Funding competition Precision medicine technologies: shaping the future

UK businesses and research technology organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million to develop precision medicine technologies.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects to support the development of precision medicine (PM) technologies.

Applications can be for either feasibility study projects or industrial research and experimental development projects, although projects may have work packages in different research categories if necessary.

You must explain clearly how your proposed technology will advance precision medicine.

Funding type


Project size

Feasibility study projects: total project costs of up to £100,000 and last up to 12 months. Industrial research and experimental development: total costs up to £2 million and last up to 24 months. Projects must start by 1 November 2018.

Who can apply

All projects must involve at least one UK based business.

Feasibility study projects must be led by a UK based business either:

  • working alone or
  • working with other businesses or research organisations

Research and development projects must:

  • be collaborative and led by a UK based business of any size or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • include at least one other grant-claiming organisation, such as an NHS organisation, another healthcare provider, a business, a Catapult or other research technology organisation, a research base or a third-sector organisation

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, contact us at least 10 days before the application deadline.

A business can take part in no more than 2 applications and may only lead one application.

If an RTO leads, they need to be in collaboration with 2 or more businesses. Please see general guidance for more information

Academics cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

Projects may include partners that don’t receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members
  • communicate our decision to you in writing


If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be classed as a resubmission.

If your application is unsuccessful, you may reapply with the same proposal once more, taking into account the feedback received from the assessors. You can reapply into another round of this competition or another competition. In other words, you can make a maximum of 2 applications in total with any proposal.


We have allocated up to £5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

The research organisations collaborating as part of a consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

You will need to give a detailed explanation for your request using the scope and eligibility criteria to justify the 50%.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to support the commercial development of precision medicine (PM) technologies.

We define precision medicine technology as innovations that enable early and accurate diagnosis which will help with patient management or therapy selection. This includes combining knowledge of clinical biomarkers with advances in diagnostic technologies and data analysis. Precision medicine is also commonly referred to as stratified medicine or personalised medicine.

Successful applicants will be able to analyse and evaluate the commercial potential of a technology, identify the requirements and resources needed to bring it to market and establish the prospects of success in the target market.

You must explain clearly how your proposed technology will improve precision medicine. It must make it easier for medical professionals to choose an appropriate patient treatment. We want you to justify why the proposed technology or service will help with the selection of the most appropriate treatment for the patient.

You can apply to carry out either:

  • a business-led feasibility study
  • collaborative research and development

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, medicine classes, and technological maturities. These may include feasibility studies, industrial research projects or experimental development projects.

Many useful organisations are listed on the Knowledge Transfer Network Landscapes website. We encourage you to contact and work with relevant charities and patient groups when assessing the intended patient and end user need.

Specific themes

For feasibility study projects you must include project plans that demonstrate you intend to:

  • perform initial technical activities
  • clarify the value proposition of the concept
  • work with the relevant organisations and groups to develop a clear understanding of the technical, operational, clinical and regulatory requirements, and the challenges you expect to have in encouraging medical professionals to adopt your technology
  • determine which regulatory and health technology assessment process would be most relevant
  • analyse the progress so far and produce a clear development plan

For collaborative research and development proposals you must follow one of these themes:

  • rapid and accurate diagnosis of commonly misdiagnosed ailments, to help pick cost-effective therapies that are already on the market, such as B12 supplements for pernicious anaemia
  • mental health and precision psychiatry
  • paediatric and maternal-foetal medicine
  • inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis, respiratory, autoimmune, Crohn’s and transplant rejection

Your proposal must demonstrate a clear understanding of:

  • the market potential
  • possible routes to market
  • intellectual property issues
  • commercialisation strategies

Project types

Your project can focus on feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development. This will depend on the challenge. Your project may have work packages in different research categories if necessary.

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

  • up to 70% if you are a small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

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 small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME

Feasibility studies

These projects will help companies understand their technical, operational, clinical, regulatory and adoption challenges.

The work undertaken during a feasibility study can include but is not limited to:

1. Technical development of the product or service, including:

  • developing prototypes and proofs of concept
  • clinical validation of biomarkers towards patient stratification
  • refining bioinformatic algorithms to improve accuracy of diagnosis
  • assessing analytical performance, diagnostic sensitivity and specificity against clinical requirements towards regulatory or health technology assessment

2. Producing a clear value proposition of the product or service to help encourage the healthcare system to use it. This should include:

  • patient and end user needs
  • the required changes to patient pathways
  • commissioning and procurement options
  • health economics
  • adoption drivers, sometimes referred to as the ‘so what?’ question
3. Developing a route to market for the product or service based on early contact and discussions with potential end users. This could include:

direct-to-consumer opportunities integration into pharmaceutical clinical trials

Collaborative research and development

The aim is to develop and trial technologies that can guide decision-making. As well as meeting one of the 4 specific CR&D themes your project should also fit at least one of our 3 main challenge areas.

  1. Developing the ‘next wave’ of diagnostics that will enable early and accurate diagnosis.
  2. Developing products or services that will help predict adverse drug responses in the clinic.
  3. Establishing precision medicine clinical trials.

We also encourage you to work with appropriate UK infrastructure organisations, such as Medtech and In Vitro diagnostics co-operatives (MICs) and the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN).

