Success in FBS as research awards double

Research funding doubles in the Faculty of Biological Sciences despite a significant drop in grant money in 2015/16 for the UK’s six research councils.

In the year 2015-16, the University of Leeds experienced a 24% increase in their research funding which placed them 9th in the country for research income. They were the highest of three institutions that saw an increase in the top ten, with most universities seeing dramatic declines. Significant drops include a 35% drop at the University of Oxford and a 42% fall at the University of Manchester. The success of the University of Leeds is seen as an endorsement of the quality and impact of the research being carried out.

Here in the Faculty of Biological Sciences we have seen an even steeper increase with a doubling of our research awards, from around £11m in 2014/2015 to approximately £23.5m in 2015/2016. When asked about the increase in funding, Professor Brendan Davies, the Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation in the faculty, said that it, “…represents an exceptional achievement from research and support staff, especially in an increasingly competitive funding environment. The increase in awards was driven both by many of our new university academic fellows being very successful with their early grant applications and also by an increase the quality and quantity of applications from our existing staff. Furthermore, the award successes spread broadly across the faculty, taking in several very different areas of our research portfolio. This great result underlines the research strength in the faculty and gives us an excellent foundation to build on this year.”

At a university level there have also been some significant developments that have contributed to this success. Lisa Roberts, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said that, “We’ve been making some outstanding appointments…we’ve identified and supported our interdisciplinary strengths, and we’re investing heavily in research support, facilities and technology platforms – all resulting in Leeds making a step change in how we address research council priorities and how we help to tackle major global challenges.”

These developments have contributed to a significant increase in research funding that will allow Leeds and the Faculty of Biological Sciences to continue the innovative and impactful research that makes it one of the most renowned research institutions in the world.