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Application of whole genome sequencing approaches to cancer


UK businesses and research organisations can apply for a share of up to £5.4million. This is for projects involving the application of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim is to encourage the development of new approaches to targeted therapy based on the molecular signatures of cancers. Your project can develop new analytical methods or validate new targets using new and existing genomic data from cancers.

We will fund feasibility studies, industrial research and experimental development.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to support projects that involve the use of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancer.

Your project must work with whole genome sequence data. This can be through the manipulation of existing whole genome data, through the collection of other whole genome sequences or through both of these. Possible approaches include but are not limited to:

  • The development of new analytical or reporting tools for clinical decision support
  • The identification of molecular signatures that allow for new or improved targeting of therapies
  • The identification of new therapeutic targets
  • New genetic signatures that can be used clinically, such as markers that support repurposing of drugs or a personalised approach to patient management
  • The comparative assessment of alternative assay methods in parallel with whole genome sequencing

Innovate UK expect projects that generate new whole genome sequence data to make this data available within as part of the dataset held by Genomics England at the end of the project.

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following, or on other suitable themes:

  • Improving the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and the selection of therapies
  • The analysis of complex molecular signatures, including copy number variants, structural changes and tumour heterogeneity
  • Supporting the identification of tumours of unknown primary origin
  • Further analysis of existing whole genome sequence data held by Genomics England

Innovate UK will fund feasibility projects, industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the general guidance.

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice.

If your project is a feasibility study, it:

  • Must have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £100,000
  • Must be led by a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • Can be single or collaborative

If your project is industrial research and/or experimental development, it:

  • Must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £1million
  • Must include an SME
  • Must be collaborative

Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and end by 31 March 2022. They can last between six and 18 months.

The lead and any partners must carry out their project work and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.

To lead a project or work alone you must:

  • Be a UK-registered SME for feasibility studies
  • Be a UK-registered business, of any size, or a research and technology organisation (RTO) for collaborative research and development (R&D)
  • Involve at least one SME

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

For all types of research, to collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must be:

  • A UK-registered business
  • An academic institution
  • A public sector organisation or charity
  • Or an RTO

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Any one business or RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further two applications.

If a business is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to three applications. If an RTO is:

  • The lead on an application they must have 2 business collaborators (one SME, and one other business of any size)
  • Not the lead on any application, they can be a collaborator in any number of applications

An academic institution can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £5.4million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • Up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • Up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • Up to 25% if you are a large business

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 25, ‘Aid for research and development projects’, of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • Do not involve whole genome sequencing
  • Involve other forms of genetic analysis, unless as part of a comparison with whole genome sequencing
  • Use other forms of genetic analysis, such as panel tests or arrays in isolation

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.