SBRI: Clinical biomarker tools and technologies for dementia

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of £6 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop or repurpose platform technologies. These technologies can be used as clinical tools to enable the bio-marker guided development of transformative dementia therapies.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £6 million

Opens: 24th Jul 2023

Closes: 4th Sep 2023

! This scheme is now closed


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK.


The aim of the competition is to accelerate innovations in dementia biomarker detection to transform the clinical development of precision therapies. These technologies will enable the discovery, validation and implementation of a suite of decision-enabling biomarkers. Your project can involve exemplar biomarkers that can be adapted towards a broader range of clinically actionable dementia markers.

This will be achieved by the development of or repurposing of technologies that will enable the robust detection of emerging dementia clinical biomarkers.

The application of innovations in wet biomarkers, data, and tools and services, will feed into and support the aims of the UK government’s Dame Barbara Windsor dementia mission.

Your project must:

  • improve the sensitive detection of neurodegeneration, inflammation or vascular biomarkers associated with dementia
  • advance the development of a novel biomarker platform or repurposed technology towards dementia indications
  • describe how the technological solution would be implemented, including consideration of dementia patients, their carers and infrastructure and healthcare requirements
  • consider diversity of patients to provide an accessible, equitable solution
  • describe a credible and practical route to market, including manufacturing, health economic and regulatory considerations
  • have a dedicated project manager

Innovate UK are especially interested in technologies that enable detection during early stage of the disease.

Contracts will be given to successful applicants.

You must demonstrate a credible and practical route to market, so your application must include a plan to commercialise your results.

Portfolio Approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different themes, technologies, technological maturities and platform technologies for dementia. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific Themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • technologies to subtype and stratify dementia patient cohorts
  • technologies to measure early-stage trial endpoints in dementia clinical trials
  • technologies to predict efficacy of emerging therapies currently in the drug discovery and clinical pipeline
  • technologies for longitudinal monitoring of treatment outcomes in dementia
  • repurposing of technologies that will enable the robust detection of emerging dementia clinical biomarkers

Innovate UK are particularly looking for minimally invasive wet biomarker solutions including, but not limited to, blood, saliva, urine or breath sampling.

Technologies applying cerebrospinal fluid, neuroimaging or digital tools that augment, integrate and support clinical biomarker decision support can be included as part of your project.

Research Categories

Initial technical development

This means planned research or critical investigation to gain new knowledge and skills for developing new technologies, tools, processes or services.

You must:

  • deliver distinct packages of work to further develop your platform technologies
  • complete a technical plan, methodology and justification for utilising re-purposed technologies


Projects must:

  • start on 1 December 2023
  • end by 30 November 2024
  • last between 6 months and 12 months
  • have a dedicated project manager


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors

This competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

You are responsible for entering your project costs and completing your Project Impact questions in the application.

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.


Innovate UK are specifically looking to advance the platform tools that can be used in the clinical validation of biomarkers being developed within the dementia mission.

Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • are for medicines discovery
  • are biomarker discovery or validation
  • do not show that you have the required expertise to complete work packages to the appropriate time, cost and GxP standards
  • do not have appropriate industrial expertise and commercial insight in project design
  • focus on disease families outside of dementia
  • cannot be undertaken within the working restrictions of any pandemics such as coronavirus (COVID 19)
  • duplicate other UK government work you have already been funded to deliver
  • duplicate existing innovation, or work in progress by others
  • have total eligible project costs over the amount allowed
  • have not considered ethical and regulatory implications and requirements
  • do not have a dedicated project manager

Funding Costs

A total of up to £6 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

The feasibility study R&D contracts will range from £100,000 up to £1 million, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 12 months. We expect to fund up to 10 projects.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding allocations
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

The contract is completed at the end of the competition and the successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs.

VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. We will not provide any further advice and suggest you seek independent advice from HMRC.

VAT registered

If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total. Your total project costs inclusive of VAT must not exceed £1 million.

Not VAT registered

If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered. Your total project costs must not exceed £1 million.

Research and development

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Subsidy control

SBRI competitions involve procurement of R&D services at a fair market value and are not subject to subsidy control criteria that typically apply to grant funding.

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.