BBSRC-UKRI-DFG Lead Agency Agreement: Pilot Call on the “Integrative Microbiome”
Deadline: 10. Oktober 2023
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is pleased to announce the launch of a bilateral pilot call together with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UKRI-BBSRC) for research proposals on the “Integrative Microbiome”.
This joint DFG-BBSRC funding opportunity invites collaborative research proposals which aim to answer fundamental functional questions related to how phenomena mediated by microbiomes operate. The integrative microbiome is a research area that resolves to combine the investigation of complex communities of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, archaea, protists and viruses) with their relationship and influence on environments which they are associated with. It examines the microbiome as a whole and considers the functional interconnections between microbial, host and wider environmental factors.
One of the biggest challenges in the integrative microbiome field is to move beyond correlative or associative studies to investigate the functional mechanisms underpinning these interactions. This includes how the constituents of microbial communities interact with each other, how the environment affects microbial population dynamics and how the microbiome influences its host and vice versa.
Proposals which are only associative or correlative in nature and do not have a clearly articulated plan to dissect the functional underpinnings of any microbiome-associated effects will be excluded.
Applications might be expected to take a range of complementary approaches, and multidisciplinary proposals are encouraged. This includes proposals that are integrated across scales ranging from community ecology, organismal physiology, tissue, single-cell and molecular level interactions. In addition to fundamental research in laboratory model systems, applications in areas involving microbiomes associated with non-human animals including livestock and companion animals, plants including crops, soil or other human-managed ecosystems (greenhouses, aquaculture facilities etc.) are encouraged to apply.
New tools and technologies are enabling the functional dissection of integrative microbiome interactions at an unprecedented level of detail and generating vast amounts of quantitative data. Correspondingly, the development or adaptation of existing technologies or analysis approaches including bioinformatics and mathematical modelling will be supported, provided this will lead to the underpinnings that answer the fundamental bioscience questions posed within the project.
The principal aim of proposals submitted under this opportunity should be the generation of new fundamental knowledge relating to the function of the integrated microbiome. Through building joint UK-German capability and capacity in integrative microbiome research, the BBSRC and the DFG ultimately expect to establish the fundamental knowledge and evidence needed to enable scientifically robust management and utilisation of these complex microbial communities in a range of contexts in the longer term.