May 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 


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

Innovate UK: Smart April 2022


Scope of Call: 

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

Strong business and delivery plan showing great market opportunity and good value for your business and the economy 

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.


•UK registered business or RTO. 

RTOs must partner, academics cannot lead.

Dates: closes: 27 July 2022 (11:00) 

Project start: by 1 January 2023 (latest), end by 31 December 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. 

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

General Recommendations: 

Note that the conditions of SMART have been updated for this call – bids must be cutting-edge, commercially savvy with clear financial management and strong team. 

Resourcing beyond the end of the project must be evident. 

Commercial exploitation path must be evident for all business partners. 

Strong project management must be evident in the application. 

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. 

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 is £100k. 

For some applicants, more specific technology calls may be more appropriate. 

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: SMART calls now focus more on businesses destined for rapid 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; any application of biofilms or biofilm management in a novel or cutting-edge application with high commercial potential would be in scope. 

Key Collaborators 

oPublic facing organisation giving customer/user component is beneficial. 

oSupport from well resourced industrial partners active in the market 

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

Innovate UK: Biomedical Catalyst 2022 Round 1: Industry-led R&D


Scope of Call: 

Addresses: biosciences, advanced therapies, diagnostics, digital health, precision medicine 

Aim: to support the development of innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges, including experimental evaluation, in vitro and in vivo models, prototyping and trials to demonstrate clinical utility and effectiveness

Available funding: total £15 m 

Project durations between 6 & 36 months, total costs between £150 k – £4 m. 


•UK micro or SME can lead. 

Any size UK business or RTO can partner.

Dates: closes: 25 May 2022 (11:00) 

Project start: by 1 Dec. 2022 (latest), end by 30 Nov 2025 

Key Considerations: 

•Must be led by UK micro or SME business 

Minimum of 50% of total eligible costs must be incurred by SME(s) 

Up to 50% of total eligible costs can be shared by the RTOs in the project 

•Project can include: 

Experimental evaluation of proof of concept. 

•Explore possible production mechanisms 

Demonstration of clinical utility and effectiveness. 

•Single stage application with interview. 

Biomedical Catalyst now incorporates the Health Technology Catalyst and will support digital health projects. 

•Looking in particular for projects focused on: 


•Advanced therapies or diagnostics 

•Independent living and wellbeing 

•Precision medicine 

•Preclinical tech & drug target discovery 

General Recommendations: 

The project needs to show that the work done will support further development of products. 

The product must be an innovative solution to a defined health or healthcare challenge. 

Should show how the outcome of the project would lead to better patient outcomes 

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

Overseas subcontracting must be justified (e.g. for clinical trials outside the UK) and UK contractors approached should be listed, along with the rationale for why they could not do the work. 

All subcontractor costs must be justified (including for UK subcontractors). 

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

Any biomedical technological area aligned to the above aim; thus all NBIC themes are relevant. 

HEI’s cannot lead. 

The development or trials are expected to lead to product development – fundamental research or feasibility projects will not be funded.

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

•Medical products and processes. 

Includes medical devices, advanced therapies, drug discovery and diagnostics and digital health. 

•Projects can be industrial research or experimental development. 

Projects must be led by a micro or SME business. Larger businesses can partner but do not receive grant funding. Academic partners are permitted but cannot lead a project. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

•Depends upon target of trial or development. Could be any of PDME 

Possible application of Biofilms 

Biofilms may be particularly relevant to diagnostics, antimicrobial resistance, drug discovery and medical devices. 

Key Collaborators 

oClinical support for trials from hospital or health trusts. Large medical companies also potentially useful. Academic researchers working in a clinical or microbial area. 

oNBIC researchers and partners may be appropriate partners to a clinical trials or development company giving support for specific biofilm applications or prevention. 

BBSRC Business and Academia Prosperity Partnership


Scope of Call: 

Funding to support established research partnerships between business and academic institutions. 

Aims to increase UK national prosperity by increased R&D and subsequent product, service or technology development.


Total fund of £11M. Notional £200k FTDA bid per project. 

80% FEC (100% for talent training) which must be matched by commercially generated cash from the business lead. 

Projects of up to 5 years considered.


Outline Submissions deadline 8 September 2022 

•Interview panels October 2022. 

Full proposals deadline February 2023. 

Key Considerations: 

Bids must be led by the business lead, but submission of documentation is by the academic partner through JeS. 

