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Covid-19 funding round-up

Posted on 02/04/2020

A round-up of Covid-19 funding opportunities and open calls. Updated 30th June 2020.

This is a round-up of all the funding opportunities available for the fight against Covid-19. If you would like to add a funding opportunity, please contact us.

There are also further opportunities at our initiatives and resources page.

If your study requires collection of samples or health data, see this information from the National Institute for Health Research – Prioritising funding and support for COVID-19 research across the UK.


Further information from KTN

Covid-19 hub page
Covid-19: response from KTN
Covid-19: round-up of initiatives and resources
Covid-19 National Contact points
Covid-19 – Help and support for businesses
Covid-19: regulatory guidance
Covid-19: product specifications

Sustainable Innovation Fund

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £55m to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund (Temporary Framework). The aim of this competition is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of Covid-19. All projects must be led by a business and include at least one SME. Proposals can either be from a single business or a collaboration. Your proposal must show evidence of key challenges as a direct consequence of Covid-19, and how your project can help solve them. In addition, we expect your proposal to ensure that any recovery, growth and opportunity is clean and sustainable.

KTN will be holding an online briefing event on 3rd July at 1pm: click here to register.

The closing date is 29th July: click here for more details.


Innovate UK are also offering £10m in a separate SBRI funding opportunity under the Sustainable Innovation Fund to help develop new products or services, with a further £60m to help phase 1 winners develop their ideas to phase 2.

An online briefing will be held on 2nd July at 11am: click here for details of how to join.

Closing date 5th August: click here for more details.

Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies with good potential, that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19. The scheme will help these companies through the current period of economic disruption and the recovery, so they are able to continue their growth trajectory and reach their full economic potential. The Scheme is designed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank.

The Government has made £250 million available for the Future Fund, and will keep this amount under review. The scheme is initially open for applications until the end of September 2020.

Loans of £125,000 to £5m are available, and must be 100% matched by investors in the company.

For more information, click here.

UWE Bristol's Digital Innovation Fund

WE Bristol’s Digital Innovation Fund will help support SMEs in the West of England that are seeking to innovate and solve new challenges created by the pandemic and will create new employment opportunities.

  • £1m of grants to give to innovative businesses.
  • Grants of £10,000 to £40,000 to fund 35% of project costs.
  • A dedicated team is available to support eligible SMEs in developing projects and applications.

The deadline for applications is 12:00 (midday) on 8 July 2020.

For more information, click here.

Merck Research Grant for Pandemic Preparedness

Merck are offering a grant comprising up to 500,000 €/year for 3 years, with the option of extension.

Proposals will be considered that leverage technological solutions to be more prepared for pandemic outbreaks or solutions that could help to fight emerging viral infections.

Pre-outbreak R&D Preparedness for pandemic disease:

  • Assessing the priority of pathogens and diseases with epidemic threat
  • Platform technologies to accelerate the development of vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, vector control tools and delivery systems needed to control emerging health threats
  • Innovative technologies for better personal protection equipment for infection control

Response during outbreak:

  • Novel health technologies (e.g. AI, bioelectronics, diagnostics) for early screening of potential infected patients and treatment facilitation.
  • Fast-track identifying, testing and production of effective drugs and vaccines during outbreak

There is no fixed deadline for the Pandemic Preparedness funding, since applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis so that we are able to provide a quicker response in these challenging times.

For more information, click here.

Merck also offers other research grants in the areas of drug discovery, bioreactor design for cultured meat, and next generation machine learning; these can be 100,000 EUR – 500,000 EUR per year for up to 3 years, and the deadline for other research areas is 31st August 2020.

DFID’s Frontier Tech Hub #COVIDaction call

The Department for International Development‘s (DFID’s) Frontier Tech Hub #COVIDaction team, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, is seeking innovative approaches to shorten supply chains, pivot manufacturing, source raw materials and create new products to address demand in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. It has launched a call for Local Solutions: the call is seeking innovative, locally designed and produced solutions needed for COVID-19 response: PPE, components of PPE, parts to support production of PPE, and/or other solutions in response to local needs.

