February 2022 Funding Landscape: Latest Funding, Awards and Grants

At NBIC, we feel it’s important for us to keep you informed of the latest funding awards, grants and competitions to support you in the progression of your research or developments.


Together with our partner Black Kite® Ltd, we have put together some key current opportunities that specifically link to our four Strategic Themes: Prevent, Detect, Manage, and Engineer (PDME). For further information, including advice and guidance on bidding into competitions, please contact us at nbic@biofilms.ac.uk 


Click on a button below to expand your preferred funding option.

Innovate UK: Smart January 2022


Scope of Call: 

• Any technological area. 

Game changing, innovative, ambitious, ready for commercialisation soon after project end. 

• Strong business and delivery plan. 

Aim: Any innovation with significant potential for growth or scale-up, taking customer and user needs into account.

Available funding: total £25 m 

Project durations between 6 & 18 months, total costs between £100k – £500k; Durations 19 to 36 months, total costs £100k – £2m. 

Costs up to £3 m, seek approval ten days before deadline.


• UK registered business or RTO. 

RTOs can partner, academics cannot lead.

Dates: closes: 13 April 2022 (11:00) 

Project start: by 1 October 2022 (latest), end by 30 September 2025 

Key Considerations: 

• Must be led by UK business of any size. 

Project must include at least one micro or SME. 

6 – 18 month projects may be single SME, or a collaboration led by business (large or SME). 

Larger projects must be collaborative. Non-grant claiming partners’ costs are included in total eligible project costs. 

Subcontractors permitted, but must be UK-based, justified and appropriate. 

Must demonstrate intention to commercially exploit project result(s). 

Funding level is function of research activity (feasibility, industrial, experimental) and organisation size. 

• Research partners max. 30% total costs. 

Highly competitive; high score needed for success. 

Standard application form + EDI, additional financial considerations (e.g. for UID). 

General Recommendations: 

A commercial exploitation path must be evident for all business partners. 

Preference is given to projects with potential for growth in global markets. 

There is a focus on identified customers and users to show value & potential of solution. 

• Time to market is important. 

Clear project management approach, availability of necessary skills and appreciation of risks and their management is needed, i.e., strong project management should be evident in application. 

Need to identify if the project is feasibility, or industrial research (shorter, but higher funding levels), or experimental development (larger, but lower funding %). 

NB. Min. project size has increased from £25k to £100k. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

Any technological area, thus aligns to all NBIC themes. 

HEI’s cannot lead. 

Expectation of clear significant economic impact potential from an innovative, disruptive new product, with rapid commercialisation potential. 

NB: future SMART calls will focus more on businesses destined for early commercialisation, growth and export potential

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

• Typically any sector with potential for rapid growth & global reach. 

• Customer & user needs must be evident. 

Projects can be feasibility, industrial research or experimental development. 

For all projects, a micro or SME must lead or be a collaborator; NBIC academics should try and partner. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

SMART projects applies to any technology area, but must have potential to be innovative / disruptive and be ahead of the field. 

• Possible application of Biofilms 

Competition welcomes projects that address the identified Grand Challenges, but is not a requirement; biofilms appear best suited to ageing society and clean growth (of UK economy). Cf. investment accelerator and SBRI competitions. Environmental is also possible. 

Key Collaborators 

o Public facing organisation giving customer/user component is beneficial. 

o NBIC researchers can support associated SMEs, spin-outs or businesses. 

Innovate UK: Fisheries and Seafood Scheme


Scope of Call: Provides financial support for projects in England in the aquaculture sectors and that enhance and protect the marine environment.

Aim: Supports sustainable growth in the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors and projects that enhance the marine environment.

Available funding: £unspecified Project: £1k – £150k; dependent on application. Grant: 80% fleet, 75% public, 30% SME.

Eligibility: UK business, public body, university/RTO, individual. Collaboration: possible.

Dates: open: rolling deadline, 8 week turnaround, registration closes 31 December 2022 

Key Considerations 

There are a range of application areas, each with separate conditions: 

•Protecting marine environment 

•Supporting coastal communities 

Reform of stock and quota management 

Developing industry infrastructure for sustainable growth 

Separate guidance for each activity in the scheme, check online for information including budgets and dates. 

An Expression of Interest (EoI) can be submitted to check eligibility of a project before it is formally submitted. 

•Funded by DEFRA. 

General Recommendations: 

Not all areas of the scheme are open at the same time, so need to check what is relevant and eligible. 

