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Health and Life Sciences Funding Round-Up

Posted on 04/06/2019

Find out about the latest funding calls which are relevant to the Health and Life Sciences sector. Last updated 4th August 2020.

To make it easier to navigate the funding landscape KTN have pulled together the latest open relevant funding calls for the health sector into one place.  Find out more details about each below; if you wish to find out more about further funding opportunities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Health team.


See our Covid-19 funding round-up for all Covid-related funding calls.


Deliver safer and better care for people in Scotland with diabetes, phase 1 (SBRI competition)

NHS Scotland is investing up to £300,000 including VAT, in innovative solutions in 3 challenge areas as follows:

  • Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help develop prediction algorithms and risk stratification for diabetes foot ulceration, amputations and mortality.
  • Improving the clinical care of patients with a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes when admitted to hospital by developing a real-time decision support tool and alert mechanism. The tool must improve triage, prevent medication errors, identify emergencies and streamline the diabetes care pathway.
  • Improving the identification (case finding) of people at risk of osteoporosis and fracture, including those with diabetes.

17 August 2020, 1pm – 3pm: Online briefing event – click here to register. Closing date for applications: 23rd September 2020. For more details of the funding, click here.


The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 2 (de minimis)

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £26 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of The Sustainable Innovation Fund. The aim of this competition is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19. Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £100,000
  • be ready to start by 1 November 2020
  • last between three and six months

Closing date: 2nd September 2020. For more details, click here.


SBRI Healthcare competition: Using digital technology to support psychological therapies

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £345,000 (inc VAT) to develop new solutions using digital technology to provide psychological support.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by NHS Scotland. Successful applicants will receive 100% funding and have access to advice from NHS Grampian.

The aim is to increase availability of psychological care at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for children and young people (CYP) with significant gastrointestinal symptoms but no underlying medical disease. Where there are no biomedical solutions, digital psychological support allows CYP and their families to self-manage symptoms and live a fuller life.

Closing date: 9th September 2020. Click here for more details.


SBRI Healthcare Competition: Urgent & Emergency Care

Could your innovation reduce demand or length of stay in emergency departments? If so, attend a webinar on 15th July about this £100k+ funding call. Click here for more details. Apply by 27th August.


Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1, early and late stage awards

Competition closes: Wednesday 7 October 2020 11:00am

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes.

These can include, for example:

  • 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

This competition combines the early and late stage strands of the Biomedical Catalyst. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Read more


NPL: Measurement for Recovery

NPL is committed to supporting UK industry in its recovery by making available our measurement and consultancy services to companies, free of charge. The programme can help solve analysis or measurement issues that cannot be resolved using standard technologies and techniques. Our aim is to help boost resilience and competitiveness by bringing the UK’s top scientists and facilities together with companies, to address problems in innovative ways.

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Merck Research Grants

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

Areas include:

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.

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.

For more information, click here.


Versus Arthritis & IKC: £100,000 Proof of Concept funding call

Deadline: Tuesday 30 June 2020

Versus Arthritis and the IKC are offering proof of concept funding to progress research ideas with commercial potential. The Proof of Concept Awards provide support and up to £100,000 to accelerate exciting innovations that help the lives of people with musculoskeletal conditions. Proposals are accepted from scientists, clinicians and allied health care professionals at eligible UK institutions, and collaborations with industry are encouraged. Applications will be judged on the clinical need, potential market opportunity and industry confidence to progress the technology to market.

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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period opened on 16th July, and closes on 7th October 2020 (after this the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily).

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

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Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

These have the same funding deadlines as KTPs – click here for full details.


Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies

Closing date: 3 Sep 2020 16:00

A minimum of £16m will be jointly committed through this call by LifeArc and the MRC. This call may also benefit from support from other funders, such as the BBSRC, potentially increasing the total budget. The ambition of this call is to create a diverse, coordinated network of complementary facilities and it is expected that funding requests may vary in size. An optimal investment would include a complementary suite of activity across the UK, ranging from smaller awards to for example repurpose existing clean room facilities or import additional platforms to existing facilities (e.g. £1-2M), to larger scale investment in new or expanded infrastructure (£5-6M) for innovative gene therapy product development.

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Health Enterprise East: Innovation Voucher Competitions

Closing date: 13th July

Applications are now open for the latest Health Enterprise East Innovation Voucher competition which will reward the most novel ideas in MedTech innovation. The vouchers are kindly sponsored by eg technology ltd a product design and development specialist based in Cambridge. Open to all NHS staff the competition has a focus on novel medical technologies and is open until 5:00pm on Monday 13th July 2020. Applicants can put their ideas forward and have the chance of winning Innovation Vouchers to secure up to five days of development time from eg technology towards the realisation of their innovation.