Multiple business partners can collaborate and can share matched funding contribution. 

•Projects should consider how they might: 

Deliver new or improved services. 

Drive efficiencies or cost reductions. 

Enable expansion to new sectors or markets. 

Jointly author high-impact publications. 

R&I should be focused on bioscience and biotechnology (at least 50%). 

Other research areas can be included, and other Research Councils may also contribute to the funding. 

General Recommendations: 

The collaboration should be in existence and demonstrable. 

Benefits to regional economy should be emphasised, such as in economic growth, skills development or job creation/retention. 

Bid should show how the work will stimulate innovation aimed at tackling major UK and World challenges. 

Should show how the business/research relationship is to be evolved as a result of the project. 

There are restrictions on what are ‘eligible cash contributions’ from the business partner, which must be commercially generated. 

Multi-disciplinary projects are encouraged, but the bioscience / biotech component must constitute at least 50& of the work. 

Bidders should show that both business and academic partners will contribute to the research and innovation proposed.

NBIC Theme (PDME) Alignment: 

Aligns with all NBIC themes. Any topic within bioscience shared between existing NBIC partner businesses and academic partners can be relevant. 

An existing research project ongoing between NBIC partners and academics could be further supported through one of these grants.

Sectors and Market Alignment: 

Involvement can strengthen the working relationship between NBIC partners and researchers. 

Any sector within biotechnology or a related technology where biotech is a component could be proposed. 

A current project supported through another RC might be extended to include biotech under this competition. 

NBIC Specific Recommendations: 

Relationship to PDME 

oPrevent: Any commercially developed mechanism for preventing the formation of disruptive or degrading biofilms. 

oDetect: Any commercially developed mechanism for detecting the presence of biofilms in industrial or health context. 

oManage: Commercial products for testing, vector control and delivery systems for controlling or exploiting biofilms, e.g. microbiomes. 

oEngineer: Any commercial beneficial applications of biofilms. 

Possible application of Biofilms 

oAn opportunity to take existing research project collaborations towards a commercial product. 

Key Collaborators 

oTwo project PI’s required – lead from industry and academic lead. Other collaborators can be involved if they have an existing research collaboration with either of the principals. 

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: 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. 

EUREKA Clusters Sustainability Call. 

Aim: collaborative research projects between UK and organisations from other participating Eureka Eurostars member countries. Invites innovative RD&I project ideas to make industry more sustainable. 

Eligibility: Must include at least two independent industrial partners from at least two Eurostars countries. Specific conditions are in place for the size and R&D commitment of the UK partner. Should show technical and economic/societal benefits to be achieved. 

Costs and Duration: €5-20M per project, UK limits may apply. Duration up to 36 months. 

Key Dates: Outline submission deadline 2 May 2022, full project submission 30 September 2022. 

•Further information here. 

Farming Innovation Programme – large R&D Partnership Projects 

Aim: Addresses post-farmgate challenges or opportunities to improve productivity, sustainability and environmental aims (i.e. net zero). 

Eligibility: must be UK business of any size and must collaborate with other organisations, including SME AND grant claiming academic or RTO. 

Costs and Duration: total cost £3-5M, duration up to 48 months, with a minimum of 50% of grant claimed by farmers, growers or foresters 

Key Dates: call closes 29 June 2022 at 11:00 am 

•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 Clusters Sustainability Call 

The competition is principally focused on monitoring technologies and use of AI/observational data, although monitoring of biofilms could form part of a multi-disciplinary multi-national collaboration to which an NBIC partner could contribute. 

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

Farming Innovation Programme 

This competition aims to help the farming sector mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the effects of climate change and gain commercial benefit. Opportunity for biofilm management in soils, feed, farm machinery or investigation of beneficial bio agents. 

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

Innovate UK: Clean energy competitions


DEFRA: Farming futures R&D Fund – EoI submission closes 18 May 2022 

Aim: to transform farming productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience whilst moving the sector towards net zero. 

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. Two-stage competition – EoI & full-stage; only successful EoI applicants can apply to full stage competition. 

Costs and Duration: Feasibility: £3M – £6M, up to 48 months. 

Key Dates: closes 18 May 2022 

•Further information here. 

BEIS: Net Zero Innovation Portfolio: £1Bn 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 2022; 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. Further information here. 

Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme 

Funding for projects that can demonstrate end-to-end industrial fuel switching to hydrogen. 

Will cover full technology chain from hydrogen generation and delivery infrastructure through to industrial end-use. 