If the MMO consider the applicant could afford to pay for the project without additional funding the application will be rejected, therefore ensure that funding is essential to achieve the objective. 

The bid must include a description of the targets and benefits anticipated, against which the performance will be evaluated. 

The scheme covers a wide range of applicants that could be an individual or business or university, so there is a wide range of opportunity available. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

There are a range of bio-film applications that could be relevant, from efficiency of ships by bio-foul reduction to catch management or environment management for fishery operations. 

This funding could also be relevant for the development of products that support the fishing or aquaculture industries, such as in biocides for catch management and processing or gear maintenance.

Key Collaborators: 

The call does not specify whether collaborations are in scope, although the implication is that a single organisation or individual will make the application. It is possible that a business supported by a university, for example, may be eligible. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

Proposed solutions could be relevant to Prevention of biofilm fouling or degradation (for example on fishing gear or processing equipment), Detection of biofilm build-up, Management of biofilms that impair performance/ reduce efficiency, or Engineering of beneficial bio growth or bio-degradation components and surfaces. 

Possible application of Biofilms 

It is likely that bio-films are hazards to be managed, such as growth on marine equipment or degradation of catch. 

There might also be applications related to the enhancement of the marine environment through reduction or mitigation of environmental impact. 

Innovate UK and EUREKA: Other competitions


Circular economy Investment Fund: Closes: open call – no closing date; £18 m grant funding to SMEs. 

Aim: supports SMEs and third sector organisations based in Scotland that are able to deliver carbon savings and business growth. Focuses on: built environment; Food Systems; Bioeconomy; Energy Infrastructure; heat and energy; waste. 

Eligibility: Lead must be a micro or SME business or third sector organisation based in Scotland. Collaborations are encouraged, although large businesses or public sector bodies are not eligible for funding. Initial outline proposal invited. 

Costs and Duration: two funding strands: costs £50k – £100k (strand 1) and £100 k – £1 m (strand 2). Subject to State Aid rules (part of ERDF). 

Key Dates: open call with no close date. 

• Further information here. 

SBRI Competition – Open Digital Solutions for Net Zero Energy. 

Aim: development of open software, hardware and data solutions addressing challenges of transforming to a net zero energy system in the UK. Must actively foster development of a community and include a first user as part of the project. 

Eligibility: Open to organisations of any size, working with others as sub-contractors. An SBRI procurement, i.e., a contract (not grant funding). 

Costs and Duration: Procurement contract up to £300 k including VAT, duration up to 9 months. 

Key Dates: closes 9th March 2022 @ 11:00 

• Further information here.

EUREKA EuroStars 3: Call 2. 

Aim: collaborative research projects between UK and organisations from other participating Eureka Eurostars member countries. Looking for disruptive technology-based products, applications and services offering clear benefit to the UK economy. 

Eligibility: Must be SME led and include at least two independent entities from at least two Eurostars countries. Specific conditions are in place for the size and R&D commitment of the UK SME. Must show clear route to market after two years. 

Costs and Duration: up to €360k grant, duration up to 36 months. 

Key Dates: closes 24th March 2022 @ 13:00 

• Further information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

Circular economy Investment Fund

This fund could provide support for NBIC SME partners to engage with researchers in investigations of the role of biofilms as hazards or adjuncts to components in the circular economy and materials used. Relevant to P, D, M and E. 

EUREKA EuroStars 3: Call 2 

This competition supports any disruptive or game-changing idea that might lead to new products, processes or services. Applicants need to show how the UK economy would benefit as well as the benefits that international collaboration brings. Therefore, any application of biofilm technology or expertise from an NBIC partner could lead or collaborate on an innovative project. 

• Any of P, D, M or E are relevant themes. 

Innovate UK: Clean Transport competitions


Automotive Transformation fund Expression of Interest: Round 18 – closes 16th February 2022 closed. 

Aim: Funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Proposals must show how projects will support the industrialisation of the UK’s zero emission automotive supply chain. This EoI is first stage of a two stage application process outlining the proposal for a large project 

Eligibility: Lead must be a UK registered business of any size. Collaborators can be any business, academic or RTO. 

Costs and Duration: Proposed project must request at least £1M in grant funding. 

Key Dates: closes 16th February 2022 @ 11:00. 

•Further information here. 