Applicants could receive up to £50,000 in grant funding, access to technical experts and match-making to DFID programmes, potential to be published in a virtual showcase and more.

The aim of #COVIDaction is to build a technology and innovation pipeline to support COVID-19 response. The team set out to scan for tech innovation in DFID countries (and globally), cut through the noise, make sense of ‘what’s working’ to then share what has been learned and uncovered as a global, public good.

Click here to find out more and submit an application. Deadline 30th June 2020.

Coronavirus business innovation support package

Loans are available to Innovate UK award holders whose funded projects have been interrupted by Covid-19.

  • Continuity loans: Up to £210 million is available in continuity loans to SMEs and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing a live project for which they are have an award from Innovate UK. Loans are for organisations that that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic. This innovation continuity loan may be suitable if you need funding of between £250,000 and £1,600,000. These will be open until all the funds are allocated or until 31st December 2020, whichever is sooner.

For more details of the funding available, click here.

COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call - UKRI and NIHR

Building on the initial calls of their Initiative, DHSC, through the NIHR, and UKRI are jointly launching a rolling call for proposals for rapid research into COVID-19. This call was a rolling call but a closing date of 30th June 2020 has now been added.

This call also includes a specific call for research to investigate emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes.

This call is for UK-led academic, SME and wider industry research that will address a wide range of COVID-19 knowledge gaps/needs, and which will lead to a benefit in UK, potentially international, public health within 12 months.

For more details, click here.

Travel and subsistence to support low and middle-income country engagement

The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries. The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation.

Applications are open until further notice, on a rolling basis. Applications should ideally be submitted at least 2 weeks before planned travel.

Click here for more details.

UKRI open call for research and innovation ideas to address COVID-19

UKRI will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Proposals will be accepted from anyone who is normally eligible to apply for UKRI funding. Proposals should be sent through this route for any research or innovation relevant to the above regardless of funding Council or whether relevant to multiple Councils.

There is no closing date – proposals can be submitted at any time.

For more information, click here.

Travel and subsistence funding to support LMIC academic engagement

These awards from NIHR will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries.

For more information, click here.

Business Wales Covid-19 Resilience Innovation Project Support

As part of the Welsh Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak, we are looking at supporting Innovative projects that can have a direct impact on how we fight the virus. The Covid-19 Resilience Innovation Project Support can be used to fund;

  • The purchasing of specific equipment
  • Adjustments to existing processes
  • Implementation of new processes

The production of medical devices, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the delivery of sanitising products are all potential areas that could be addressed by the support.

Closes 30th June 2020. No specific funding amount given. Only open to businesses in Wales.

For more information, click here.

Further worldwide funding opportunities


AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative – support for innovation in rapid and accurate patient testing for 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and other diagnostic solutions to mitigate future outbreaks. Reward – technical support and providing AWS promotional credits to support the use of AWS services to advance diagnostic research for selected institutions and companies. Initial submission period ends 30th June 2020.

Call for Code Global Challenge – mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and climate change by creating sustainable solutions using open source technology. $200k top prize, enter by 31st July 2020.

Competitive Fund for Peace and Recovery – Innovation for Poverty Action’s Peace & Recovery Program is accepting off-cycle proposals, capped at $50,000, for time-sensitive additions to research projects that study or support the COVID-19 response. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.

Fast Funding for Covid-19 Science – A new venture fund is offering grants of $10,000 to $500,000 to coronavirus researchers, and every grant decision will be made in less than 48 hours. The fund, Fast Grants, has raised $10 million from 10 backers including Paul Graham, Stripe cofounders John and Patrick Collison, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman. As of 16 April, applications are paused but may reopen in the future: check the site for updates and to sign up for notification of reopening. For more information, click here.

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