Awards user guide

Portfolio Analyser

This guide provides essential guidance on the use of the Awards section of Portfolio Analyser. More detailed guidance is available in the Portfolio Analyser User Guidance [PDF, 3.46 MB].

Overview & data currency


The Awards section of Portfolio Analyser provides facilities for the searching and analysis of current and completed research projects, fellowships, studentships, and training grants which are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council through various awards. These awards are held at Universities, the Institutes of BBSRC and other recognised research organisations in the United Kingdom.

The Awards section provides facilities to:

  • define and execute a simple ‘quick’ or complex advanced search strategy
  • retrieve a result set as a list of matching awards
  • retrieve the details of a specific award
  • retrieve the details of a specific investigator or supervisor
  • analyse a result set using simple ‘summary’ or user defined ‘custom’ reports
  • run pre-defined ‘standard’ reports
  • export or download any required data, subject to acceptance of terms and conditions of use

The Awards section of Portfolio Analyser is updated weekly. Details of the current update are provided on the home page of the system.

Quick start

  1. Use the Quick or Advanced Search to define a search strategy.
    • Select at least one Award Type and Award Status in the Filter for the search to operate. The default settings will return a list of all current awards.
    • If required, add search terms
    • If required, select any additional search criteria
  2. Submit the search strategy to retrieve a result set as a list of matching awards.
  3. From the awards list either
    • Drill down to the details of a specific award of interest OR
    • Use the Summary or Custom Reports to further analyse the result set.

Text searching


Portfolio Analyser uses Lucene text search technology. This supports wildcards, Boolean and other operators to link and use query terms wherever these are employed in defining a search strategy in the Awards or Publication sections of the system.


  • A search query is broken into terms and operators
  • A term may be a single word e.g. crop or a phrase consisting of a group or words surrounded by double quotes e.g. "crop improvement"
  • Automatic correction is not applied to any misspelled words
  • Stemming is not applied to any terms
  • Wildcards can be used within a term to broaden the scope of a search (see below)
  • Multiple terms can be combined together using Boolean operators to form a more complex query (see below)
  • Boolean operators must be used as capitals i.e. OR, AND, NOT
  • Queries are not case sensitive

Using wildcards

In search context, wildcards replace a single letter or a series of letters in order to expand results.

Use the ? symbol to perform a single character wildcard search. The single wildcard search looks for terms that match with the single character replaced.

Use the * symbol to carry out a multiple wildcard search and look for 0 or more characters e.g. h*moglobin to return hemoglobin or haemoglobin, tomato* to return tomato or tomatoes.

Wildcard queries will not work when used:

  • as the first character (prefix) of a search term e.g. *nanotechnology
  • within a phrase query e.g. "gene sequenc*"


A search operator is an instruction that joins search terms to form a new, more complex query. It enables you to look for several words at once by informing Lucene how to link search terms. The most common search operators are the Boolean operators (must be used as capitals i.e. AND, OR, NOT) and the use of double quotes to specify an exact phrase or whole word. These allow the inclusion or exclusion of documents from the search results.

Search operators

Group Operator Description Example
Boolean OR Finds documents that contain at least one of the specified terms.

The OR operator links two terms and finds matching documents if either of the terms exist in a document. The OR operator helps you broaden your search by including synonyms or related terms. Note: OR is the default operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the OR operator is used.
crop OR plant

Finds documents containing crop or plant, or both.
AND Finds documents that contain all of the specified terms.

Use the AND operator to search for documents in which all the terms joined with the AND operator are present. Therefore, if 4 keywords are joined with AND in a search, only documents containing all 4 keywords will be returned. On the other hand, a document that contains 3 of the 4 keywords will not be returned. The AND operator helps you narrow your search. Their order is not important.

Be careful not to overuse the AND operator in a query; a search that is too specific could overlook relevant results.
crop AND improvement AND farm

Finds documents containing all three terms.
NOT Excludes the data fields or documents that contain the specified word.

Use the NOT operator to ignore documents that contain the specified words. The NOT operator helps you narrow your search.

Note: The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term e.g. the following search will return no results NOT crop

Be careful with the use of NOT as the attempt to narrow the search may be too exclusive and eliminate relevant documents.
farm NOT crop

Finds documents that do not contain crop but contain farm.
Other Quotation marks

Finds documents that contain the whole word or the exact phrase.

Quotation marks can also be used to search for an exact phrase.

Note: Exact phrase queries apply to groups of terms (words, numbers, etc.), not single terms.
"crop improvement"

Finds documents containing this exact phrase.



Associated award

In some cases, a relationship may exist between two or more awards, for example when more than one award is part of the same research project. These associations, where present, are highlighted within the details provided on each award.

Award type

An indicator of the purpose of the award. BBSRC awards support research and postgraduate skills development. These are further subdivided within the Advanced Search into the following categories:


Research Grants - research grants provide researchers with support to undertake excellent scientific research in which the applicant(s) will be personally involved and which will deliver academic, economic and societal impacts. Funding for projects up to £2M is available through responsive mode. Larger programmes are funded through special schemes.

Institute Projects - research activity at BBSRC sponsored Institutes previously supported via the Core Strategic Grant and now via Institute Strategic Programme Grants.

Fellowships - schemes which are supported by BBSRC to enable scientists to devote their time to independent research and scholarships.


Studentships - the term used for directly funded (not Training Grants) studentships that provide an opportunity for graduates to receive one year’s Masters training or three or four years PhD training in research, research methods and employment-related skills.