Automotive Transformation fund Feasibility Studies: Round 3 

Aim: Funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, these feasibility studies are looking for ways to scale up the UK’s zero emission automotive supply chain. The study must produce a decision-ready business case for making investment decisions and building supply chains. 

Eligibility: Lead must be a UK registered business of any size. Collaborators can be any business, academic or RTO. 

Costs and Duration: must be completed within 6 months, costs up to £1M. 

Key Dates: closes 9th March 2022 

•Further information here. 

APC 20: Developing automotive technologies and growing capability towards net zero – closing soon. 

Aim: Looking for collaborative, pre-production R&D projects that secure long term investment and achieve the design, build and manufacture of zero carbon tailpipe emission vehicles. 

Eligibility: Must be led by a UK business and must involve collaboration with other UK organisations, at least one of which is an SME. Up to six collaborators are recommended. 

Costs and Duration: project costs £5M – £40M, duration 18-42 months. 

Key Dates: closes 2nd March 2022 @ 11:00am 

•Further information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

Automotive Transformation Fund and Advance Propulsion Centre: 

There may be opportunities for NBIC SME, business partners or researchers to engage with existing actors in the automotive supply chain where, for example, bio-fouling, contamination, monitoring surfaces or catalysing processes during manufacture is relevant. 

Potentially relevant to NBIC themes of Prevent, Detect, Manage and Engineer. 

Innovate UK: Clean energy competitions


Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) Phase 2: Spring 2022 

Aim: Combination of deployment projects and engineering/feasibility studies for deployment of industrial energy efficiency and deep decarbonisation projects. 

Eligibility: Lead must be a UK registered business (any size) carrying out an eligible energy intensive business. Sub-contracted collaborators can be any business, academic or RTO. Funded by BEIS as a grant scheme. 

Costs and Duration: Feasibility: £30k (cost) – £7M (funding), 12 months; Engineering study or deployment: £50k (cost) – £14M (funding), 24 months; Decarbonisation deployment: £100k – £30M grant funding, 24 months. Subsidy uplifts available. 

Key Dates: closes 29th April 2022 

•Further information here. 

Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme – closing soon. 

Aim: supports technologies which can produce hydrogen from biogenic feedstocks and be combined with carbon capture and is part of the BEIS Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. Two phase programme. SBRI procurement for: feedstock pre-processing; gasification components; novel biohydrogen technologies. 

Eligibility: Any business entity. Collaboration and sub-contracting allowed. 

Costs and Duration: £50k – 250k, 6 months duration. 

Key Dates: closes 11th March 2022 at noon. 

•Further information here. 

BEIS: Net Zero Innovation Portfolio: £1 Bn Fund 

This Portfolio provides funding to accelerate the commercialisation of low-carbon technologies, systems and business models in power, buildings and industry – ten priority areas are identified. It will help enable the UK to end its contribution to climate change. 

Competitions launched throughout 2021; further competitions may appear, and can be found through the individual competition pages here. 

Clean Growth Fund (CGF) 

The CGF invests in the most promising and ambitious companies to provide commercialisation expertise and access to markets. 

•Looking for any company with a clear and significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gases. 

•Provides business support to sectors: power, buildings, transport, industry and waste. 

First round investment £500 k – £3 m here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

These highlighted competitions relate to various aspects of clean energy, ranging from decarbonisation to bio-fuels and greenhouse gas reduction. 

There may be opportunities for NBIC business partners, possibly in collaboration with researchers, to engage with energy based businesses in addressing, for example, bio-fouling, contamination, monitoring surfaces or catalysing processes within one of a range of application areas. 

Potentially relevant to NBIC themes of Prevent, Detect, Manage and Engineer. 

Various Funding Sources: Innovation Support competitions (1)

Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC): Spin Out Support Programme – closing soon. 

Aim: Offers support to HEI costs for spin-out projects focusing on innovative applications of biotechnology and addressing a real market need or commercial opportunity. 

Eligibility: Project must include at least one of IBioIC’s HEI partners and demonstrate an economic, societal and/or reputational benefit to Scotland. Must have potential to lead to larger scale funding, e.g. from Innovate UK or private investment. 

Costs and Duration: up to £20k towards costs (must be max of 33% of total costs). Duration < 12 months. 

Key Dates: closes 3rd March 2022 

•Further information here. 

DASA: Catch the ChemBio SCENT! Up to £1m. 