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Innovation Scholars Secondments

UKRI invites applications for individuals from any discipline wishing to spend up to 36 months (full or part time) on secondment in the biomedical sciences sector.

Proposals can come from any discipline but either the seconding or host organisation must be a business within the biomedical sciences sector (such as pharmaceutical, biotech, devices, biomedical engineering or diagnostics).

The objectives of the call are to:

  • create porosity between sectors by enabling career mobility
  • boost the skills, knowledge and career development of people
  • intensify knowledge exchange between the biomedical industry and academia
  • add value to the Biomedical Sciences sector and the UK economy by increasing productivity

This people-focused competition will achieve its objectives by supporting secondments to fund any activity that enhances the skills of, or provides career development for, the secondee and benefits the organisations involved. The secondee must work on an activity that works towards solving challenges within the secondment (host) environment.

There are 3 identical streams which open on the same date but have different close dates:
strand 3 closing midday 1 July 2020


Eureka: healthy ageing

Competition closes: Wed 5th August, 2020

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £2 million to fund collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects focused on industrial research.

We will fund digital health and smart device projects that promote healthy ageing. They must meet one or more of these themes:

  • robotics
  • augmented or artificial intelligence
  • software as a medical device
  • wearables
  • medical devices
  • diagnostics
  • imaging
  • data analytics
  • sensors
  • apps

Projects must include at least one partner from one of the participating countries of the EUREKA Network.

Read more


 MedTech Navigator Innovation Grant Application

The MedTech NAVIGATOR Innovation Grants are designed to facilitate such bespoke interactions between SMEs and eligible knowledge providers, such as NHS Trusts or Universities, during the product development process. Each Innovation Grant is worth 50% of the total project costs up to a maximum of £15,000, with businesses paying the remaining 50% and any project costs over and above the £15,000 cap.

Projects the Grants will support could include helping to develop, or test, new or improved products, processes and services; providing expertise and access to information on care pathways and workflows as well as tapping into clinical and scientific expertise. The new scheme is available to UK businesses that meet the European Union definition of a small and medium sized enterprise, partner with an eligible knowledge provider and can match fund 50% of the total project costs. It is an open call whereby applications can be submitted at any time via the website.

Read more


Using digital technology to support psychological therapies (SBRI competition)

Competition opens: Monday 20 July 2020
Registration closes: Wednesday 9 September 2020 11:00am

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £345,000 (including VAT) to develop new solutions using digital technology to provide psychological support.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by NHS Scotland. Successful applicants will receive 100% funding and have access to advice from NHS Grampian.The aim is to increase availability of psychological care at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for children and young people (CYP) with significant gastrointestinal symptoms but no underlying medical disease. Where there are no biomedical solutions, digital psychological support allows CYP and their families to self-manage symptoms and live a fuller life.

Read more


SETsquared Partnership: Digital, Technology & Innovation Healthcare

Innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, big data, genomics, 3D printing, precision medicine, blockchain and Augmented Reality, are disrupting the healthcare sector and transforming the way services are delivered. They are powering clinical breakthroughs, diagnostics, electronic patient records, remote and preventative care and contributing to global challenges such as an ageing society. Innovation needs public and private investment, academic expertise, specialist business support, mentoring and expert advice in order to be commercialised and adopted and that’s where our the SETsquared Scale-Up Programme comes in.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome & Mastercard COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard have committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on COVID-19.

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NIHR: Artificial Intelligence Health and Care Award

The Artificial Intelligence Health and Care Award supports solutions addressing the strategic aims of the NHS Long Term Plan across the whole development pathway, from initial feasibility to clinical implementation. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Health and Care Award is run in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and NHSX.  It is part of the NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab announced by the Health Secretary in 2019, and will deploy £140m over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies that meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. The award will support AI technologies across the spectrum of development, from initial feasibility to evaluation within clinical pathways in the NHS and social care settings, to the point that they could be nationally commissioned. Key areas of focus include screening, diagnosis, decision support and system efficiency.

Funding competitions are run at least twice a year through an open process.

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Bucks HSC Ventures: 2020 Cohort Three

Bucks HSC Ventures has developed a clear programme path that puts the SME and their idea at the heart of all analysis and development. The Bucks HSC Ventures programme is offered by the Bucks Health and Social Care Innovation Hub project which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

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Funding for Medical Technology Trials in Leicester and Leicestershire

Funds available until December 2021.

