Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

Biomedical Catalyst 2019 round 1: feasibility and primer awards

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer



The aim of the Biomedical Catalyst is to support the development of innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • 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

The Biomedical Catalyst has 4 funding strands to support the progression of projects from initial concept through to late stage development:

  1. Feasibility
  2. Primer
  3. Early stage
  4. Late stage

This competition combines the feasibility and primer (proof of concept) strands to enable SMEs to apply for projects lasting 3 to 18 months.

The aim of this competition is to explore and evaluate the commercial potential of an innovative scientific idea or carry out a technical evaluation through to proof of concept in a model system by:

  • reviewing research evidence and identifying possible applications
  • assessing business opportunities
  • assessing and/or protecting intellectual property
  • validating initial concepts and existing pre-clinical work through experimental studies
  • initial demonstration using in-vitro and in-vivo models (but not human clinical trials such as safety and efficacy)
  • early stage prototyping
  • preliminary regulatory advice

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

Be aware that your project may be subject to interim reviews at important decision points.

Project Dates:

  • Competition opens: Monday 21 January 2019
  • Registration closes: Wednesday 3 April 2019, 12:00pm

Who Can Apply:

State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid at the time Innovate UK confirm you will be awarded funding. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information see their general guidance.

Your project

Your project must start by 1 September 2019 and end by 31 March 2021. It can last between 3 and 18 months.

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration fall outside of their eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 days before the competition closes. They will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead applicant

To lead a project or work alone you must:

  • be a UK-registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • be an organisation focused on life science
  • carry out your project in the UK

You can work alone or in partnership with others (SMEs, academics or research organisations).

If your project is academic-led you need to apply to the Medical Research Council instead.


The lead must claim funding.

To be a collaborator you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Multiple applications

Anyone business or RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading an application, they can be a collaborator in up to 3 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.

Your Proposal:

Support is available for any life science sector or discipline, including (but not limited to):

  • medical technologies and devices
  • stratified healthcare
  • advanced therapies (gene and cell therapies)
  • digital health
  • drug discovery
  • diagnostics

If you choose the innovation area ‘Diagnostics, medical technology and devices’, you must indicate in the initial project summary whether your project falls within ‘Diagnostics’ or ‘Medical technology and devices’.

Research categories:

We will fund feasibility studies and industrial research projects. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Projects Innovate UK will not fund

We will not fund projects as part of this competition that:

  • are in scope for the Biomedical Catalyst early stage or late stage awards
  • include human clinical trials, such as safety and efficacy or first in person

Interested in applying? We can help.

  • Win Rate - Myriad Associates’ boast a 70% success rate with Innovate UK applications. 
  • Winning Application - We’ve had some of the highest scoring applications in Europe. In fact, we recently helped 4 Irish companies win a total of €14.9m in the Irish DTIF Grant Funding competition.
  • Honest & Trustworthy – We will not waste your time or money. If we feel your application won't succeed, we will tell you before we undertake the application process.
  • Risk-free Eligibility Call – Call us for a free eligibility call to see if you have an application worth applying for.

Click here to discuss your application with one of our expert grant bid writers or visit Innovate UK to find out more

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