This is a Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition looking for proposals for novel technologies for screening, collecting and exploiting ChemBio materials, addressing the challenges associated with screening for and the preservation of sample/evidence and the attribution of hazardous chemical and biological materials. Phase 1 has now closed, but larger phase 2 competition is open to new bidders. 

Proposals requesting up to £100k will be considered in phase 1, with a second phase for larger projects to be announced. 

•Jointly funded by UK MoD and US DoD here. 

UK-Singapore Collaborative R&D 

Aim: funding of business-led innovative, technically risky collaborative R&D between UK and Singapore leading to new product, industrial process or service. High market potential must be evident. Sectors of particular interest include manufacturing and materials, Agrifood tech, health and life sciences, mobility and transport, cybersecurity. 

Eligibility: Lead must be a UK registered business and collaborate with a separate Singapore registered business. At least one UK SME must be included. 

Costs and Duration: Feasibility – £350k maximum grant, duration 24-36 months. 

Key Dates: closes 20th April 2022 @ 11:00 

•Further information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

DASA: Catch the ChemBio SCENT! 

Could be of interest to NBIC partners or researchers with a novel approach to detecting and identifying biological materials present in small quantities for forensic analysis. 

UK-Singapore Collaborative R&D 

There may be opportunities for NBIC SME, business partners or researchers to engage with existing actors in the automotive supply chain where, for example, bio-fouling, contamination, monitoring surfaces or catalysing processes during manufacture is relevant. 

Various Funding Sources: Innovation Support competitions (2)

UKRI: Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): five rounds for 2022 to 2023; round 1 closes 06 April 2022. 

•Standard KTP scheme. Comprehensive application process. 

Typically project costs are expected to be £75 k per annum, part of this expected to be funded by the business partner; 12 – 36 month projects. 

•Technology and Management KTPs possible. 

Opens: 14 February 2022; R1 closes: 06 April 2022. R2 closes: 15 Jun 2022. R3 closes: 14 Sept 2022. More information. 

Innovate UK: Health Technology Regulatory and Innovation Programme : £7 m fund 

Supported by the CPI (part of High-Value Manufacturing Catapult) and the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI). 

Aim: This initiative is to help HealthTech SMEs to navigate regulatory processes, as the MHRA is consulting on future regulation of medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics. MDR and IVDR are changing for supplying into the EU. 

Dates: open: 14th Feb 2022; closes: 31st May 2022. A rolling call, allowing for weekly reviews & distribution of funds; first-come, first-served basis. 

Funding: Up to £30,000 (100%) is available per SME to spend with UK, European or global regulatory affairs providers in activities such as global submission support and preparation, technical road mapping, and guidance on regulatory standards. 

Application: straight-forward, web-based application form: five key questions 

•Project to be completed before 19 Aug. 2022. 

•Apply here. 

•contact email: healthtechprogramme@uk-cpi.com 

NBIC Relevance: 

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs): 

NBIC partners may find the KTP scheme a useful way to involve a graduate-researcher from academia into their business. This route often leads to a recruitment opportunity, as well as improved working relationship with the researcher’s university. 

Health Technology Regulatory and Innovation Programme 

NBIC SME partners may find this useful to realise a substantial amount of funding for regulatory costs. Application form suggest that universities may also apply (TBC). 

NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) i4i PDA (Product Development Awards): Competition 24


Scope of Call: Medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and tier 3a digital health technologies. Aim: Support translational R&D of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for NHS use.

Available funding: total £unspecified Project costs: no upper funding limit; duration: 24 (min) to 36 (max) months. Grant: 100%;

Eligibility: Lead: SME, NHS provider or HEI Must be collaborative between any two eligible organisation types, maximum 7 co-applicants

Dates: Competition 24: Stage 1 open: 23 Mar 2022, closes 10 May 2022 Stage 2: open: 9 Aug 2022, close 28 Sept 2022 (13:00) 

Key Considerations 

•2022 competition calls announced. 

Project lead applicant must be an SME, NHS provider or HEI based in England. 

Up to seven co-collaborators allowed. 

A designated PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) lead must be identified. 

The inclusion of public co-applicants is beneficial, if justified. 

Proof-of-Concept (PoC) must have been shown. 

Research proposals may address any disease or health area where there is an unmet need. 

Involvement of patients/service users is expected. 

•Two stage application: 

EoI (stage 1) 

Project-focused business plan (stage 2). 

