Medicines manufacturing round 1: challenge fund

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £15 million for innovative projects in medicines manufacturing solutions.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Receive up to £1.4m

Opens: 4th Sep 2017

Closes: 1st Nov 2017

! This scheme is now closed

Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects in medicines manufacturing to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Projects should focus on identified technical or commercial challenges. There are 2 parts to this competition:

1. Feasibility projects

2.Industrial research and experimental development projects

This competition aims to stimulate the development and implementation of innovative methods/technologies to improve the manufacture of novel medicines for human use. Proposals must offer innovative approaches to medicines manufacturing challenges. These can include, but are not limited to, approaches that deliver:

  • Improved commercially viable manufacturing processes
  • methods for the reliable and robust scale-up of production of novel medicines
  • increased yield of active ingredient
  • lower cost of production and goods

In this competition medicines that are in scope and must be used as examples are limited to:

  • advanced therapy medicinal products
  • natural product medicines
  • nucleic acid-based drugs
  • prophylactic vaccines
  • protein or peptide biopharmaceuticals
  • small molecular weight pharmaceuticals
  • virus and phage therapeutics

For feasibility projects, the grant enables the exploration and evaluation of the commercial potential of an early-stage concept. The project must deliver:

  • assessment of the business opportunity
  • validation of the initial concept
  • potential conceptualisation
  • scoping for further development

For industrial research and experimental development, the grant enables the development of new and innovative solutions to medicines manufacturing challenges. Proposals must demonstrate:

  • the current challenge and value proposition
  • a clear understanding of the market potential, routes to market and commercialisation strategies


To lead a project you must be UK based and carry out your project in the UK.

Feasibility study projects can be from an SME working alone or in collaboration.

Industrial research and experimental development projects must be collaborative and work with at least one other grant-claiming partner (businesses, RTO, Catapult, research base and/or third sector).

Both projects must :

  • Involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration with other organisations
  • Projects longer than 12 months or with costs of £100,000 or more must be collaborative with other partners.

Funding and project details

Up to £15m is available to fund innovation projects in this competition. This is divided up as:

  • up to £1m for projects lasting up to one year
  • up to £14m for projects lasting up to 3 years

Projects must focus on innovative medicines manufacturing challenges outlined in the scope.

Feasibility studies:

  • total project costs must range in size from £50k to £100k
  • projects can be from a single SME or you can work with other businesses or research organisations
  • projects must completed  within one year

Industrial research and experimental development:

  • total project costs must must be up to £2m
  • projects must be collaborative and include at least 2 grant-claiming organisations.
  • the project must be completed within 3 years

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 or work packages which are nearer to market, you could get up to 45% of your eligible project costs if you are an SME.