Innovation in health and life sciences round 2

Key Features

Businesses can apply for a share of £15 million for projects that support SMEs to develop innovations in health and life sciences

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £1,400,000

Opens: 9th Feb 2017

Closes: 12th Apr 2017

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to stimulate innovation in health and life sciences (H&LS). Projects must align with at least one of the following Innovate UK priority areas to:

  • increase yield, quality and sustainability in agriculture and food production
  • support advanced therapies (cell and gene therapies), precision medicine or preclinical technologies
  • develop bioscience techniques and capabilities that have the potential to improve healthcare and/or agriculture and food production in the future

Proposals must indicate how projects will enable a step change in competitiveness and productivity for at least one UK SME involved in the project.

Specific competition themes

Applications must address at least 1 of the following 6 themes. The sub-themes are the types of projects which would be supported, more information can be found on these via the link below:

  • Increasing agricultural productivity.
  • Improved food quality and sustainability. 
  • Precision medicine.  
  • Advanced therapies.
  • Preclinical technologies
  • Biosciences

Click here for all sub-themes.



To lead a project, you must:

  • be a UK-based business of any size
  • involve at least one SME
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • propose an innovation project that lasts between 6 months and 3 years

Non-academic RTOs may lead a project providing:

  • they are able to clearly say why the RTO and not one of the business participants, should lead the project
  • they collaborate in the project with at least 2 or more businesses (one must be an SME)
  • their involvement is no greater than 30% of the total eligible project costs
  • the project shows a compelling route to market, most likely through the non-lead partners

If project costs are less than £100,000, an SME can work on the project alone or with partners.

If total project costs are £100,000 or more, the project must include at least 2 grant-claiming partners working together.

Funding and project details

Your project may focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development.

Total project costs of £50,000 to £100,000 for up to 12 months:
If you are an SME and expect your total eligible project costs to be up to £100,000, you may run the project on your own. You may also work with other businesses or research organisations.

Total project costs of £100,000 to £2 million and/or more than 12 months:
If you expect your total eligible project costs to be more than £100,000 and/or your project duration is longer than 12 months, you must work with other organisations. At least one of these must be an SME. We particularly welcome projects that are led by an SME.

Project types

For technical feasibility studies and industrial research, you could get:

  • up to 70% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get:

  • up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME

Projects are expected to last from 6 months to 3 years and range in size from total project costs of £50,000 to £2 million.