General Recommendations: 

Early stage research or discovery is not fundable under this competition, and experimental data should be given to support the case for further development 

A commercial strategy must be given taking into account all aspects including regulatory pathway, IP and health economics 

A plan for future adoption into the NHS must be presented. 

Project could be a feasibility study for application of tech from sector outside health 

Two stage programme: stage 1 applicants will be shortlisted and, if successful, invited to submit a stage 2 application. Stage 2 assessed and interviewed by a selection committee. 

•Eight criteria will be assessed. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

This topic is of relevance to all NBIC themes, P, D, M & E

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

•Targeted at the healthcare sector specifically. 

R&D of medical devices and in vitro diagnostic devices, including product design, scale-up, IP, safety and efficacy studies, health economics, CE marking. A novel output of the project must be evidenced. 

The target user is the NHS in the first instance; commercialisation partner could be a provider of services or product to the NHS. 

Target application must be somewhere that a clear clinical need and patient benefit can be shown. 

Project should show how it will change clinical practice, provide patient benefits real clinical impact, cost savings and commercial return. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

P: protection of surfaces, cleaning and re-use of clinical instruments. 

D: sensing of microbial contaminants, in vitro detection and identification of pathogens. 

M: decontamination of surfaces, applying preventative surfaces to reduce cross-contamination, destruction of biofilms for improved healthcare. 

E: laboratory cultures for identifying or developing anti-microbial agents, development of screening processes using bio-film based instrumentation. 

Key Collaborators 

NHS providers, patient groups, research institutions. 

NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) i4i Challenge: Competition 13 – stage 1 closed; stage 2 opening soon


Scope of Call: Medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and tier 3a digital health technologies.

Aim: To support market-ready innovation by addressing the gap between clinical evaluation and adoption through funding assessment in real-world settings

Available funding: total £unspecified Project costs: £No upper limit: Up to 3 years. Grant: 100%;

Eligibility: Lead: England based SME, NHS providers, HEIs Must be collaborative and include an NHS provider (up to 7 co-applicants)

Dates: Competition 13: Stage 1 closed 12 Jan. 2022 Stage 2: opens: 23 March 2022, closes 11 May 2022. 

Key Considerations 

Project lead applicant must be based in England. 

Collaborators/subcontractors from elsewhere can be included if justified. 

Collaborators must include NHS Trust or other health provider. Additional collaborators may be included. 

Technologies must have demonstrated safety and efficacy and have obtained, or be in process of obtaining, CE marking. 

Timeline for project should be based on need. Up to five years can be considered if a strong case is made. 

Applications must be made through the Research Management System, link on NIHR website. 

General Recommendations: 

This competition is to support the introduction of technologies that have been clinically evaluated, but not demonstrated in a healthcare setting. 

Any disruptive medical device or in vitro diagnostic tool with clear and demonstrable benefit for NHS patients. 

A research plan must be included showing involvement of patients/service users, carers, the public and any other key stakeholders. 

Expected impact of the research must be clearly shown. 

Two stage programme: stage 1 applicants will be shortlisted and, if successful, invited to submit a stage 2 application. Stage 2 assessed and interviewed by a selection committee. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

This topic is of relevance to all NBIC themes, P, D, M & E

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

•Targeted at the healthcare sector specifically. 

Demonstration of medical devices (including AI) and in vitro diagnostic devices with, or planning to achieve, CE marking. 

The target user is the NHS and NHS service provider must be a collaborator. Other collaborators (including HEIs) are permitted. 

Proposed technology must be disruptive, must have demonstrated safety and efficacy already and must therefore be market-ready, but in need of demonstration in healthcare settings in order to achieve further investment. 

•Clear clinical need and patient benefit for NHS patients must be shown. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

P: protection of surfaces, cleaning and re-use of clinical instruments. 

D: sensing of microbial contaminants, in vitro detection and identification of pathogens. 

M: decontamination of surfaces, applying preventative surfaces to reduce cross-contamination, destruction of biofilms for improved healthcare. 

E: laboratory cultures for identifying or developing anti-microbial agents, development of screening processes using bio-film based instrumentation. 

•Key Collaborators 

oNHS providers, patient groups, research institutions. 

Research Councils : Other competitions (1)


EPSRC: Discipline-hopping in ICT 

Relevant for researchers with non-ICT expertise looking to learn ICT research skills and apply them in their home discipline. 

3 – 4 month support of salary and T&S at 80% FEC. 

Now open, no closing date. Find out more here. 

