Accelerator competition: regenerative medicine at the front line

Key Features

This Defence and Security Accelerator (Accelerator) themed competition seeks to make a real difference in saving lives and reducing disability following serious injury, for which at least £1 million of funding is available.

Programme:     Defence & Security Accelerator

Award:     Up to £1m

Opens: 20th Dec 2017

Closes: 11th Apr 2018

! This scheme is now closed

Recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan saw step changes in trauma care which led to great improvements in survival following severe injury from gunshot wounds or blast. However, this has meant that more people survived with life-changing injuries that demanded novel reconstructive approaches and comprehensive programmes of functional rehabilitation.

The nature of future British combat operations could lead to longer casualty evacuation timelines and medical care being delivered in more austere environments. This creates a challenge for the delivery of life-saving interventions and in the ongoing medical management of the casualty not just to survive but to also maximise functional recovery.

This competition is looking for new technologies and approaches that bring the principles of regenerative medicine to the front line. The competition has 2 technical challenge areas and for both, your proposed technologies must take into account the particular aspects of delivering trauma care in challenging environments. The Allied Joint Publication 4.10(B) gives details on the fundamental principles of medical support to operations. Click here to read more. 

This competition is looking to fund proposals for the experimental development of technologies and approaches that meet the challenges. As a guide, the majority of proposals are expected to focus on low and medium maturity technologies and approaches.


Competition challenges 

Challenge 1: bioengineered blood components
Haemorrhage is the leading cause of ‘potentially salvageable’ death on the battlefield. Evidence from past and recent conflicts suggests that the use of blood products before reaching hospital, in both civilian and military scenarios, provides benefit. Despite this, it’s still challenging to store and deliver these high value interventions in austere environments.

In recent combat operations, red cells and platelets have been the only ‘cellular therapy’ used in theatre as replacements for blood lost during haemorrhage. In this challenge, the competition is looking for proposals that push at the boundaries of what these high value assets are able to do. That could be in terms of oxygen carriage, storage profile, or multi-functionality. Click on the link to read further examples. This list is by no means exhaustive and applicants are encouraged to bring their own innovative ideas to this challenge.  Click here to read more. 


Challenge 2: the preservation and regeneration of soft tissue using biophysical approaches  In this challenge the competition is looking for solutions to be used early after wounding following high energy transfer from ballistics and blast to encourage the regeneration of soft tissue and mitigate the ensuing progressive tissue loss. The repair and regeneration of severe tissue damage involves a complex set of biological processes. These processes need to occur with the right balance, at the right time and in the right sequence for a tissue to repair, regenerate and/or undergo successful reconstructive procedures.

Proposals are sought that develop the use of acellular approaches for the preservation and regeneration of soft tissues. These should be suitable for use early after wounding (for example in the first 7 days following injury) and may include, for example, the application of materials and/or the use of mechanobiology to alter cellular function (for example cell migration, differentiation or matrix deposition). It’s not necessarily expected that these methods will produce visible regeneration during the timelines associated with treatment in the field and evacuation.

However, you must include clear demonstration of the potential for tissue preservation or the enhancement of subsequent regeneration and reconstruction in your proposed solution. As well as the development of new technologies this competition is also interested in proposals that could bias current treatment regimen towards regenerative outcomes.  To read more click here. 


What the competition is looking for

This Accelerator themed competition is looking for proposals that address at least one of the challenges mentioned previously.

The competition is looking for high-risk, high-potential-benefit research proposals that will demonstrate or de-risk the exploitation of technologies. This includes concepts or practical demonstrations (components or sub-systems as well as complete systems), supported by scientific understanding and analysis.

Proposals should be clear on how they apply to military medical care and the potential benefit that they could provide.

Proposals should:

  • consider value for money if exploited, including potential costs to MOD of introduction and time-saving benefits
  • describe technologies that could be integrated into existing MOD systems and facilities, taking into account training burden and the austere environments in which they will be used
  • describe technologies that can be used very early after injury
  • provide information on how the technology can be validated or accredited against care standards
    focus on soft tissue
  • be innovative and disruptive (in other words a fundamental change compared to established approaches)
  • demonstrate the approach at a proof-of-concept level



Up to £500k is available for phase 1 of this competition. At least another £500k will be made available for phase 2 of the competition.

Only those projects funded through phase 1 will qualify for entry into the phase 2 competition.