Funding competition Biomedical Catalyst 2022 Round 2: Industry-led R&D

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £25 million to develop innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges. This funding is from Innovate UK.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation is to invest up to £25 million in projects to support UK registered businesses to develop innovative solutions to address significant health or healthcare challenges.

Your project can focus on:

  • disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions
  • earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to better patient outcomes
  • tailored treatments that either change the underlying disease or offer potential cures
  • transforming the delivery of healthcare

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

The Industry led research and development (R&D) stream of the Biomedical Catalyst programme supports pre-market R&D projects. Applicants must be able to demonstrate existing evidence of commercial and technical feasibility.

Applications must show how they will improve the competitiveness and productivity of at least one UK SME involved in the project.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total costs must be between £150,000 and £4 million. The total grant cannot exceed £2 million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total project costs between £150,000 and £4 million
  • not exceed a grant request of £2 million
  • have at least 50% of the total project costs shared by the SMEs, if collaborative
  • start by 1 May 2023
  • end by 30 April 2026
  • last between 6 months and 36 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application. If you have requested an overall grant of over £500,000, and your online application is successful at Stage 1, you may be invited to attend an interview.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarussian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

If your total project’s costs or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your request has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).


Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

For collaborations, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs. Extenuating circumstances where overseas work may be allowable include, for example; clinical trial in a specific patient population. The application assessors will be asked to judge whether you have sufficiently made a case for the use of overseas subcontractors.


Number of applications

An SME can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If an SME is not leading on any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

An RTO, a large business, academic institution, charity, not for profit, or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:



Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.


Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must at all times make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

Up to £25 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

·80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic

·100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of this industry-led R&D competition is to support the development of innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges.

We will only support innovation projects conducted to the highest standards of animal welfare.

Further information is available at the UKRI Good Research Hub and NC3R’s animal welfare guidance .

Your project can include:

  • experimental evaluation (at laboratory scale)
  • use of in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate proof of concept or safety
  • exploring potential production mechanisms
  • prototyping
  • product development planning
  • intellectual property protection
  • a demonstration of clinical utility and effectiveness
  • a demonstration of safety and efficacy (including phase 1 and 2 clinical trials)
  • regulatory planning


We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations are highly encouraged where appropriate in the proposal. Applications will continue to be assessed on their innovation merit, where innovation is defined as the potential for commercially successful exploitation of ideas.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on any health or healthcare sector or discipline.

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

Your project can align with one or more of the following Innovation areas:

  • biosciences
  • advanced therapies (gene and cell therapies)
  • diagnostic, medical technology and devices
  • digital health
  • independent living and wellbeing
  • precision medicine
  • preclinical technologies and drug target discovery
  • therapeutic and medicine development
  • data driven health

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • are fundamental research or feasibility projects
  • are not related to human life sciences
  • focus on a product that is already on the market
  • focus on laboratory accreditation
  • are conducted to anything less than the highest standards of animal welfare
  • are dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage - for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product
15 August 2022
Competition opens
23 August 2022
Online briefing event: join at 11:30am
12 October 2022
Close date
12 October 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
5 December 2022
Invite to interview
16 January 2023
Interview start
20 January 2023
Interview end
27 January 2023
Applicants notified
27 January 2023
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

1.Project details.

2.Application questions.

3.Finances.

Interviews

If you have requested an overall grant of over £500,000, and your online application is successful at stage 1, you may be invited to attend an interview with the major investment panel (MIP), where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place online. The date and time of your interview will be included in your invitation.

The MIP will score each project in line with scoring matrices. They will recommend a ranked list of applications for Innovate UK and its affinity partners to fund. Funding decisions are solely made based on the recommendations of the MIP and not on the scores from the original written assessment.

We aim to build a portfolio that is consistent with the spend profile of available funding. Innovate UK reserves the right to maximise the funding available across high-quality projects. This means that the portfolio of projects funded may not follow a strict ranked sequence of the assessors’ scores, but they will all meet or exceed the agreed quality line throughout our independent external assessment process.

Before the interview and by the deadline stated in the invitation email, you:

  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides
  • can send a written response to the assessors’ feedback

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 3 people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 10 minutes
  • have no more than 10 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview.

Written response to assessor feedback

This is optional and is an opportunity to answer the assessors’ concerns. It can:

  • be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document
  • include charts or diagrams

Interview

After your presentation the panel will spend 20 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on the information you provided in your application form, presentation and the response to feedback.

After your interview

The panellists will individually score your application and these will be averaged for your overall interview score. This score will supercede the one you received from initial assessment unless stated otherwise in the competition brief. We will notify you whether you have been successful or not by email and you will receive feedback on your interview within a week of notification.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Team members must each complete an Equality Diversity and Inclusion survey. The lead applicant must complete their survey to submit the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from question 1. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess.

You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation, subcontractors, or any partners working on the project. We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Need or challenge

What is the healthcare need, citizen challenge, business or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the healthcare or business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • if you are aware of any limitations with available solutions, including those that are close to market or in development
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Question 3. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Explain:

  • how you will respond to the healthcare need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the current market offering and those that you have identified as being close to market or under development
  • whether the innovation will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how your solution compares to the current gold standard if your project addresses a specific health or healthcare need

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • the role of any external party that is necessary for the successful completion of the project and fully justify the use of subcontractors
  • the justification for the use of any overseas contractor, rather than a UK organisation
  • if your project is collaborative, the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure

You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe:

  • the target markets for the project outcomes, any other potential markets (domestic, international or both)
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 6. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?

Explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 7. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe and, where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe and, where possible, measure:

  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 8. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?

Explain:

  • the main work packages of your project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones, taking into account the possible impact of further COVID-19 restrictions

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?

Explain:

  • what advantages public funding would offer your project, for example, appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market (this list is not exhaustive)
  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • what other routes of investment you have already approached
  • what your project would look like without public funding
  • how this project would change the R&D activities of all the organisations involved

Question 11. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of your project goals, explain:

  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor, including overseas, costs and justify why they are critical to your project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) was established in 2012, and identified a market failure in terms of access to funding for early stage UK life sciences companies.

Life Sciences industry is a core pillar of the UK economy and is specifically referenced in the Build Back Better document published by HM Treasury in March 2021. The market failure identified in 2012 is still present.

Further information can be found in the Biomedical Catalyst guidance.

The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) has 3 key objectives:

  • deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector
  • deliver innovative life sciences products and services into healthcare more quickly and effectively
  • provide support to academically and commercially led R&D

Data sharing

Innovate UK is directly accountable to you for its holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information It is held in accordance with its Information Management Policy.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@iuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Need help with this service? Contact us