BBSRC standard research grant: 

Funding of up to £2 m for up to five years for biotechnology research projects in plants, microbes, animals and tools / technology. 

There are several priority areas listed. Working with partners is encouraged. 

Industrial partners are encouraged through industrial partnership awards, contribution of at least 10% of FEC or collaborative at 50% industry funding. Next application deadlines for assessment: 27th April 2022, 28th September 2022. 

Open, no closing date. Find out more here. 

•Research England Development (RED) Fund: 

Collaboration between higher education providers and industry/business partners to increase effectiveness of research for societal benefit. 

Quality Related Research (QER) funding in the form of block grant. Contribution expected from collaborating business. 

Panel dates for 2022: 14th April 2022, 19th July 2022, 18th October 2022, and 9 December 2022. 

Open, no closing date. Find out more here. 

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) : £230 million (Partners involved are Research England, Office for Students) 

This fund supports a broad range of knowledge-based interactions between HEPs (higher education providers) and the wider world which might result in economic and societal benefit to the UK. 

There is a review ongoing at present, with a new timetable now expected to be published in late 2022, giving the phased plan for implementation. Open now, no closing date. Find out more here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

There are a number of calls open to researchers from NBIC academic partners that could support development of applications of biofilms in medicine, bioscience and manufacturing, and which might be supported by NBIC industrial partners, which could lead to innovation transfer or to knowledge transfer using one of the KTP instruments. 

The discipline hopping opportunity is an opportunity for researchers to develop their ICT skills, and perhaps become better qualified or able to work with industrial partners, perhaps through a KTP scheme. 

The RED fund may be of interest to researchers looking to collaborate with industry by providing solutions to ongoing challenges. 

There are a number of partnership programmes available through BBSRC that support collaborations with international researchers, which might also be of interest to NBIC Industrial Partners to work with research partners in order to establish international links and opportunities. 

The HE Innovation Fund could be of interest to NBIC industrial and academic partners wishing to explore opportunities to widen application of biofilm research across a broader field and wider international application. 

Research Councils: Other competitions (2)


EPSRC: Healthcare technologies investigator-led grant 

For researchers in engineering, physical sciences, ICT and mathematical sciences wanting to apply their research to health challenges. 

•Collaboration with healthcare professional, industry and other relevant partners is strongly encouraged. 

Project sizes: small short-term grants to multi-million-pound research programmes. No limit on grant or length of project. 

Open now, closes 31st March 2022 @ 16:00 NB no pre-registration required. Find out more here.

EPSRC: Manufacturing the future 

•Support for engineering and physical sciences research looking at key challenges facing manufacturing in the UK. 

•Includes chemistry and materials. 

•Up to £2 m. 

Open now, no closing date. Find out more here. 

UKRI-SBE lead agency opportunity 

•Collaborations between UK and US researchers in any discipline including biotech. 

Submission of EoI to NSF and UKRI for consideration. 

Maximum award £1 m, currently open, no closing date. Find out more here. 

Addressing environmental challenges: NERC highlight topics 2022 

Funding to address one of seven environmental highlight topic research challenges, including eco-evolutionary drivers of emerging anti-fungal resistance, microbial community dynamics and others. 

•Grants awarded to eligible HEIs and Research Organisations and must address one of the highlight topics 

Award range £2.5M – £5M, closes 23rd March 2022. Find out more here. 

NERC large grant to tackle big environmental science questions – closing soon 

Funding to support innovative, large-scale and complex projects that tackle big science questions and have the potential to produce world-leading research associated with NERC’s remit. Can be pure, technology led or policy driven research. 

•Grants awarded to eligible HEIs and Research Organisations in any area of environmental science. 

Award range £1.2M – £3.7M, closing date for outline proposals: 8th March 2022 @ 16:00. Find out more here. 

EPSRC: Manufacturing the future 

Looking for researchers in engineering, physical sciences, information and communications technologies and mathematical sciences who want to apply their expertise to manufacturing challenges. Collaborations with other researchers and industry are encouraged. 

•Grants awarded to eligible UK based employees at an eligible HEI or Research Organisation. Up to £3 m available per quarter. 

Max Award £2M, Open now, no closing date. Find out more here. 

MedTech Navigator Innovation Grants - now closed; further calls may open up.


Scope of Call: 

Innovation grants to facilitate interactions between Med Tech SMEs and Knowledge Providers during product development. 

For example, help to develop or test new or improved products, processes and services. 