Will comprise grant-funded demonstration projects and SBRI feasibility projects of up to £400k. 

•Further information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

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

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. 

Relevant themes in the farming futures fund are livestock, plants, food production, bioeconomy and agroforestry. 

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

The Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme is expected to open late April – it is possible to submit an expression of interest through the web link in advance of the opening date. 

Various Funding Sources: Innovation Support competitions (1)

Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC): Spin Out Support Programme – NOW CLOSED Future calls in 2022 

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: closed 3 March 2022. Information on future calls available via 

•Further information here. 

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

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 is closed, but larger phase 2 competition is expected to open during 2022. 

•Application to Phase 2 is not dependent on participation in phase 1. 

•Jointly funded by UK MoD and US DoD. Further information here.

Innovate UK: UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D 

Aim: funding of business-led innovative, collaborative R&D focused on industrial research between UK and South Korea leading to new product, industrial process or service. High market potential must be evident. Sectors of particular interest include manufacturing and materials, Artificial Intelligence (AI), clean energy, battery technologies hydrogen mobility technologies and future vehicles. 

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

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

Key Dates: closes 6 July 2022 at 11:00 

•Further information here. 

PepsiCo: Soil Health solutions which reduce the reliance on synthetic agrochemicals applied to and/or improve soil health – CLOSED 

Responsive mode, project size €250k-€1M, bid deadline 6 May 2022 

•Accessible via NBIC 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. The phase 2 has not yet been opened for applications. 

UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D 

There may be opportunities for NBIC SME, business partners or researchers to engage with existing actors in manufacturing or clean energy 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 2 closes 15 June. 

•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; R2 closes: 15 June 2022. R3 closes: 14 September 2022. R4 closes 16 November 2022. 

•More information here. 

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: 14 February 2022; closed early on 31 March 2022 due to high demand. Retained here in case it re-opens later in the year. 

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 August 2022. 

•To apply visit the CPI website. 

•contact email: 

Innovate UK: Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition Round 2 

Aim: Offers loans to help businesses overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful commercial reality. Relevant specific themes for NBIC partners in this competition are net zero in industrial processes and agriculture/food, engineering biology and environment technologies 

Dates: closes 11 May 2022 at 11:00 am. Two more rounds are planned closing May and July 2022. 

Funding: Loan of between £100k and £2M 

•More information here. 

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, although this may only be for start-ups. The call closed early due to overwhelming demand, but the contact mail should be used by anyone interested in investigating future calls. 

Innovation Loans Competition: 

•These loans can be a useful way to support development and taking to market of a product that is in development. 

NIHR 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 March 2022, closes 10 May 2022 Stage 2: open: 9 August 2022, close 28 September 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 

oNHS providers, patient groups, research institutions. 

NIHR i4i Challenge: Challenge 14


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 14: closes 1 June 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. 

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. 




Scope of Call: Support of rapid turn-around life sciences innovation to test ideas

Aim: Provide a quick yes/no answer or ‘fail fast’ moment for innovation projects, reducing complexity of project applications.

Available funding: total £unspecified Project costs: £15-50k: 3-6 month. Grant: 100%, 90% paid up-front.

Eligibility: Lead: England based SME, NHS providers, HEIs, other RTOs Collaboration with NIHR infrastructure is encouraged. Large companies and corporations are not eligible

Dates: Rolling programme, now open as a pilot. 

Key Considerations 

Project lead applicant must be based in England. Single applicants only. 

Collaboration with NHS trust or other health provider is encouraged but not mandatory. 

•Projects must start within 4 weeks of award. 

Commercialisation potential is not a requirement, but is beneficial. 

Only one FAST award can be held, and there is no re-submission allowed. 

The funding is intended to answer a specific question, and is not a full project. 

Ultimate innovation investigation must fall within the remit of the i4i Programme. 

An NIHR commercialisation agreement will be required. 

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

General Recommendations: 

This is a new scheme, and is worth considering as a mechanism to fund a rapid test of a health-related idea. 

Will fund development of medical devices and in vitro diagnostics or other digital health technologies. 

Will not fund work on animals, cosmetic products, training, impact studies and other described activities. 

Assessment is against potential to address unmet patient needs, strength and feasibility of the project and potential impacts, and these should be clearly described in the application. 

Subcontractors can be used to provide necessary resources, but must be justified and must be within the funding cap. 

Application is a single stage pass/fail process. 