Med-Tech Trial grants of up to £50,000 are available for eligible life science companies in Leicester and Leicestershire, to test and evaluate their products and services in a clinical setting. This ensures that they are working as intended, are effective and are safe for use. The gathering of this evidence is vital for companies wanting to sell their products and services to the healthcare market – including the NHS.

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SIGHT Programme

SIGHT is a business support programme developed by the University of Portsmouth to provide help and guidance to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the healthcare technology sector.

The programme aims to enhance the competitiveness of businesses in the healthcare sector in the south east region by working collaboratively with industry partners, patient groups, clinicians and academics to provide quicker access to groundbreaking healthcare technologies. The £1.7m programme is part-funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and will draw on clinical and academic expertise from the University and from our delivery partners, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Clinical Research Network Wessex.

SIGHT will support businesses to engage through the Portsmouth Technologies Trials Unit (PTTU) – a joint initiative between Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Portsmouth which provides specialist expertise in healthcare technologies.  The programme will also help companies to become more aware of the challenges they could face bringing products to market in this sector – and help them find ways to successfully overcome them.

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STFC Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a multidisciplinary research organisation that funds and operates a number of large science facilities offering research and development access to commercial users. Through these facilities, and their expert staff, they can provide access to advanced experimental and computational tools to address challenges in all aspects of the chemicals supply chain. Their £8 million Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme is specifically designed to help companies overcome difficult product, manufacturing or process performance issues by providing access to advanced analytical technologies, supporting expertise and capabilities through STFC’s large scale science facilities located around the UK. The program runs until April 2021.

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Healthcare Technologies: Call for Investigator-led Research Projects

The EPSRC Healthcare Technologies theme has prioritised funding to support novel investigator-led projects. They would particularly like to encourage research projects which address the priorities of “Transform community health and care” and “Improve prevention and public health”. This funding is currently paused (as of May 2019), but you can sign up to their newsletter to be informed when it reopens.

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The ICURe Innovation to Commercialisation programme offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £35k to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace. Up to £35k of funding from InnovateUK is available over the three months for each team, this includes a salary for the Early Career Researcher (ECR) and a travel budget for the ECR. ICURe starts with an intense 3 Day Training Bootcamp where you become familiar with the Business Model Canvas, have time to think about your Value Proposition and propose a budget and action plan for your market validation discovery.

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Creative England Investments

Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector.

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BactiVac Network – Catalyst Training Awards

An open call for BactiVac catalyst funding training awards is now OPEN.  Funding is available to support training opportunities and exchanges, prioritising those involving LMIC members and academic/industrial partners, for the transfer of knowledge and skills in bacterial vaccinology. Up to £6,000 per award is available and each training visit is expected to be up to three months in duration. The aim of this funding scheme is to support members to train in vaccine research & development (R&D), targeting the main preclinical to clinical area of focus for BactiVac. The call for applications is an open call, you can apply at any time.

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Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

The GHIT Fund facilities and invests in global partnerships for the discovery and development of new health technologies, including drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, for infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries.

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NIHR Research for Social Care

Most recent call closed January 2020: check the website for details of the 2021 call.

The RfSC call is an annual competition for social care research proposals, which will be assessed by a national committee of social care research experts. The budget for this call will be £3m, and individual projects will be funded up to £350k.

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NIHR Invention for Innovation

The aim of the Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme is to de-risk early stage projects that have a strong potential for commercialisation and acceptance for use in the NHS, making them attractive to follow-on funders and investors.

i4i funds collaborative research projects that have demonstrated proof-of-principle and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

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Horizon 2020 Calls

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s €77 billion research and innovation funding scheme running from 2014 to 2020. The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a document providing an overview of the UK’s relationship with Horizon 2020. This is followed by a Q&A, which clarifies the UK’s eligibility to participate in Horizon 2020. Current calls of particular relevance to Health include:

  • DT-ICT-12-2020: AI for the smart hospital of the future. Competition opens 19 November 2019 and closes 17 June 2020.
  • SC1-DTH-04-2020: International cooperation in smart living environments for ageing people. Competition opens 19 November 2019 and closes 18 June 2020.
  • DT-TDS-04-2020: AI for Genomics and Personalised Medicine. Competition opens 19 November 2019 and closes 18 June 2020.
  • DT-TDS-05-2020: AI for Health Imaging. Competition opened 9 July 2019 and closes 13 November 2020.


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