Applications assessed on novelty of innovation, clinical need, value for money, strength of team.

Available Funding: 

Up to £7,500 grant (50% of total project cost).

Dates: Open call, next deadline 22 February 2022 Further calls not currently anticipated 

Key Considerations: 

SME applies for and justifies knowledge collaboration. 

Simple application process with regular awards committee reviews. 

•Typical projects include: 

Help to develop or test new or improved products, processes and services. 

Access to information and expertise on care pathways and workflows 

Tapping into clinical and scientific expertise. 

Applicants from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough areas are priority, but applicants from elsewhere in the UK can apply 

General Recommendations: 

Health stakeholders should be involved in any bid, such as patient groups, clinicians or NHS organisations. 

Teaming with an NHS Trust or medical device manufacturer would be beneficial. 

University medical departments are also regarded as a knowledge provider. 

The currently open call closes on 22 February 2022, projects must conclude by 31 July 2022 

Knowledge sharing and partner discovery/access can be accessed through the MedTech CONNECT portal. More information here. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

Could apply to all NBIC themes, drawing on expertise supportive of SMEs.


•UK SME led, collaboration with university (or NHS/medical organisation). 

•Links with, e.g., the Southampton medical school, would be helpful. 

Could form part of an existing relationship between NBIC and health SME, or help to establish new relationship. 

Any MedTech SME needing expertise to support development or testing can access NBIC as a knowledge provider. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

oThe grants facilitate interaction between SMEs and knowledge providers on any aspect of healthcare, therefore any aspect of PDME could come into play. 

Possible application of Biofilms 

oFund covers any aspect of health and medical technology, and so any of the many health applications of biofilms already in development through NBIC are relevant. 

oFund could support an existing link between an SME industry partner and NBIC research institution. 

Key Collaborators 

oUK SMEs associated with NBIC. 

oRTOs or health trusts as knowledge providers. 

oUniversities / Research Institutes from NBIC. 


Merck 2021 Research Grants - now closed; new calls expected 2022


Scope of Call: 

Grants available to scientists in all career stages who are affiliated with any research-based institution, university or company. 

Grants offered to stimulate innovative research in challenging areas of future importance.


Grants of €100k – 500k (depending on topic) per year for up to three years, with the option of an extension. 

Can apply for more than one grant, or more than one focus topic 

Initial non-confidential application; successful ones invited to submit full proposal.


Submission deadline closed 

Deep-dive workshops Nov/Dec 2021 

Now closed – new calls expected in 2022 

Key Considerations: 

•Topic areas of interest 2021 are: 

•Drug Discovery 

•Real time testing and sensors 

•Nanoparticle for nucleic acid delivery 

•Digital innovation 



•Media recycling for cultured meat 


The research topics are looking for new technologies and approaches that will apply to new and emerging challenges in the health and environment sector. 

Details of the expectations under each of the topics of interest are given on the linked web-page. 

Knowledge of the commercial expectations of Merck will be important. 

General Recommendations: 

Knowledge, competence, access to facilities and innovative ideas will support a bid. 

Connection to, or collaboration with, a clinical or healthcare provider will add credibility and knowledge of the user. 

Innovative thinking, bringing technologies applied to non-health sectors into the health domain will be of interest. 

Applications will be scored on the criteria of: innovativeness; commercial potential; path forward after 3 years; probability of success; team strength; strategic fit. 

Successful applicants will be invited to a ‘deep dive’ workshop with Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, costs paid by Merck. 

Purpose: jointly optimise the submitted proposals. 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

Aligns with all NBIC themes, esp. Prevent and Detect, and applies to the improved health sectorial challenge and environmental challenge. 

Research within an NBIC partner institution relevant to vaccine or drug delivery platforms, pathogen control, biosensors or bioprocessing could be proposed.

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

Involvement can create connections between NBIC research and commercial partners, including the pharmaceutical industry. 

Merck are seeking entry to wider markets (e.g., cultured meat production) and research proposals that broaden the application space will be of interest.

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

oPrevent: Any application of biofilms that supports identification or categorisation of future health threats. 

oDetect: any platform using biofilms for screening or diagnostics of infections in patient management. 

oManage: testing, vector control and delivery systems for emerging health threats. 

oEngineer: applications of biofilms in drug delivery, monitoring etc.. 

•Possible application of Biofilms 

oAppear to be many relevant biofilm applications at PoC level already underway that are relevant and could form the basis of a bid. 

