Research Themes

The consortium provides PhD students with a unique opportunity to undertake bioscience research and training in four key themes identified in BBSRC’s roadmap Forward Look for the UK Bioscience.

Understanding the rules of life

(up to 11 scholarships available)

Promoting creative, curiosity-driven frontier bioscience to address fundamental questions in biology. Understanding living systems and how they function is at the very heart of bioscience research and innovation. From the structure of DNA, to the processes by which cells divide and replicate, the UK has a rich history of contributing ground-breaking discoveries in bioscience that have begun to reveal the basic operating ‘rules of life’. However, for all that is already known about biological systems, there is much still to learn and tremendous excitement about the opportunities that future discoveries in bioscience will unlock.

Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food

(up to 5 scholarships available)

Delivering more productive, healthy, resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems. Predictions of population growth suggest that by 2050 the world’s population will have expanded to over 9 billion and 60% more food will be required. Reducing the amount of food waste is part of the solution, but a huge, sustainable boost in agricultural productivity will also be needed to meet this demand. It is not simply about using more land for food production, but maximising efficiency of land use and resources. We must increase the resilience of food supply chains in the face of challenges such as climate change, growing threats from pests, pathogens, extreme weather and soil degradation, whilst also protecting the environment.

Bioscience for renewable resources and clean growth

(up to 8 scholarships available)

Transforming industries through bio-based processes and products in a new low-carbon bioeconomy. Harnessing the power of biology through industrial biotechnology has the potential to transform a wide range of industries and supply chains, reducing reliance on chemical processes and fossil fuels, helping to meet international climate change targets and driving productivity and growth in the bioeconomy. The move to bio-based processes offers opportunities to generate materials, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy with improved performance, lower operational costs and reduced carbon emissions, leading to more sustainable, cleaner manufacturing and greater use of residues or wastes in a more circular bioeconomy.

Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health

(up to 3 scholarships available)

Improving animal and human health and wellbeing across the lifecourse. The UK has an ageing population, but, as our average lifespan increases, our healthspan is not extending as fast. Changing lifestyles are having significant impacts on health across the lifecourse, and declining health and wellbeing in later life are placing increasing pressure on health and social services. In addition, globalisation presents specific and urgent health challenges in zoonotic infections and antimicrobial resistance. There is a pressing need for integrated approaches across a range of disciplines, organisms and scales that generate new insights to improve animal and human health and wellbeing, inform strategies for the prevention of disease, and underpin innovation in health-related industrial sectors.