Innovation in health and life sciences round 3

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for up to £15 million for projects that support small and medium sized enterprises to develop innovations in health and life sciences.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £1.4m

Opens: 2nd Oct 2017

Closes: 6th Dec 2017

! This scheme is now closed

Innovate UK is investing up to £15 million in innovation projects. These should address challenges in health and life sciences (H&LS) that lead to increased agri-food productivity, quality and sustainability or improved healthcare outcomes.

Projects must show significant innovation in one of these priority areas:

  • increasing agricultural productivity
  • improving food quality and sustainability
  • advanced therapies (cell and gene therapies)
  • precision medicine
  • medicines discovery
  • preclinical technologies
  • advanced biosciences

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

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

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

Projects will be funded that connect with the themes of the H&LS sector.

Projects will also be funded that address the technical or commercial challenges across the Innovate UK priority areas listed above. These challenges should lead towards increased business productivity, competitiveness and growth, especially of SMEs.

Your project may focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development depending on the challenge identified.

Specific competition themes

Applications need to address at least one of the following themes:

Increasing agricultural productivity:

  • advanced and precision engineering
  • fighting agro-chemical and antimicrobial resistance
  • enhancing resilience to biotic and abiotic stress
  • individualised livestock/aquaculture nutrition and healthcare
  • novel genetics and breeding

Improved food quality and sustainability:

  • authenticity and traceability
  • enhanced nutritional value
  • food safety
  • modern methods of food manufacturing
  • new and smarter ingredients
  • protein development
  • smarter packaging

For further information on these themes. click here.  


To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK-based business or RTO
  • carry out your project work, and intend to exploit the results, from the UK

To lead a project you must:

  • be an SME if you wish to work alone on a project with costs of less than £100,000
  • work in collaboration, including with at least one SME, if your project has costs over £100,000

Funding and project details

Up to £15 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

  • Funding is available for projects with eligible costs of up to £100,000 and 6 to 12 months in duration, or
  • projects with eligible costs of up to £2 million and between 1 to 3 years in duration.

All projects must involve at least one SME and a business must lead the project.


Project costs of up to £100,000

If you are an SME and expect your eligible project costs to be up to £100,000, you can run the project on your own. You can also work with other businesses or research organisations.

Project costs of £100,000 or above

If you expect your eligible project costs to be more than £100,000 you must work with other organisations who are claiming grant as part of the project. At least one member of the consortium must be an SME.

Project types 

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

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.