More information will be available on this page when the opportunity opens.
To unlock the full potential of Engineering Biology, we will adopt a missions approach. Each mission will set inspiring and stretching targets which focus the efforts of academia, industry and other partners, on complex problems which require a coordinated approach for successful delivery.
UKRI is inviting applications for:
- Mission Hubs in Engineering Biology, maximum funding of £13.1 million (100% full economic cost (FEC)) for up to 60 months, with a further £1.15 million capital equipment available per proposal.
- Mission Awards in Engineering Biology, funding ranging from £0.6 million to £1.9 million (100% FEC) for up to 24 months, with a further 20% as capital per proposal.
UKRI will fund 80% of the FEC.
There will be a single funding opportunity comprising two funding options spanning both Mission Hub and Award opportunities, with a mandatory expression of interest closing 5 May 2023 and the deadline for full applications in July 2023 (to be confirmed).
Applications must be demonstrably in the field of Engineering Biology which UKRI defines as:
Engineering biology is the application of (rigorous) engineering principles to the design and fabrication of biological components and systems, from modifications of natural systems to new forms of artificial biology. It encompasses the entire innovation ecosystem, from breakthrough synthetic biology research to translation and application.
Engineering Biology mission areas
Each application to this funding opportunity must be focused on at least one of the following four Engineering Biology mission areas:
1. Engineering biology for food systems
Delivering a more productive, sustainable and secure agriculture and food sector.
This mission will address key challenges in agriculture and food including food and nutrition security, sustainability, and resilience. It will deliver transformative solutions that enable the agri-food system to be more sustainable, productive, diverse, resilient and healthy.
2. Engineering biology for biomedicine
Delivering new therapies and diagnostics.
Engineering Biology will provide new biologic therapies and new diagnostic tools. This will lead to improved health though prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This mission would enable development of novel technologies and solutions. It will transform and enhance our toolkit by which we can diagnose, prevent and fight disease.
3. Engineering biology for clean growth
Delivering less carbon-intensive and more environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes and supply chains.
This mission will present bio-manufacturing solutions, create sustainable and renewable supply chains, and develop efficient and smart power generation and storage solutions, increasing productivity and reducing carbon emissions. It will contribute to achieving the UK government’s ambitious net zero targets.
4. Engineering biology for environmental solutions
Supporting the diagnosis and cure of environmental issues.
In this mission engineering biology technologies will be developed and applied to address challenges including bioremediation, waste management, carbon-capture, biomining, and resilient, biodiverse agri-environmental systems and ecosystems.
For this specific opportunity projects must positively demonstrate that they are addressing one or more of the four missions. Projects investigating disruptive approaches with broad applicability can be considered but must have a clear line of sight to at least one mission area.
Engineering biology opportunities: missions funds
You will be invited to submit applications to the following opportunities for hubs or awards.
A maximum funding of £13.1 million (100% FEC) for up to 60 months, with a further £1.15 million capital equipment available per proposal
A hub should drive research and innovation (existing or new and novel) towards tangible mission-oriented impacts, including both commercial and societal. Fundamental research may feature as a part of the programme. However, this should not be the primary focus of any individual hub.
The hubs will be for up to five years and UKRI will award up to £10.5 million (80% FEC), with a further £1.15 million capital available per proposal.
It is anticipated that one 60-month hub will be funded within each of the four mission areas (details above), subject to the review and assessment of the applications. In demonstrating the importance of the mission and how engineering biology can be exploited towards translation and commercialisation, we strongly encourage applications from consortia of suitable cross and multidisciplinary communities, seeking to work together to drive cutting-edge advances in engineering biology toward impacts in key sectors.
Appropriate consideration for industrial engagement and partnership on applications is anticipated, particularly on strands of research and innovation that are expected to have step-changing impact on markets and sectors.
Funding ranging from £0.6 million to £1.9 million (100% FEC) for up to 24 months, with a further 20% as capital per proposal.
Building on existing strengths and emerging opportunities in engineering biology, these awards will also align with the four mission areas. They are not expected to be integrated with pre-existing hubs nor affiliated with applications submitted to the hubs opportunity above, but will be expected to act as sites of distributed research and innovation excellence, exploiting the potential of engineering biology and potentially focused on growing capacity and capability, in support of the four missions.
The awards will be for up to two years and UKRI will award funding in the range of £0.5 million to £1.5 million (80% FEC), with a further 20% as capital per proposal.
In comparison to the 60-month hubs, it is anticipated that these 24-month awards would have a focus on shorter-term developments for engineering biology in the UK. For example, a focus on the testing of existing technological solutions in new and novel contexts, or the establishment or growth of a new or nascent community and capabilities to create a platform for future UK growth. After 24 months, we anticipate that applicants will be able to demonstrate how the outcomes from this could serve as a springboard towards future opportunities.