Digitalisation and Automation of Medicines R&D and Manufacture

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million. This is to support digitalised and automated technology innovation and implementation for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. This funding is from Innovate UK.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £5 million

Opens: 7th Nov 2022

Closes: 21st Dec 2022

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5 million in innovation projects.


The aim of this competition is to encourage the development and implementation of innovative digital and automated data collection technologies. This is to measurably increase the speed and resource efficiency of pharmaceutical process development and manufacturing productivity.

Your project must either, demonstrate an improvement in resource efficiency, for example:

  • reduction in waste production
  • energy consumption
  • carbon emissions

Or your project must show productivity utilising a recognised metric, for example:

  • process mass intensity
  • overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) as a result of the innovation

Digital and Automated technologies in scope for this competition include but are not limited to:

  • data collection, integration and interoperability
  • laboratory automation
  • development lab of the future
  • digital twins
  • AI-driven asset uptime and digital batch disposition
  • big data, ensuring full evaluation of data and real time decision making
  • training and upskilling via augmented reality and virtual reality
  • predictive and autonomous supply chain management including predictive yield optimisation and real time tracking and tracing
  • process analytical technology (PAT) and real-time release testing (RTRT)

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following:

  • lowering manufacturing costs
  • reducing environmental impact of medicines manufacturing
  • increasing patient access to products
  • increasing yield
  • increasing productivity
  • increasing speed of data processing
  • improving efficiency and remove bottlenecks
  • supporting process monitoring controls
  • supporting data collection and analysis
  • combining and use of data and metadata
  • gathering and effectively utilising information from across the supply chain


Your project must:

  • have total grant funding requests of between £100,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 31 May 2025
  • last between 12 and 24 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

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 and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, a research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not for profit or public sector organisation
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

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 partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project.

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

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • large scale manufacturing robotic technologies

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

Up to £5 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

If 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

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 80% of the 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 80% 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, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

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.