Key Collaborators 

oThese are research proposals seeking tech solutions towards pandemic preparedness, therefore led by an NBIC researcher or team supported by access to other researchers through NBIC. 

Horizon Europe: Update – February 2022


Latest Update: 

Although Horizon Europe projects are seen as working alongside, or complementing, Innovate UK funded programmes, the fact remains that Horizon Europe bids are far more complicated to assemble with considerably greater administration costs than Innovate UK bids. 

•Pulling together an international team can be challenging to manage, especially for a small business. 

However, project scale is greater, as is the time allowed for bids to be prepared. 

Some calls are more competitive than others, and overall budgets are higher. 

Before embarking on an European bid, it makes good sense to take advice on whether the time spent on bidding is likely to prove cost effective. 

The National Contact Point (NCP) network is available to help and guide those wanting to find out more about opportunities and participation, or lead bids into the Horizon Europe programme. There is a list of NCPs and their sectors here. 

The currently published work programme is for 2021/22, and therefore many of the calls have now closed, with a limited number closing late 2022, of which most are two-stage calls where the first stage has already closed. 

•A useful access page for all programmes and calls is here. 

Access to calls: 

The work programme of most interest at the moment is Work Programme 9: Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment. A link to the work programme can be found here.

Page 136: Topics are: Sustainable Farming; Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture; Transforming food systems for health; sustainability and inclusion – closes 6th September 2022. 

Page 289: Topics are: novel adaptation strategies at molecular level for bio-based innovation; sustainable biodegradable bio-based plastic; improved photosynthesis mechanisms – closes 1st September 2022. 

Page 433: Topics are Development of nature therapy for health and well-being – closes 6th September 2022. 

Each of the calls described in WP9 is two-stage project, and the close date given is for the second stage. It may be possible to join an existing collaboration to strengthen a second stage bid, or to assemble a bid drawing on a first stage submission. 

Work Programme 4 deals with health, but there are a limited range of open calls in this space in the current work programme, with most of them associated with health management rather than aspects in which bio-films may be contributory. The link to the WP4 document is here.

NBIC Relevance: 

As described in the main box, calls with most relevance to NBIC are likely to be in work programme 9, particularly the calls relating to bio-based innovation for food, health and aquaculture, where Detection, Manage and Engineer topics could be presented. 

There are limited opportunities in the health work programme at present; however, the next work programme will contain new opportunities when it is published towards the end of 2022. 

Collaborators from at least two other European countries are generally required, although there are online partner search portals through which small companies can advertise their skills and technology that might be taken up by other project bids or, conversely, relevant partners can be contacted to add skills to a bid. 

Because of the complexity, it is recommended that support is requested early on in the bid process to identify appropriate competitions, discover partners and start the process of planning and assembling a bid. 

Recent Publications Relevant to NBIC Partners

Technical research funded by BEIS covering aspects of low carbon heating technologies 

•Some of the reported research may form a useful reference for projects in preparation in the field of e.g. biomass conversion. More info here. 

Energy Launchpad 

Part of the Energy Systems Catapult this is a new initiative to create an online collaborative space for UK innovators and disruptors in the energy market. Route to collaborations, funding opportunities and support. More info here. 

Financing Innovation for a Sustainable Future

A blog from Christian Inglis at Innovate UK discussing finance options, in particular those relating to green technologies and net-zero. Find out more. 

Health funding map from KTN and the BioIndustry Association 

Intended to assist in the navigation of the health funding landscape, it also supports engagement between innovators in this sector and the KTN. 

•This provides a useful access point for the health funding landscape. Find out more here. 

Report on UK Catalysis 

This report covers the domestic catalyst market in the UK and reviews opportunities for growth in the UK market and expansion of exports. 

•Prepared by the Knowledge Transfer Network on behalf of Innovate UK. More info here. 

Report on UK composites industry, competitiveness and opportunities 

•Produced by BEIS, Innovate UK, HVMC (High Value Manufacturing Catapult) and KTN. 

This is a study of the UK market for fibre reinforced polymer composites (FRPs) – it will be used by BEIS to inform future policy making, and would be a useful pointer to future competition themes. More info here. 

Applying for European Funding – A perspective by Scientifica Ltd 

A helpful blog from Dr Christian Wilms of Scientifica describing his experience of applying for European Funding, with support from KTN and the National Contact Points at Innovate UK. More info here.