Engineering Biology Collaborative Research and Development Round 1

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7million to develop Engineering Biology (EngBio) technologies, processes, products and services, or apply Engineering Biology to societal challenges.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £7 million

Opens: 30th Jan 2023

Closes: 29th Mar 2023

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will invest up to £7 million in this Engineering Biology collaborative research and development (CR&D) competition. This competition is part of UKRI’s National Engineering Biology Programme (NEBP).


The aim of this competition is to deliver business led research and development (R&D) that will:

  • lead to new engineering biology products, processes or services
  • de-risk the adoption of new Engineering Biology technologies that offer high market potential

The funding support will help to accelerate the development and adoption of engineering biology technologies and techniques and by doing so provide solutions to societal challenges.

For the purposes of this competition engineering biology refers to the:

  • development or use of synthetic biology using engineering principals to design and fabricate biological components and systems
  • adoption of synthetic biology in industrial processes or development of tools and technologies that support synthetic biology

Your proposal must clearly:

  • demonstrate how your innovation relates to synthetic biology
  • explain how your innovation fits with one of the specific themes for the competition

Your project can include:

  • experimental evaluation
  • prototyping
  • product or service development planning
  • demonstrations of utility and effectiveness
  • demonstrations of safety or regulatory planning

Innovate UK encourage you to collaborate with the UK research base and help to grow the UK’s Engineering Biology ecosystem.

Specific Themes

Your project must focus on developing engineering biology technologies or apply engineering biology solutions to one or more of the National Engineering Biology Programme (NEBP) themes or focus on cross cutting technology or service development. The NEBP themes are:

  • food systems
  • clean growth
  • environmental solutions
  • biomedicine


Your project must:

  • have total costs between £100,000 and £500,000
  • start by 1 September 2023
  • end by 28 February 2025
  • last between 6 months and 18 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 or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

UK based Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • fundamental research or feasibility studies
  • focussed on a product that is already on the market
  • conducted to anything less than the highest standards of animal welfare
  • clinical trials or preclinical evaluation of therapeutics
  • not focussed on the competition themes

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 £7 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

Funding for this opportunity is subject to business case approval by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury.

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 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

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% 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 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, 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.