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Biomedical Catalyst 2020: Round 1, early and late stage awards


UK-registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £30million to develop innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes.

These can include, for example:

  • Disease prevention and proactive management of health and chronic conditions
  • Earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to better patient outcomes
  • Tailored treatments that either change the underlying disease or offer potential cures

This competition combines the early and late stage strands of the Biomedical Catalyst.

This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £250,000 and £4million.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this early and late stage competition is to enable companies to create a data package that can support the subsequent testing of their products, or to carry out evaluations in a clinical setting or other relevant environment.

Testing can include:

  • Experimental evaluation (at laboratory scale)
  • Use of in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate proof of concept or safety
  • Exploring potential production mechanisms
  • Prototyping
  • Product development planning
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Demonstrating of clinical utility and effectiveness
  • Demonstrating of safety and efficacy (including phase 1 and 2 clinical trials)
  • Regulatory planning

Your project must focus on the development of a product or process that is an innovative solution to a defined health and/or care challenge.

This competition combines the early and late stage strands of the Biomedical Catalyst only.

Early stage

The aim of an early-stage award is to create a data package that is sufficient to support the testing of your product or process in a clinical setting or other relevant environment.

Late stage

The late-stage award is designed to test a well-developed concept and show its effectiveness in a clinical setting or other relevant environment.

Your project must build on prior credible research on a product prototype or process. This is likely to have included a demonstration or validation in an appropriate model system

How your proposal will be assessed

This competition has two stages.

Stage 1: Assessed written application.

Stage 2: Interview with our Major Awards Committee (MAC).

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

Specific themes

Your project can focus on any health and care sector or discipline. Innovate UK particularly welcome applications that support innovation in the following areas:

  • Child health technologies
  • Innovations that support clinical trials in the UK
  • Biomedical innovations that combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance

You must align your project to one of the following innovation areas:

  • Medical technologies and devices
  • Stratified healthcare
  • Advanced therapies (gene and cell therapies)
  • Digital health
  • Drug discovery
  • Diagnostics

Your project must:

  • Have total eligible costs between £250,000 and £4million
  • Start on 1 March 2021
  • End by 29 February 2024
  • Last between 12 months and 36 months

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise SME or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If the lead organisation is an RTO you must collaborate with at least one SME.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or RTO
  • Carry out your project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • Be invited by the lead organisation

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Partners must enter their own project costs.

Large companies will not be able to claim grant funding.

Partners with no funding

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


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK. Where subcontractors are non-UK based, please justify why you are unable to use a UK alternative. Innovate UK would expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Under exceptional circumstances, subcontractors can be from outside the EEA but only if this is fundamental to the project.

Multiple applications

When a business or RTO leads on an application, it can collaborate in a further two applications.

If a business is not leading any applications, it can collaborate in up to three applications.

If an RTO is not leading any applications, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

Innovate UK has allocated up to £30million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies (early stage projects only) and industrial research projects (early stage or late stage projects), you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activities as part of the project in your consortium can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is 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 your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Innovate UK will not fund projects they consider to be at too early a stage, for example:

  • Basic research
  • Generation of pure scientific and technological knowledge
  • Development of research ideas, hypotheses and experimental designs that have no practical commercial application

Innovate UK will not fund projects that are too close to market or are already in market, such as:

  • Evaluations to inform labelling
  • Laboratory accreditation
  • Distribution or marketing activity
  • Post-marketing studies
  • Post-marketing surveillance

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.