Our vision is to build a network of innovative, commercially viable life science businesses that transform healthcare and patients’ lives and drive business growth.
Transforming innovative ideas into commercially viable businesses
Innovate UK will drive transformational change in food production, wellness, early detection and treatment of disease to underpin population health and economic growth in the UK.
Through our flagship grant funding mechanism, Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst, we help small and medium sized businesses test and develop innovative health and care solutions across life sciences, including therapeutics, medical devices, and digital health.
Biomedical Catalyst 2023 Round 2: Industry-led R&D is now open for applications (closing 8th November 2023).
Supporting Economic Success in Health and Life Sciences
The Biomedical Catalyst is Innovate UK’s flagship grant funding mechanism, enabling small and medium sized businesses to test and develop innovative health and care solutions across life sciences, including therapeutics, medical devices and digital health.
How we support
We recognise that grant funding alone is not enough, and projects need to be supported as an ecosystem to be able to easily access the partners needed on their innovation journey such as regulators, accelerators, supply chain, systems-based design, global markets and investors. Learn how the Innovate UK system can each uniquely help you achieve your innovation goals.
- Innovate UK Business Connect: Connecting innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking – accelerating ambitious ideas into real-world solutions. If you want help to find a project partner or would like someone to review your application before submission, contact Innovate UK Business Connect.
- Innovate UK Business Growth: Bespoke advice and support to help grow & scale innovative businesses. If you’re looking for intensive support with your growth strategy, including exploiting innovation, securing funding & finance and entering new markets, please contact Innovate UK Business Growth.
The Biomedical Catalyst supports small and medium sized businesses, of all stages, to:
- Get your project to market quicker
- De-risk your early stage innovations and projects, and lower risk for investors
- Bring in private capital alongside grants for projects
Biomedical Catalyst is technology agnostic, we want to fund a variety of projects across different markets, technologies, strands and themes.
How it works
Biomedical Catalyst is technology agnostic, we want to fund a variety of projects across different markets, technologies, strands and themes including:
Medicines & Pharmaceuticals
- Innovative drug discovery and delivery
- Therapeutic and medicine development
- Advanced therapies
- Medical technology and devices
Digital Health Technology
- Data driven health
- AI in health
- Independent living and wellbeing
Opportunity to gain financial support for market and technology feasibility studies
Innovate UK, in partnership with Medical Research Council, will support the development of early-stage health and life science businesses in the UK by funding a series of business accelerators in thematic areas. These accelerators will recruit spinouts, start-ups, and entrepreneurial minded academics to test their ideas and develop concepts with support from key stakeholders from relevant ecosystems.
We want accelerators to support organisations with the potential to enable fair, impartial and sustainable forms of community participation in research across the UK.
Over a set period of time, through online and in-person workshops, you will:
- Receive advise and support including scientific, commercial, regulatory and investment expertise
- Receive a package of training that instils the fundamentals of commercialisation and entrepreneurship
At the end of the accelerator you will/should be in a position to seek investment, or feasibility grant funding of £100k-£150k at 100% via a closed competition.
Transformational grant funding for industry-led innovation projects
Designed to provide support for pre-market R&D projects aimed at developing innovative solutions to address challenges in health and healthcare.
Projects should demonstrate both commercial and technical feasibility through existing evidence, and show how the project will enhance the competitiveness and productivity of at least one participating UK SME. We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.
- Project costs £150k-£4m
- Grant up for £2m
- 70% grant support for SMEs
- Project duration 6-36 months
De-risking innovative technologies by aligning public grant and private enterprise investment
The Innovate UK Investor Partnerships Programme is a three-year initiative to boost Future Economy-focused SMEs through aligning grant funding for R&D development with investment from partnerships with credible investor partners.
NHS Cancer Programme: Innovation Open Call 3
Opens: 26/01/2024 Closes: 29/05/2024
NHS England has launched a new round of its funding competition for innovation in the early detection and diagnosis of cancer.
Open Innovation Challenge: Next-generation digital learning tools for community health workers
Opens: 12/02/2024 Closes: 22/03/2024
AMREF Health Africa is looking to transform its digital learning tools for community health workers, using next-generation technologies.
Mobile Evidential Drug Testing Instrument (MEDTI) Demonstrator
Opens: 19/02/2024 Closes: 16/04/2024
The DfT are seeking innovations to develop roadside evidential drug testing capability to enable effective enforcement of drug driving offending.
Related Case Studies
A remote monitoring service for cancer patients that restores quality of life
Cancer patients can now monitor symptoms and take their own blood tests in the comfort of their own home. Entia delivers a remote monitoring service designed to reduce the need for hospital visits, spot treatment side effects earlier, and ultimately improve a person’s quality of life and outcomes.
Learning from nature to identify new antibody-like proteins to treat complex autoimmune diseases
“Antibodies are phenomenal molecules keeping us healthy. But clinically they can be limited,” explains Dr Caroline Barelle, CEO and co-founder of Elasmogen. “Relatively speaking, human antibodies are large and complex. They are good anywhere there is blood but are less effective where there is a barrier, like a solid tumour. If they were smaller, you could get deeper into the tissue and be more effective.”
Screening technology that seeks out new targets to drug the “undruggable”
Small molecule drugs are effective because they bind to the surface of a disease-relevant protein in the human body. But currently, around 85% of human proteins remain “undruggable” because scientists haven’t yet found the site, or pocket, on the surface that a drug can bind to.
Help us shape the future of innovation!
Innovate UK is looking to expand their assessor pool to review applications in the Health and Life Sciences area. Join us and be part of a vibrant community of experts dedicated to driving innovation forward.
Pilot accelerators launched to support the development of early-stage health and life science innovation in the UK
We are pleased to announce our pilot accelerators, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council (MRC), which will allow spinouts, start-ups, and entrepreneurial minded academics to test their ideas and develop concepts with support from key stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem.
Launch of Oncology Accelerator
Innovate UK’s Cancer Therapeutics programme has launched an Oncology Accelerator to support the development of early-stage health and life science innovation in the UK.
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