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Recent Public Sector Initiatives to Drive Innovation in Medicines Manufacturing

Posted on 15/07/2020

Find out about recent public sector initiatives that can be used by organisations to drive innovation in medicines manufacturing.


There have been several different public sector initiatives announced recently which can be utilised by companies and organisations in the medicines manufacturing sector to drive innovation. Some of these come from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), while some are directly in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the £1.25bn package to support business.


Opportunities through ISCF:

Manufacturing Made Smarter:

Our medicines manufacturing and sector manufacturing teams work closely with the Manufacturing Made Smarter team.

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards feasibility studies into digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Projects must help UK manufacturing supply chains develop digital technologies to become more efficient, productive, flexible, resilient. These must encourage the use of digital approaches to better integrate and optimise the performance of supply chains.

Competition closes: Wednesday 7 October 2020 11:00am

Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, industrial research

Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies


Biomedical Catalyst:

The next round of the Biomedical Catalyst will launch on 27th July.  £30 million is available to support industry-led research and development projects that seek to provide solutions to Health and Care challenges. The next competition is for Early & Late strands of the Biomedical Catalyst and will open on Monday 27th July 2020, and will close on Wednesday 7th October 2020 at 11:00am.

Find out more


Impact of Covid-19:

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.


The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 1 (temporary framework)
An investment of up to £55m to fund single and collaborative research and development projects to help organisations across the economy recover from Covid-19 in a clean and resilient way.

Must include at least one SME
Round 2 – De Minimis (opening July 2020)
Projects to consider Covid-19 recovery in a way that has a positive impact on climate change and/or environmental sustainability
Projects up to £500k, £175k per organisation, 3 and 9 months
Closes: 29th July
An online briefing event was held on 3rd July and a link to the recording is here. You can also view KTN’s informal Q&A session here.

Find out more


The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI Phase 1
Larger clean-tech projects of up to £3m that are pathfinders to the UK’s net-zero ambitions.

Phase 1: Research and development contracts, feasibility study

Phase 2 (open to Phase 1 participants only): up to £3m, Research and development contracts, prototype development and testing

Work with identified potential future customers to: 1) ‘build back better’ from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic; 2) help deliver on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and net zero ambition
Projects up to £60,000, including VAT (Phase 1)
Closes: 5th August

Find out more


If you have an existing project with Innovate UK, you may be eligible for funding to support your business through continuity loans.

Find out more here.

Apply here.

Other Calls:

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period opened on 7th May, and closes on 15th July 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.

Read more



Beyond Covid-19: innovations in vaccine technologies. The race is on.
29th July, 14.00 – 15.30

Join KTN and the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community to find out how some of those UK companies are developing game-changing enabling technologies in vaccine formulation, manufacture and delivery.

Register here

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