University of Sheffield
Supervisor: Dr J McGregor
Deadline: 24th January 2018
Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)


Microbial Process Engineering for Bioenergy Generation and Production of Value-Added Chemicals, University of Sheffield
Supervisor: Dr S Vaidyanathan
Deadline 24th January 2018
Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)


Cooking with Gas: Can Anaerobic Digestion Reduce the Prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Cow Manures and Slurries?, University of Nottingham
Supervisor: Dr H West Application
Deadline 31st January 31, 2018
Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Design of microbial cell factories and novel bioreactors for the production of high value natural products,
University of Edinburgh
Supervisor: Dr L Rios Solis
Deadline 30th June 2018
Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Integration of Sustainability Assessment and Global Optimization for Sustainable Production of Biofuels and Chemicals,
University of Manchester
Supervisors: Dr R Cuellar-Franca , Dr N Zhang , Dr J Li
Applications accepted all year round
Self-Funded PhD Students Only


Energy generation from lignocellulosic wastes, University of Huddersfield
Supervisor: Prof. P Humphreys / Dr S Rout
Deadline:Applications accepted all year round
Self-Funded PhD Students Only



Integration of Sustainability Assessment and Global Optimization for Sustainable Production of Biofuels and Chemicals, University of Manchester
Supervisor: Dr R Cuellar-Franca / Dr N Zhang / Dr J Li
Deadline: Applications accepted all year round
Self-Funded PhD Students Only

AD Network Event and Training Roundup – Jan 18

Events to Note

Unavoidable food waste in Yorkshire: opportunities to add value. 27 Feb 18, Holiday Inn York, Tadcaster Road YO24 1QF, 10.00-13.00 hrs. Free of charge.

EPSRC: Systems Change Thinking – Creating Value from Unavoidable Food Supply Chain Wastes, Sutton Bonnington, University of Nottingham. 16th January 2018

REA Event – UK Biomethane Day 2018, Birmingham. 2nd May 2018


KTN Events


KTN: Innovation Funding for Ambitious Businesses in the Midlands Engine, Coventry, Tue, 30 Jan. 

KTN: How to win funds and influence people, Various venues. Wales. Various dates, March 2018. Half day workshops across Wales to explore what a good grant application looks like…and some of the pitfalls to avoid.

KTN: North West Innovation 2018: Unlock Your Business Growth and Productivity, Daresbury. 8th February 2018.


NIBB Events

HVCfP: Workshop – Plant cell cultures: production of high value chemicals, Macdonald Hotel Holyrood, Edinburgh. 28th February 2018.

HVCfP: Workshop – Application of IB to to identification and recovery of high value products from plant waste, Colworth Park, Bedfordshire. 10th April 2018.

CBMNet: Biochemical Society Focused Meeting: Structure and mechanism of membrane proteins, Aston University. 2/3rd August 2018.

CBMNet: Biochemical Society Training Event: Experimental techniques for studying proteins and lipids in biological membranes, Aston University. 31st July–1st August 2018. This two-day training event for early career researchers comprise lectures, case study exercises and laboratory-based practical sessions.

C1net Final Conference, East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham 21-23 January 2019.


Overseas Events

IMPACT of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in industrial biotechnology – towards a sustainable economy, Ghent. 19th February 2018.

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) National Conference – Bioenergy Future Ireland 2018, Dublin. 21st February 2018

5th International Conference on Renewable Energy Gas Technology, REGATEC 2018, Toulouse, France. 3-4th May 2018. REGATEC has a technical and industrial focus and is directed towards bio-, electro-, and thermochemical conversion of biomass/waste to biomethane, biomass gasification for CHP production and industrial use as well as cryogenic upgrading/liquefaction.

The 3rd International Conference on Recent Advances in Pollution Control and Resource Recovery for the Livestock Farming Industry” (Livestock Waste 2018), Xiamen, China. 26-28th July 2018. This conference aims to seek solutions for the environmental issues associated with the management of animal manure and wastewater. Deadline for abstracts: 1st March 2018.

Biogas Science, Torino, Italy. 17/19th September 2018. Abstract deadlines: 19th January/27th April 2018.

The International Biomass Congress & Expo & the International Biogas Congress & Expo, Berlin, 10/11th October 2018.


Other Events and Courses

3rd N8 Biophysical and Biochemical Symposium, “Dynamics, Kinetics and Thermodynamics, Manchester. 12th January 2018. The focus of the symposium will be the use of biophysical techniques to determine dynamics, kinetics and thermodynamics of biological processes.

Bio-resources – Getting the most out of sludge, Peterborough. 24th January 2018

Masters & PhD Study Fairs 2018 (Birmingham; Bristol; Sheffield; Liverpool; Edinburgh). Meet representatives from top universities both in the UK and abroad and get Masters & PhD application advice. University of Birmingham – 24 January; Sheffield – 14 February; University of Liverpool – 15 February; University of Edinburgh – 21 February.

Biogas HANDS ON UK, Cambridge. 5th-8th February 2018. IBBK Biogas will run a 4-day Engineering & Operating Course including a biogas plant visit.

Energy Storage and Connected Systems 2018, Olympia Conference Centre, London. 6/7th February 2018

2nd International Conference on Marine Biomass as Renewable Energy, Glasgow. 5/6th March 2018

The Business Of Science Conference, Liverpool. 17th May 2018

Biovale: Innovation Biocamp, Hawkhills, Yorkshire. 3-8th June 2018. Start-up, bio-based businesses can benefit from fully funded, intensive business training for successful innovation. The BioBase4SME project is now providing start-up companies working in the bioeconomy with €7,000 worth of specialist training, fully funded by the project. Deadline for applications: 20th April 2018.

