• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £2.75m in collaborative feasibility studies to stimulate innovation across four technology areas that will enable and underpin UK growth: advanced materials; biosciences; electronics, sensors and photonics; and information and communications technology (ICT).

  • Programme: Feasibility studies

  • Award: Up to £2.75m

  • Opens: 06 May 2014, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 18 Jun 2014, 12:00

  • Closes: 25 Jun 2014, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Technology-inspired innovation - May 2014 - Biosciences

Competition results

See here for competition results.


The Technology Strategy Board, Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are to invest up to £2.75m in collaborative feasibility studies to stimulate innovation across four technology areas that will enable and underpin UK growth: advanced materials; biosciences; electronics, sensors and photonics, and information and communications technology (ICT). 
Our aim is to ensure that small and micro businesses in the UK are well equipped, and suitably integrated within supply chains, to respond to market opportunities across a range of economic sectors. 
Projects must be led by a small or micro company, in collaboration with one or more business or research partners. We expect projects to range from total costs of £50k to £150k, and to last from six to 15 months. 
We expect to fund feasibility studies (pre-industrial research projects), in which a business partner will generally attract up to 65% public funding for their project costs (75% for SMEs). 
This competition opens on 6 May 2014, and the deadline for applications is noon on 25 June 2014. A briefing day for potential applicants will be held on 12 May 2014.
Register for the competition briefing event or WEBINAR on Monday, 12 May 2014.
Register for the regional briefing events 


The Technology Strategy Board is aiming to stimulate business innovation across a broad range of technologies falling within four key areas: advanced materials; biosciences; electronics, sensors and photonics, and ICT. 
These ‘enabling technologies' underpin the development of high-value products and services to meet market needs across all economic sectors and generate significant growth in the UK. Innovation in these areas will keep the UK at the forefront of technological developments and their application. 
The collaborative feasibility studies supported under this competition will help to integrate UK SMEs within new and existing supply chains, positioning innovators for future investment for further research and development, validation and/or commercialisation to take new concepts forward. 


Feasibility studies must be aligned closely with one or more of the four technology areas set out below. Where a proposal cuts across more than one technology area, the application must indicate which one of the four technology areas represents the major focus of technical innovation. 
In addition, projects should be focused on early-stage technical opportunities that: 
  • contain a significant level of technical risk, in that there is some level of uncertainty about how the proposed technical approach will work in practice 
  • involve companies carrying out most (if not all) of the research in-house. Projects should build a technical evidence base to enable progression to larger-scale projects. 

Biosciences continue to play a vital role in the development of products and processes that are an integral part of our lives – from the food we eat to our medical care. 
We are specifically looking to encourage proposals that are biologically inspired, and where the resulting technologies will enable multiple applications or the development of a variety of products. Proposals should be focused on one or more of the specific elements below: 
Characterisation and discovery tools 
  • commercial application of sequencing technologies focusing on genomics 
  • integration and exploitation of phenotyping technologies 
  • integration of 'omics technologies, such as integrating metabolomic, proteomic, genomic and phenomic data collection and interpretation capabilities 
  • biological imaging systems, biosensors, probes/ markers, diagnostic platforms. 
Production and processing 
  • metabolic engineering 
  • novel manufacturing processes for biological products and novel biological production systems 
  • formulation and delivery approaches for biological products, including biopharmaceuticals and functional foods. 
  • approaches to organising, filtering and interpreting biological data, including biological system modelling, data visualisation and user-centred design. 

Looking for partners to work on your project? 

Go to connect to find collaborators and networks. 

Funding allocation and project details

The Technology Strategy Board has allocated up to £2m to fund collaborative feasibility studies that address the technical challenges outlined in the scope above. A further £500k is being made available from Invest Northern Ireland to fund organisations based in Northern Ireland. £250k is being made available from Highlands and Islands Enterprise for projects in line with the scope of this competition and involving one or more organisations based in the Highlands and Islands. Highlands and Islands Enterprise is particularly interested in funding projects with applications in the life sciences, creative industries and other key growth sectors. 
Feasibility study projects must be led by a small or micro company, and must involve collaboration with one or more business or research partner. 
The aggregated costs of all non-business partners in an individual project must be no greater than 30% of the total project costs, meaning that at least 70% of the project costs will be incurred by the business partner(s). Business partners can attract up to 65% public funding for their project costs (75% for SMEs). We expect projects to range in size from total costs of £50k to £150k, and to last from six to 15 months. 
Companies are welcome to submit applications for multiple projects, but no company will be allowed to participate in more than two projects. We reserve the right to apply a portfolio approach across the four technology areas as outlined in the scope, with regards to the final allocation of funds.
Each partner in a project can receive funding towards their project costs – the funding is a percentage of the total eligible project costs and varies, depending on the type of organisation and the type of research. See general guidance on how projects are funded.

Key dates

  • Competition opens: 6 May 2014
  • Briefing event: 12 May 2014
  • Registration deadline: 18 June 2014, noon
  • Deadline for receipt of applications: 25 June 2014, noon

Application process

This competition opens on 6 May 2014
All applicants must first register via our website – the deadline for registration is at noon on 18 June 2014. The deadline for applications is at noon on 25 June 2014.
A briefing event will be held on 12 May 2014 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend this event. 

More information

For more information and all the documents you need to read before you apply, including the 
To apply you must first register with us through the competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications. 
The Technology Strategy Board also runs regular Collaboration Nation events, which enable companies that have been successful in feasibility studies competitions to showcase the results of their projects to their peers and others, with a view to finding partners to collaborate with and new sources of funding. For more information see the Feasibility Studies pages.