Up to £15 million funding to develop innovations in health and life sciences

Posted on: 27/09/2017

The latest round of Health and Life Sciences funding from Innovate UK presents opportunities for Health, Agritech, Food, Biosciences.

Today we have a growing global population, ageing demographic, burden of disease and increased wealth. These challenges are accelerating the demand for food and improved healthcare. At the same time, there are opportunities:

  • the food and drink sector represents around 30% of the global economy (around US$20 trillion)
  • there is a ¬£250 billion-plus global market opportunity associated with improving agricultural productivity
  • healthcare is one of the largest industries in the world, at close to 10% of global GDP
  • new technologies and expertise in bioscience, medical research, engineering and physical sciences are enabling innovation in H&LS

Innovate UK’s Health and Life Sciences (H&LS) sector helps businesses find solutions to these challenges.

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Funding for innovation in health and life sciences

Round 3 of Innovate UK’s Innovation in health and life sciences funding competition will open on 2nd October 2017. UK businesses can apply for up to £15 million for projects that support small and medium sized enterprises to develop innovations in health and life sciences. These should address challenges in H&LS that lead to increased agri-food productivity, quality and sustainability or improved healthcare outcomes.

Projects must show significant innovation in one of Innovate UK’s priority areas:

  • increasing agricultural productivity
  • improving food quality and sustainability
  • advanced therapies (cell and gene therapies)
  • precision medicine
  • medicines discovery
  • preclinical technologies
  • advanced biosciences

Further details of the scope are available below, and full details can be found on the competition website.

As part of this competition Innovate UK also welcome applications Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). Projects should focus on agriculture, food and healthcare. They will particularly welcome KTPs that cover the specific competition themes.

Competition Briefing Event

KTN and Innovate UK are hosting a competition briefing event on 12th October in London. The briefing will provide information on the competition scope, how to apply, and will provide opportunities for potential applicants to pitch their idea to an audience of like-minded individuals in order to begin consortium building. The briefing will include breakout sessions for Health, Agritech, Food, Biosciences.

If you are unable to attend the event in person you can join by webcast.

You can find out more about the briefing event here.

Specific Competition Themes

Applications need to address at least one of the following themes:

Increasing agricultural productivity:

  • advanced and precision engineering
  • fighting agro-chemical and antimicrobial resistance
  • enhancing resilience to biotic and abiotic stress
  • individualised livestock/aquaculture nutrition and healthcare
  • novel genetics and breeding

Improved food quality and sustainability:

  • authenticity and traceability
  • enhanced nutritional value
  • food safety
  • modern methods of food manufacturing
  • new and smarter ingredients
  • protein development
  • smarter packaging

Precision medicine:

Focuses on the better selection of more targeted treatments for patients by combining clinical knowledge with advances in diagnostic techniques and data analysis. You must make it clear how your proposed technology will advance precision medicine and how it improves the treatment selection process.

They will support:

  • either: early diagnosis of Cancer or Paediatric Oncology
  • ‚ÄúDiagnostic Tools‚Äù for Advanced Therapies (products requiring good manufacturing practice (GMP) based on cellular or product characteristics)

Advanced therapies:

  • increasing the UK‚Äôs commercial capacity to manufacture viral vectors for use in the development of cell and gene therapies to treat human disease and disorders
  • processing or manufacturing technologies for advanced therapies products including those suitable for near-patient application
  • technology or processes that lower production costs
  • tools and techniques for quality control to enable real-time product release

Medicines discovery and preclinical technologies:

  • innovative platform technologies for analysing, screening and optimising potential new medicines
  • novel in vitro and in vivo models that determine the mechanism of action, efficacy, or safety of potential new medicines
  • novel artificial intelligence approaches to drug discovery


  • synthetic biology technologies including gene synthesis and assembly, strain development, ‚Äúparts‚Äù characterisation and standards
  • computational systems biology technologies for replicating and predicting biological activity in silico
  • naturally inspired: biomimicry and applied evolutionary biology

Key Dates

2 October 2017 – Competition opens

12 October 2017 – Applicant briefing event in London

6 December 2017 12:00pm – Competition closes

16 March 2018 – Applicants notified

Further information

Full details of the competition can be found on the Innovate UK Competition page here.

If you would like help to find a project partner, you can contact¬†a member of KTN’s Health, Ag-Food or Biotechnology teams.

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