Canada-UK: Biomanufacturing of Biologics and Advanced Therapies Round 2

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £3 million for collaboration with Canadian SMEs on joint R&D projects, for enabling technologies and innovations in biomanufacturing of biologics and advanced therapies.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £3 million

Opens: 8th May 2024

Closes: 16th Oct 2024


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to invest up to £3 million in innovation projects.


This competition will support collaborative research and development (CR&D) in biomanufacturing through Canadian and UK partnerships.

The aim of this competition is to stimulate the development and implementation of innovative technologies in biomanufacturing. The objective is to build the desired flexibility and technical capabilities required for the development and economically sustainable production of the next generation vaccines and therapies.

Your joint Canadian and UK project can focus on one or more of the following:

Enabling technologies for biologics and advanced therapeutics

  • discovery, design and high throughput screening platforms, which may include the application of artificial intelligence
  • manufacturing systems and methods, for example: centralised, distributed or point‑of‑care; microfluidics‑based devices, new and innovative systems for Good Manufacturing Practice production, fill and finish, automation security
  • manufacturing process intensification enablers, for example: hyper productive strains, novel expression systems, continuous production processes, perfusion technologies
  • novel analytical characterization, potency assays and real‑time release technologies, biosensors
  • other relevant enabling technologies

Delivery systems for proteins and nucleic acids

  • viral and non‑viral (for example, lipid nanoparticles) platforms, including their components and payloads

Novel biological products

  • vaccines, for example: prophylactic, therapeutic and various platforms
  • therapeutic proteins, for example: antibodies, and related production process‑intensification enablers
  • advanced therapy medicinal products, for example: mRNA, siRNA, gene therapies, cell therapies engineered tissues
  • other biological based therapies, for example: bacteriophage, engineered probiotics

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies and themes. We call this a portfolio approach.


Canada specific rules

Canadian funding applicants are required to register and submit an expression of interest (EoI) before being eligible to apply for this competition.

The registration deadline for Canadian micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is 2 July 2024.

Canadian funding applicants who do not complete an EoI and have not been invited to proceed will not be eligible for funding through this competition.

Please see the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) call page for more information in English and French on Canadian eligibility requirements and to register.

UK participants must be part of an application submitted to Innovate UK. Canadian partners must submit a parallel application to NRC.

UK applications will be assessed by Innovate UK. Your Canadian partners’ proposal is reviewed by NRC. Innovate UK and NRC are jointly responsible for the decision to fund your project.

In order to receive any grant funding, your project proposal must be successful on both sides of the consortium. If successful, UK participants will receive grant funding from Innovate UK and Canadian participants will receive grant funding from NRC.

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request of no more than £600,000 allocated to UK organisations
  • have a total grant funding request for Canadian partners of no more than CA$1 million
  • start by 1 April 2025
  • end by 31 March 2027
  • last between 12 and 24 months

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

Projects should have a balanced contribution of the total eligible project costs among the partners from the participating partner countries. No one country or project partner can represent more than 70% of the total project cost.

The majority of the project work must be undertaken in the UK and Canada.

Your proposal must demonstrate a clear intention to commercially exploit the results of the project domestically or globally.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must be either:

  • a UK registered business of any size


Your collaboration must involve at least one grant claiming UK registered SME and one eligible Canadian incorporated, profit orientated SME.

UK application lead organisation

Only eligible UK registered businesses can start an application on the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) platform.

Canadian partners must not be invited onto IFS. Their involvement in the project is listed as part of your answers to the questions. If you include a grant claiming Canadian partner in your IFS application you will be made ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

To lead a UK application your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • partner with a Canadian registered SME, which must be a separate non-linked entity to the UK project partners
  • include at least one further eligible grant claiming partner from either the UK or Canada

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

Academic institutions and research and technology organisations (RTOs) cannot lead.

Project team

All collaborations must include at least three eligible organisations from Canada and the UK as part of the project.

UK Team – To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each UK partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in IFS. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.

Canadian project participants who are not eligible for funding, including large enterprises and industries, are welcome to collaborate as additional participants on a self‑funded basis or as subcontractors.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

For UK organisations, the cost of subcontractors is limited to no more than 20% of your organisation’s total eligible costs.

All subcontractors must be selected through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from the UK and Canada.

If you wish to use subcontractors from other countries you must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the countries providing grant funding for the project.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK or Canadian contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use a subcontractor from a third country.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A UK business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in one further application.

A UK business that is not leading an application can collaborate on a maximum of two applications.

A Canadian SME may only participate in one application either as a lead or collaborator.

Academic institutions or RTOs can collaborate in any number of applications.

Use of animals in research and innovation

Innovate UK expects and supports the provision and safeguarding of welfare standards for animals used in research and innovation, according to best practice and up to date guidance.

Any projects selected for funding which involve animals will be asked to provide additional information on welfare and ethical considerations, as well as compliance with any relevant legislation as part of the project start-up process. This information will be reviewed before an award is made.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • for nutraceutical product development
  • manufacturing process innovations using a non-human medicine as the product

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Selected collaborative R&D projects will be eligible to receive funding from their respective national funding body.

Up to £3 million from Innovate UK and up to CA$6 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and the NRC Collaborative Science and Technology Innovation Program (NRC CSTIP), an equivalent of £6.5 million in total, has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

UK Organisations

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation for UK organisations

UK research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the UK partners’ total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO

Canadian SMEs

Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive from NRC IRAP up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of CA$1 million.

Other Canadian Collaborators

See the Canadian call page for more information in English and French on other Canadian collaborators eligibility and funding.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.