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 potential to convincingly show or prove a concept. 

The target user is the NHS and NHS service provider may be a collaborator. Other collaborators are permitted but activity must be delivered and led by a single applicant. 

Innovations at any stage of development can be funded, provided there is demonstrated proof of concept. 

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, suppression or overcoming anti-microbial resistance 

Key Collaborators 

oNHS providers, patient groups, research institutions, charities. 

Merck 2022 Research Grants


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 31 August 2022 

Deep-dive workshops November 2022 

Key Considerations: 

•Topic areas of interest 2022 are: 

•Drug Discovery 

AI for predictive diagnostics & therapeutic target discovery 

•Chemistry in the cloud 

•Innovation within green chemistry 

•Sustainability in healthcare R&D 

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. Food safety is also of interest.

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 (including product safety for pharmaceutical and food industries) 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. 

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. More information 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: 27 April 2022, 28 September 2022. 

Open, no closing date. More information 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: 19 July 2022, 18th October 2022, and 9 December 2022. 

Open, no closing date. More information 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 an update document available here for information.

Open now, no closing date. More information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

Several 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. 

Several partnership programmes available through BBSRC that support collaborations with international researchers, which may 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: 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. More information 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 £1m, currently open, no closing date. More information here. 

NERC Understanding changes in quality of UK freshwaters 

Funding to investigate how pollutants interact within rivers and ecosystems, including the development of tools to monitor and measure pollution. Collaboration with stakeholders essential. 

•Grants awarded to eligible HEIs and Research Organisations. Partner stakeholders from policy, regulatory or industry expected 

Award up to £2M for up to 4 year project, intent to submit notification by: 27 May 2022 at 16:00, close date for proposals 28 July 2022. 

•More information 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. More information here. 

UK-South Korea Collaborative R&D 

Funding for a game changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services, with evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact and ROI. 

•Open to a UK business of any size collaborating with a South Korean business. Must involve a UK registered micro or SME. 

•Project must focus on one or more of: advanced manufacturing materials, AI or clean energy. 

Grant up to £350k, 24-36 month project. Closing date 6 July 2022. 

•More information here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

Some open calls from EPSRC that could be relevant to NBIC academic partners, and could be supported by NBIC industrial partners. Provides opportunity for knowledge transfer, development of new collaborations or production of further bids for grant funding. 

The UKRI-SBE opportunity, whilst targeted at researchers from academic partners, is an opportunity for UK industrial partners to form partnerships and extend their networks to US research and industry. 

The UK-South Korea programme may give an opportunity for NBIC partners working in green energy or materials to gain international links. 

MedTech Navigator Innovation Grants

MORE INFORMATION HERENow closed; further calls may open in 2022. 

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: Call deadlines now passed, but further calls may come out from this programme during 2022 

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. 

Horizon Europe: Update – April 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 most 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. The next call is expected to be published by October 2022. 

•A useful access page for all programmes and calls can be found here. 

Access to calls: 

The work programme of most interest at the moment is Work Programme 9: Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment. 

Each call 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. 

•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 1 September 2022. 

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

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. The link to the WP4 document is available here. 

NBIC Relevance: 

As described in the main box, open 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 (expected October). It is likely to focus on health and environment, and any project ideas on these topics can start to be outlined now in anticipation of the new calls next year. 

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

Flexibility Innovation Programme 

An update presentation from BEIS published on 5 April 2022. 

•Flexibility innovation programme is part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. Some topics may be of interest to NBIC partners 

•Available here.

Event: ChemUK2022 

Industry event at NEC Birmingham with speakers and exhibitors relevant to chemical industry, including showcase of IBioIC on 11th May 

Link to IBioIC Session here. 

Smart Grants: Exactly who are SMART grants for? 

•Blog post from Innovate UK describing the new structure of SMART grants published 22nd April 2022 

•More information here. 

•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 information 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 information 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. 

•More information here. 

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. 

•Available 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. 

•Available here. 

SMART Grants: how to get your share of SMART funding 

A blog post from Innovate UK discussing whether SMART funding is the right choice for innovative businesses, or whether other, targeted, competitions are more appropriate. Published August 2021 

•More information 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. 

•Available here. 

Science Business news article assessing first year of Horizon Europe work programme 

A useful summary of the challenges and complexity around the Horizon Europe work programme, and the attempts being made by the European Commission to address them in the next round of calls 

•Available 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 

•Available here.