New Scientist Live, ExCeL Centre, London 20-23 September 2018


Funding Roundup – Jan 18

This roundup include Research Council, Innovate and EU funding, regional funding, NIBB Network funding and some miscellaneous funding opportunities, as well.

Research Council, Innovate and European Funding

Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB) Phase II

Community meeting: 17.01.18.

Expression of interest deadline: 24.01.18 at 16:00

BBSRC, in association with EPSRC, has announced a call of up to £10 million to fund a second phase of Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (BBSRC NIBB). They intend to fund a number of Networks, of varying scales, focusing on a broad range of fundamental and strategic challenges and questions facing the IBBE area. Networks will operate for up to 5 years and are expected to become self-sustaining beyond this.

See: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/filter/networks-in-industrial-biotechnology-bioenergy-phase2 .


INNOVATE: Open sector competition round 4

Innovate UK’s competition is open to the best business-led cutting-edge or disruptive ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation. Total eligible project costs must be within the range £25,000 to £1,000,000. Projects may last between 6 and 36 months.

Deadline: 28th February 2018

KTN will be hosting briefing events for Innovate UK’s January 2018 sector competition for Health & Life Sciences and Emerging & enabling Technologies. Deadline: 28th March 2018.

Innovate UK is to invest up to £19 million to support innovation that offers significant changes in productivity and cutting-edge innovation. The competition has 2 strands, strand 1 is for health and life sciences projects and strand 2 is for emerging and enabling technologies projects. A further £12 million is available to fund Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

See: www.ktn-uk.co.uk/news/register-now-for-the-briefing-events-for-the-january-2018-sector-competition-for-health-life-sciences-and-emerging-enabling-technologies .

All projects must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration with other organisations. Projects with costs over £100,000 must be collaborative and include a funded partner.  The competition will open on the 22nd January and you must apply before 28th March.  Further details about the scope of the competition will be available shortly.

KTN will be hosting a series of briefing events for the competition throughout January and February.  More information is available below regarding the strands and the briefing events.


Science Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Bridging for Innovators (B4I) is a programme to support UK industry in improving productivity . It started in 2017 and will end in March 2021.

See: www.stfc.ac.uk/funding/research-grants/funding-opportunities/closing-calls/bridging-for-innovators-funding-programme/ .


ESRC: GCRF New models of sustainable development: Transitions towards sustainable and inclusive societies

See: www.esrc.ac.uk/funding/funding-opportunities/gcrf-new-models-of-sustainable-development/ .


NERC Large Grants call

Grants range between £1.2 million and £3.7m at 100 per cent full economic cost, with a duration of up to five years. Deadline 13th March 2018

See: www.nerc.ac.uk/funding/available/researchgrants/large/ .


Horizon 2020 Calls

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s €77 billion research and innovation funding scheme running from 2014 to 2020. BEIS has further clarified Horizon 2020 underwrite for UK participants.

  • Blue Growth – aims at sustainably harvesting the potential of resources from seas, oceans and inland waters for different uses and across the range of marine and maritime industries.

Deadline: 13th February 2018

  • Eurostars – Open to all projects in all technology areas and market fields, but projects must have a civilian purpose.

Deadline:  1st March 2018

  • Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for sustainable and competitive agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sectors – SMEs can play a crucial role in developing resource-efficient and cost-effective solutions to secure sufficient supplies of safe, healthy and high quality food and other bio-based products. Various deadlines.

Regional Funding

Bristol Sustainable Energy Research Fund

There is a fund of £10K available to support researchers wishing to investigate or evaluate the relationship between people and energy. Research should produce insight that contributes to the development of a more sustainable, equitable and democratically accountable energy system in the South West of England. Unusually this is not limited to academic applicants provided there is a demonstrable publication history. Closing date: 31st January 2018. See: www.bserf.org.uk/guidance-for-applicants .

BDC ERDF Funding for bio-based innovation

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has secured further ERDF funding to help Yorkshire businesses grow through bio-based innovations. The BDC is offering 120 pre-funded projects, value £1000, for eligible local businesses by 2018.

See: www.biorenewables.org/service/funded-support-for-regional-smes/ .

NIBB Network Funding


Final BIV Call Closes 31st May 2018. See: www.c1net.co.uk/Funding.html .


Final BIV call closes on 28th February 2018. There is still funding available for up to 7 projects (of up to £10,000). See: http://www.foodwastenet.org/ .


Final BIV round closes 16th January 2018. See: https://hvcfp.net/ .

PHYCONET Secondment funding

Deadline:  1st February 2018.

It is worth keeping track of various grants and awards available in the sector. For example, Bio-start is an annual competition designed to commercialise the engineering of biology. See: www.bio-start.uk/#competition .

Other Funding

L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards

The Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of early career research in any area of life, physical and computer sciences, engineering and mathematics. See: www.womeninscience.co.uk .

Deadline: 16th February 2018

Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowships

These enable early- and mid-career engineering academics to conduct a collaborative research project in an industrial environment. Fellowships are worth up to £30,000 each and are tenable for up to six months full-time or 12 months part-time. Deadline: 5th February 2018

Royal Academy of Engineering: Research Chairs and Senior Research Fellowships

These aim to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting academics in conducting use-inspired research that meets the needs of industrial partners.

Deadline: 6th March 2018

See: www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/support-for-research/research-chairs .

Defra Farm Productivity Grants

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has opened a £40 million grants scheme for investment in farm technology and equipment to boost farm productivity. Grants are available under the Countryside Productivity Scheme. See: www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-secretary-opens-40-million-fund-to-boost-farm-productivity .