Establishing a UK vaccines development and manufacturing centre

Key Features

UK-based organisations can apply for up to £66 million to build and establish a national vaccines development and manufacturing centre.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     A share of up to £66m

Opens: 12th Oct 2017

Closes: 22nd Nov 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to build and establish a new UK vaccines centre.

The centre will:

  • develop manufacturing processes
  • manufacture advanced, highly efficient vaccine and vaccine-like medicines using mammalian cell culture
  • be a physical centre in one location that is networked into relevant centres of academic and clinical excellence in the UK and internationally
  • operate around technology readiness levels 5 to 9 and manufacture readiness levels 1 to 3
  • provide manufacturing capacity at pilot scale volume (10 litres) and medium scale volume (50 litres)
  • provide the best expertise and advice on technologies in engineering and biomanufacture, regulation, clinical trial design, commissioning and implementation
  • provide a platform to encourage the development of vaccines and virus based vectors and associated technologies by companies and researchers
  • provide a highly visible centre that can accommodate various sized projects at the same time
  • be capable of attracting inward investment to the UK
  • have strong links to other hubs with expertise in discovery science, manufacture and clinical delivery
    deliver training in GMP-level vaccine medicines manufacturing
    exploit the strengths of the Research Councils, the Department of Health and devolved health directorates, and NHS investment in the research base and clinical infrastructure
    use and help develop technologies that address the challenges of product development
    be autonomous and able to act independently of higher education institutions and other host organisations
    be led by an inspirational, entrepreneurial director of international standing in translation and complex programme management
    form part of a co-ordinated investment in innovation, and will be integrated into the UK innovation system
    complement and draw on other programmes of national investment delivered by Innovate UK and the research councils

The winning application must demonstrate that it has wide ranging cross-sector support for its proposal from:

  • original equipment manufacturers
  • supply chain partners covering all Tiers (1, 2, 3 and so on)
  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
    research and technology organisations
  • academia

Specific competition themes

Innovate UK are particularly seeking applications that:

  • show how the centre will significantly improve the capability, capacity, and opportunities available to companies and UK based researchers to develop and then trial their most promising vaccines and vaccine technologies
  • enable the UK to capture the benefits of its science and knowledge base, and support the development and the GMP production of vaccines
  • support SMEs in gaining a share of a growing high value market


To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, RTO, or not for profit company
  • have experience in vaccine development and manufacture
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • be able to clearly demonstrate the current state aid proposition that your proposal follows, and how it satisfies this regulation

Funding and project details 

Up to £66 million has been allocated to fund the capital costs of building and establishing a vaccine development and manufacturing centre based in a single location

You will need to find minimum baseline running costs (estimated to be around £5 million a year) and variable operating costs according to defined programmes of work. Your application must provide evidence of this matched funding.

Your project should focus on investment aid for research infrastructures. Support given for construction or upgrade of research infrastructures that perform economic activities is considered to be state aid and is limited to 50% of the investment costs. .

You can apply for funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 50% if you are a business of any size.
  • Up to 100% if you are a non-profit distributing research organisation. You must demonstrate how the facility will be co-funded, where the co-funding will come from and what funding you have in place for when this Innovate UK grant funding stops

Project types

Priority will be given to to proposals that:

  • can deliver within the timescale
  • can demonstrate a well-established consortium
  • can demonstrate they are able to co-fund
  • include collaborators with existing capabilities in the relevant product and process technology areas