Funding competition Manufacturing readiness and scale up of genomic analysis technologies

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million to increase the manufacturing capacity of innovative genomic analysis technologies.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects. This is to increase the UK commercial capacity to manufacture real time or rapid genomic analysis equipment such as high throughput nucleic acid sequencing.

A business must lead and can carry out the project on their own or in collaboration with others (businesses, research organisations, Catapults, or academia).

The grant must be claimed before 31 March 2019.

The investment will be funded under the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) from data to early diagnostics and precision medicine.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email us before you apply.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total costs should be up to £10 million. Projects must start in October 2018 and end by 31 March 2019. Projects should last 3 to 5 months.

Who can apply

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business of any size
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • work alone or in collaboration with others (for example businesses, research base and third sector)
  • have a manufacturing facility for genomic analysis technologies

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The lead organisation must claim funding through this competition. If the project is collaborative, at least one other organisation in the consortium must also claim funding.

For all research organisations, the total level of project participation is set at a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs.

Any one business may lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to 3 applications.

An academic institution or RTO cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

Projects may include partners that do not 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.

This competition is for capital investment, including refurbishment and equipment. Funding cannot go towards salaries or consumables. Capital can include the cost of setting up equipment but not the costs of maintenance or staff.

Purchased equipment or refurbishment should be used for scale up of genomic analysis technology manufacturing at least 80% of the time.

The maximum funding for eligible project costs is:

  • up to 50% if you are a business (of any size)
  • up to 100% if you are a non-profit distributing research organisation

Successful applicants must spend and claim their grant by 31 March 2019.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Your project should focus on investment aid for research infrastructures that perform economic activities. Support given for construction or upgrade of research infrastructures that perform economic activities is considered to be state aid and is limited to 50% of the investment costs. This is in line with the State Aid General Block Exemption Guidance. Please read the guidance on page 17 of this document, especially if you are a research organisation. The worked example is:

A research infrastructure that is predominately non-economic but is used for contract research (an economic activity) 30% of the time and costs £10 million can receive £8.5 million public funding towards its construction: 100% for the 70% non-economic portion (£7 million) and 50% for the 30% economic (£1.5 million).

Your proposal

Your idea will be subject to a 2 stage assessment consisting of this application and an interview panel.

Projects need to demonstrate that the capital investment grant they are requesting will:

  • advance the UK’s ability to manufacture genomic analysis technologies
  • encourage partnerships between public and private organisation
  • maximise further investment

We support organisations that can set out a clear vision of how they will encourage partnerships with companies, universities and other research establishments. You should detail the new products that you will manufacture as a result of the capital investment.

You must have a clear plan for the translation and commercialisation of any research that the capital enables you to conduct. To maximise the impact of this investment, applicants should build on existing UK infrastructure and not recreate capabilities without justification.

Examples of in-scope applications include, but are not limited to, bids that aim to:

  • create an infrastructure that will fast-track the research, development, production and commercialisation of genomics or nucleic acid analysis and diagnosis technologies
  • increase the UK commercial capacity production of these technologies
  • increase the competitiveness of the lead company as a manufacturer
Technologies within scope, which can include physical and digital analysis tools, include (but are not limited to) those that offer advances in:
  • longer-read lengths or greater accuracy, in nucleic acid sequencing technologies
  • purification, selection or amplification technologies
  • epigenetic analysis platforms, such as analysis of DNA methylation patterns
  • diagnostics products based on genetic signatures or variation for hospital, primary care, or field use
  • pathogen identification
  • integration across 'omics technologies, for example, technologies which integrate data generated from multiple 'omics analysis streams (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics)

The equipment to be manufactured can be either laboratory-based, or portable and field-deployable and enable genomic analysis with minimal sample preparation.

Technologies which can find end users in niche areas such as research, environment and justice are eligible. Also eligible are technologies ready for larger scale use in healthcare markets. In both these instances the product must focus on human health applications in the longer term.

The technology should represent a significant step-change over existing equipment options and offer disruptive market potential.

Specific themes

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • can deliver within the timescale
  • can demonstrate in house or through partnerships, experience in the manufacturing of complex technologies to meet high customer and regulatory expectations
  • can demonstrate they are able to co-fund
  • simplify multistep manufacturing processes
  • reduce product and production variability
  • ease quality control and release testing
  • introduce increased automation
  • lower the cost of goods

You must show that your project will be compliant with all relevant general state aid regulations.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • genomics discovery projects
  • early stage genomic analysis technology development projects, such as proof-of concept or translation
  • genome sequencing or other 'omics analysis projects
  • expansion of manufacturing within an academic or clinically managed facility
18 June 2018
Competition opens
22 June 2018
Online briefing event. Watch the recording.
11 July 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
18 July 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
3 August 2018
Invite to interview.
16 August 2018
Interview panel.
24 August 2018
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

To apply:

  • register online using the green button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • consider attending one of the briefing events listed in ‘Dates’
  • complete and upload your online application to our secure server

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

External, independent experts will assess the quality your application. We will then select the projects to fund, building a portfolio of projects that:

  • are high quality
  • address the range of themes as described in the scope
  • represent the potential for return on investment for the company and the UK

Subject to meeting the quality threshold, we reserve the right to manage the portfolio to achieve the correct balance of projects and funding.

Please use Microsoft Word. If you use Google Docs or any other open source software your application will be ineligible.


If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview, where you will need to give a presentation.

Presentations should be a maximum of 40 minutes in length, with no more than 30 slides (using Microsoft PowerPoint). Please do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 60 minutes of questions and answers.

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email we will send inviting you to an interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date.

Up to 3 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on the published interview date. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

You will be expected to answer questions based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

Background and further information

UK Research and Innovation, through Innovate UK, will invest up to £5 million to support businesses working in genomic analysis, nucleic acid-based diagnostics, and related areas. This is to take products to market by supporting technology manufacturing capital projects. It is part of the delivery of the £210 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment in From Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine.

Innovate UK recognises that there are particular challenges with the scale-up of production of innovative and complex analysis. The purpose of this funding, therefore, is to invest in capital projects to enable the scale-up of existing facilities for the manufacturing of such technologies.

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.

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

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

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