Training Grants - funding for four-year PhD studentships and one-year Masters studentships are now awarded to university departments and other organisations (not to students) in the form of a Training Grant (TG) to allow institutions greater flexibility over the duration of the award and the level of stipend offered. Departments and supervisors then advertise for students.

Students - the term used to identify students funded by BBSRC Training Grants (TGs).

At least one award type must be selected to carry out a search of the Awards section of the system.

Award status

An indicator of whether the award is active (i.e. current) or completed. Note that Institute Projects are updated on an annual basis in July and may be shown as current if they are active at any point during the current or forecast financial year.

At least one award status must be selected to carry out a search of the Awards section of the system.

Award value

Expressed in UK pounds £, this is:

  • Research grants, fellowships, training grants - the total actual amount awarded to an Institution for the lifetime of the award
  • Institute projects – the sum of the actual and currently planned spend (forecast year)
  • Studentships – the sum of the average annual cost of each active year of the studentship
  • Students - set to zero as these are funded via a Training Grant


BBSRC science programmes are administered via committees, each dealing with applications for funding in the major areas of the council’s scientific remit. The committee processing an award provides an indication of the nature of research or training being undertaken.

BBSRC occasionally reorganises its committees and therefore past awards may reflect the structures in place at the time of issuing the award.


An award which has started and is active or a completed award awaiting financial reconciliation or action.

Custom report

A facility that allows the user to design a detailed report to analyse a set of search results by defining what data columns should be included and their order. The report provides subtotalling facilities and the ability to further drill down to awards ‘sub’ list and the details of a specific award.


BBSRC operates a number of initiatives to encourage specific research or training activity and / or that may have specific eligibility or application requirements, or that have a specific focus e.g. knowledge transfer.

Institutes of BBSRC

The institutes deliver innovative, world class bioscience research and training, leading to wealth and job creation, generating high returns for the UK economy. They have strong links with business, industry and the wider community, and support policy development.

The institutes’ research underpins key sections of the UK economy such as agriculture, bioenergy, biotechnology, food and drink and pharmaceuticals. In addition, the institutes maintain unique research facilities of national importance.

  • The Pirbright Institute is a world-leading centre of excellence for research into infectious diseases of farm animals, to advance the knowledge of veterinary and medical science, and to enhance the sustainability of livestock farming.
  • The Babraham Institute undertakes innovative biomedical research to discover the molecular mechanisms that underlie normal cellular processes and functions, and how, over lifetime, their failure or abnormality may lead to disease.
  • The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a world class research and education centre at Aberystwyth University.
  • The Institute of Food Research (IFR) is a world leader in research into harnessing food for health and controlling food-related diseases.
  • The John Innes Centre (JIC) contributes over £170M annually to the UK economy and is an international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.
  • The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) is a national genomics and bioinformatics centre which addresses problems in agriculture, sustainable energy, food and nutrition, through novel approaches in genomics and specialising in genomics technology, high throughput data analysis, advanced bioinformatics and innovation.
  • The Roslin Institute is a BBSRC institute incorporated with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
  • Rothamsted Research is the largest agricultural research centre in the UK.

Research priority

BBSRC has a set of Council-wide strategic research priorities that are applicable to the research grants portfolio. The current priorities were introduced in 2009 and therefore will only apply to awards from 2009 onwards.

Research topic

The classification scheme used to categorise the nature of BBSRC’s research portfolio. This classification has currently only been applied to awards active as at April 2008 onwards and therefore does not cover the full portfolio. More recent awards may also still be awaiting classification and therefore the information should be checked for updates.


Funding schemes operated by BBSRC to encourage specific research or training activity and / or that may have specific eligibility or application requirements. The following schemes are currently included:

  • Industrial Partnership Awards (IPA) – science-led, responsive mode grants where the industrial partner contributes in cash at least 10% of the full economic costs of the project.
  • International Partnering Awards – aim to set up partnership links between the UK and overseas laboratories; to promote the exchange of scientists; to promote access to facilities.
  • Studentship (Not funded via Training Grant) - a directly funded studentship that provides an opportunity for graduates to receive one year’s Masters training or three or four years PhD training in research, research methods and employment-related skills.
  • Student (Funded via Training Grant) - funding for four-year PhD studentships and one-year Masters studentships awarded directly to university departments and other organisations to allow institutions greater flexibility over the duration of the award and the level of stipend offered.

Standard report

A predefined report on a specific aspect of BBSRC’s supported research and skills development portfolio.

Summary report

A facility that allows the user to select one or up to three predefined simple reports at any one time to analyse a set of search results. The reports provide the ability to further drill down to awards ‘sub’ lists and the details of a specific award.


Portfolio Analyser data is based on a ‘calendar’ year.


All results tables in Portfolio Analyser provide a data sorting capability. Results can be reordered by clicking the column heading to perform an ascending or descending alphabetic or numeric sort, as appropriate.

Exporting data & Terms & Conditions of Use

The Awards System provides facilities to export data via a number of file formats i.e.

  • Extensible Markup Language (XML)
  • Microsoft Excel (XLS)
  • Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  • Portable Document Format (PDF)

Users must accept the terms and conditions (opens in new window) before being permitted to proceed with an export.

Scope & Caveats


Portfolio Analyser contains details of awards active as at 1997 to the present. A small number of schemes covering support for international activities, innovation and skills, and information on the individual studentship projects supported through Training Grants are not currently available through this interface, but further details will become available in the near future.

Some of the information held within Portfolio Analyser, particularly award titles, abstracts, technical and impact summaries, is provided by applicants. BBSRC does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of these statements.

A number of links within the system are to external websites over which BBSRC has no control. We do not accept responsibility for the information contained on these websites.