Funding competition SBRI: vaccines for global epidemics preclinical stage 2 development

Organisations can apply for a share of £15 million (including VAT) to develop vaccine candidates and technologies in line with UK Vaccine Network priorities.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will invest up to £15 million to support the further development of vaccine:

  • candidates
  • platform technology
  • manufacturing technologies

Your products must:

  • be primarily for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • target human diseases with epidemic potential identified by the UK Vaccine Network, listed below

Proposals must focus on an effective, rapid response to outbreaks of 12 priority diseases:

  1. Chikungunya
  2. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
  3. Ebola
  4. Hantavirus
  5. Lassa
  6. Marburg
  7. Middle East respiratory syndrome
  8. Nipah
  9. Plague
  10. Q fever
  11. Rift valley fever
  12. Zika

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

Funding type


Project size

Total project costs can be up to £2 million, including VAT. It must start by 1 September 2018 and can last up to 2 years.

Who can apply

To lead a project, you must have been awarded funding in the first vaccines for global epidemics preclinical competition, which opened on 17 October 2016. You can work alone or with others from business, the research base or the third sector as subcontractors.


A total of up to £15 million, including VAT, is allocated to this competition. We expect to fund up to 7 projects.

Your application must assign at least 50% of the contract value directly and exclusively to research and development (R&D) services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to support projects looking to develop vaccines, vaccine platform technologies and manufacturing technologies. These must provide an effective, rapid response during future outbreaks of the pathogens listed in the ‘Summary’ tab.

We will support aspects of vaccine candidate development at the preclinical stage. These include, but are not limited to:

  • developing master seed banks
  • vaccine characterisation, formulation and adjuvanticity
  • proof of concept ‘in vivo’ studies
  • animal toxicology studies
  • process finalisation

Process finalisation involves moving from engineering batches to GxP (good manufacturing and/or laboratory practice) activities (such as manufacturing and regulatory safety, pharmacology and toxicology studies). These will support the authorisation of future clinical trials.

We are also interested in supporting early clinical development if the innovation has reached this stage from its stage one activities.

Your proposal must focus on:

  • ease and speed of manufacture
  • ease of use in low and middle income countries
  • temperature stability
  • vaccines that require a single dose or a low number of boosts
  • length of protection
  • serologic markers of efficacy
  • biomarkers or correlates of vaccine safety

Your proposal must:

  • describe the candidate vaccine, vaccine platform technology or manufacturing technology you intend to develop, explaining its relevance to global epidemic disease threats, anticipated clinical application and medical value
  • comply with all regulations
  • demonstrate that the vaccine candidates, platform technologies and manufacturing technologies can have a substantive impact in LMICs
  • describe how the product or capability would be used, where and by whom
  • give evidence that the technologies and models are appropriate and fit for purpose
  • set out how any new manufacturing technologies would have an impact on current manufacturing practices, including in LMICs

This competition is wholly funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA). This means your project can be carried out in high-income countries, but the primary aim of the research must be to improve the health, welfare or economic development of countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s ‘Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list’ of ODA recipients.

Specific themes

DHSC is particularly keen to support the development of:

  • high-risk proof of concept work that applies emerging or existing vaccine platform technologies to the 12 priority diseases
  • vaccine platforms that improve the efficacy of existing vaccination strategies, such as new and improved adjuvants
  • human vaccines based on promising data from animal vaccines or animal models
  • animal vaccines for the 12 priority diseases, where these could be used to reduce the risk of transmission to humans
  • simpler and more efficient vaccine delivery technologies
  • diagnostics for markers of safety and correlates of immunity, including functional correlates of immunity
  • vaccine platforms that can be rapidly adapted for new or re-emerging diseases

We are also interested in supporting ambitious multivalent candidate vaccines that protect against several strains of a single pathogen, or against several pathogens.

For example, you could develop:

  • a multivalent ebola vaccine
  • a multivalent ebola plus marburg vaccine or
  • a vaccine against ebola, marburg and lassa

Project types

Your project must be based on the results of your project from the previous preclinical vaccines competition. It must focus on further product development, including late stage preclinical and early clinical work.

Any vaccine candidates must be ready now or soon for phase 1 human clinical trials. Any manufacturing technology must have the potential to be commercially viable in the near future.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that cover:

  • new agents or technologies not related to the 12 priority diseases
  • the discovery of new immunisation agents
  • the development of animal disease agents with no impact on human health
  • innovations not funded in the previous competition

11 June 2018
Competition opens
20 June 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
27 June 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
13 July 2018
Applicants notified of interview.
24 July 2018
25 July 2018
31 July 2018
Applicants notified

Before you start

To apply:

  • register online using the green button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • complete and upload your online application to our secure server

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality your application. Please use Microsoft Word for the application form. If you use Google Docs or any other open source software your application will be ineligible.

Background and further information

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services.

It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

Questions related to the particular requirements of this competition should be addressed directly to

If you want help to find a project partner, 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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