Projects we will not fund

In this competition we are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet our definition of precision medicine, as described in the Scope tab
  • do not inform treatment decisions
  • focus on drug discovery, biomarker discovery, or diagnostic tests for treatments that are still in development, unless justified as a parallel development, such as a companion diagnostic
14 May 2018
Competition opens
31 May 2018
London briefing event. Watch the recording.
11 July 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
7 September 2018 11:15am
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the project if your application is successful
Collaborating organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions
  3. Finances

1. Project details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it doesn’t, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and length. List any organisations you have named as collaborators.

Project summary

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

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Please 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.

Project scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will give you feedback on why.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. Following assessment, you will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1: Need or challenge

What healthcare challenges will the proposed project address, and what are the problems with the current approaches?


  • what challenges are being addressed
  • what the current approaches are and why the proposed project would be an improvement
  • how you have assessed the healthcare challenge, including working with potential end users such as patients, clinicians and charities
  • what previous work, if any, you have undertaken to address these challenges

Question 2: Proposed solution

What is your proposed solution, and what will be the focus of this project?

Briefly describe:

  • your proposed idea or technology, the main technical challenges you expect and how your project will help solve the healthcare challenge
  • your idea’s state of development or readiness
  • the work you intend to do and the results you hope to produce (more details can be provided in question 4)
  • which organisations you intend to work with and what they will contribute
  • how would the project’s results will be used to improve decision-making processes and treatment selection
  • how it will improve health outcomes or other outcomes, such as quality of life

You may submit an appendix as a PDF no more than 2 pages and 1MB in size to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3: Route to market and value proposition

How will the final product or service be brought to market, and what will encourage healthcare providers or individuals to adopt it?


  • your route to market, including your target customers and end users
  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains
  • how it will fit with your current product, service lines or offering
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets identified during or, if appropriate, after the project
  • the value proposition, explaining what will drive adoption, how it will be paid for, what you have already done to assess the value proposition and what you will do to assess it in the future
  • how you have worked with the UK infrastructure organisations used to help assess areas around market uptake and value propositions, such as the Academic Health Science Networks, Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs), Catapults and NICE, and the areas where they may be able to offer assistance

Question 4: Project plan

What is the project plan, including the work-packages, key project milestones and deliverables?

Describe the:

  • work-packages for the project, including key milestones and deliverables
  • team working on each work-package, and highlight what resources, equipment and facilities will be required to address the technical challenges and how you will access them
  • main success criteria for each work-package
  • technical risks of each work package and any mitigation strategy

You may submit an appendix as a PDF no more than 2 pages and 1MB in size to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5: Markets

What markets you will be targeting in the project (domestic and/or international) and what are the other potential markets?

Describe the:

  • size of the target markets, backed up by appropriate references where available
  • structure and dynamics of the market such as customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • main supply or value chains and business models in operation, and any barriers to entry

Question 6: Team and project management

Who is in the project team, what are their roles and how will you manage the project effectively?


  • the roles, skills and relevant experience of all members of the project team and how this relates to the work they will be undertaking
  • details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between the project partners, and highlight any gaps in the team that will need to be filled
  • the approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used to ensure a successful project outcome
  • the management reporting lines

Question 7: Intellectual property (IP) and freedom to operate review

How are issues around intellectual property being managed?


  • other products on the market and the novelty of the proposed project, including details of any other existing IP and its significance to your freedom to operate
  • the current situation in terms of your own IP, including any patents related to this project and whether there has been a freedom to operate review
  • how any new IP will be managed between the collaborators and what rights any sub-contractors would have over any IP

Question 8: Impact and additionality

What impact might this project have outside the project team? Explain the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.


  • and where possible measure the economic benefits from the project to those outside the project (customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy) such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • and where possible measure any expected social impacts, either positive or negative, on for example: quality of life, social inclusion or exclusion, jobs (safeguarded, created, changed, displaced), education, public empowerment, health and safety, regulations, and diversity, and any expected impact on government priorities
  • and where possible measure any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project
  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make such as faster to market, more partners, reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding (what would happen if the application is unsuccessful)
  • how this project would change the nature of research and development activity the partners would undertake, and related spend

Question 9: Risks

What are the main risks for this project and how will they be monitored and acted on?


  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, clinical trials, regulatory, managerial and environmental risks, including issues such as a partner pulling out or delays in clinical trial recruitment
  • the most significant risks and uncertainties, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated, including how they will be monitored, measured, assessed and acted on, including the milestones and go/stop review points in the project plan

You may upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no more than 2 pages and 1MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10: 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?


  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

Even the best medicines are not equally effective in all patients and have variable degrees of tolerability. Disease processes and treatment choices can vary from person to person even though they may have similar symptoms. It is estimated that only 30% to 70% of patients respond positively to any drug.

Precision medicine is one of the priority themes for Innovate UK’s Ageing Society, health and nutrition sector. This dedicated precision medicine competition allows for a more targeted scope than the sector competitions.

This competition encourages businesses to:

  • engage early with potential customers
  • modify existing patient care pathways
  • gather robust health economic data and investigate clinical commissioning
  • explore complex precision medicine clinical trials

If you want help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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