We are seeking high-quality proposals that will draw on novel multidisciplinary engineering and physical sciences to address key bottlenecks in the medicines manufacturing pipeline. From discovery to deployment, proposals will facilitate a revolution by delivering a step change in how future medicines are developed and manufactured.
EPSRC’s strategic delivery plan highlights an ambition for more sustainable, resilient and productive manufacturing solutions across sectors.
The new EPSRC strategy for health has identified specific priorities including: resilient manufacturing through improving UK capability in developing and manufacturing new medicines and interventions, and delivering these more rapidly and sustainably. This encompasses:
- research to accelerate the time taken from discovery to deployment of new interventions
- scale-up technologies that allow future medicines to be manufactured in an affordable way that meets safety and environmental requirements
- research to understand and address the manufacturing challenges for novel therapies from small molecules to cell or regenerative medicine therapies
- processes that will be capable of cost-effective scale-up to enable mass production of medicines, for example, to tackle epidemics. It could also include processes that will be capable of scale-down to produce personalised medicines, such as regenerative therapies using patients’ own cells
This is one of two linked opportunities. There is a separate funding opportunity for smaller feasibility studies and translational projects. Together, the two funding opportunities will help us to support a diverse range of ideas and new collaborations.
Vaccines manufacturing is outside the scope of this funding opportunity.
Objectives of the funding opportunity
Proposals should address one or more of the following objectives:
- create a more efficient translational pathway for medicines manufacturing
- deliver new medicines more sustainably
- accelerate the time from discovery to deployment
- ensure manufacturability, including scale-up and the needs of users, is considered from the outset of the process of new medicines discovery
- create the engineering and physical science knowledge, skills and workforce to take forward future breakthroughs in the medicines pipelines
- be multidisciplinary programmes utilising expertise across disciplines that could cover multiple research areas in any parts of the pipeline from innovative chemistry to novel manufacturing techniques
We are looking for proposals to incorporate one or more of the below themes into the wider application:
- new modalities:
- sustainable solutions to scale up production of new modalities
- technologies to consider scale up of new modalities at the outset of drug design
- techniques to improve understanding of drug screening to ensure higher success rates for scale up
- analytical capability:
- analytical techniques for new modalities to predict performance in the clinic, scale up or both
We expect environmental sustainability to be a consideration in all projects.
Proposals are expected to have engaged with, or considered an engagement plan with non-academic partners, for example, industry and regulatory authorities to facilitate upstream or downstream adoption where appropriate.
EPSRC will reject proposals that do not fall within the funding opportunity scope. Ideas must be within the majority remit of EPSRC.
We will fund research projects up to £2 million in this funding opportunity. Another opportunity linked to this funding opportunity which will fund smaller projects up to £150,000, including feasibility studies to test new ideas or translational projects to maximise the impact of prior research will follow the publication of this funding opportunity. There is a combined total of £12.5 million for both streams.
EPSRC reserve the right to manage allocated funding between this and the subsequent feasibility grants opportunity.
We will fund 80% of the full economic cost of your project. Our contribution may be up to £2 million.
We do not expect to see large changes in requested resources from outline to full proposal. Significant changes to the bid, and therefore the proposal that was invited in by the outline meeting, will be considered a new proposal and thus ineligible for the second stage. The full application should not differ from the outline by more than plus or minus 10%.
Grants may start from 1 April 2024.
Equipment up to £400,000 is available through this funding opportunity. All equipment should be fully justified and essential to the mission of the investment. Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘Directly Incurred – Other Costs’ heading. It is expected the majority of the funding will go towards research activities.
EPSRC approach to equipment funding.
You are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.
Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for guidance on getting the most out of international collaboration while protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.