17 August 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

The commission supports new research projects

The European Commission will support 23 new research projects with €128 million in funding from Horizon 2020. This funding will enable researchers and industry to develop solutions to tackle the pandemic and accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines. It will additionally enable researchers to develop medical technologies and digital tools to improve detection, surveillance and patients' care.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added: ‘The excellent response to this call shows the wealth of new ideas to tackle coronavirus.’

‘Digital solutions and technologies enabled us to stay connected and interact with each other during the confinement. They will also be an essential part of the long-term response to this virus and to increasing our resilience.’

Ultimately, this funding aims to strengthen research, developing solutions to help communities better cope with and contain coronavirus infections.

EU flags

New COVID-19 vaccine agreements

The UK Government have secured early access to 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine and 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine.

Ministers have also agreed to co-fund a global clinical trial of the Janssen vaccine, with the next phase of clinical trials scheduled to begin towards the end of this year. In addition, the government will support Novavax in running a Phase 3 clinical trial of their vaccine, with plans to manufacture it using FUJIFILM Diosythn Biotechnologie’s facilities in the UK.

Subject to safe and effective clinical trials, both vaccines could be delivered to the UK in mid-2021.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

‘The government’s strategy to build a portfolio of promising vaccine candidates will ensure we have the best chance possible of finding one that works.’

‘Today’s agreements will not only benefit people in the UK but will ensure fair and equitable access of a vaccine around the world, potentially protecting hundreds of millions of lives.’

syringe and needle

UK’s Humber region could lead the world in a green recovery

Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and membership organisation CATCH, an industry led partnership supporting the process, energy, engineering and renewable industries in Yorkshire and Humber, along with eight private sector organisations, have submitted a bid to Innovate UK. The bid is part of the UK Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund Scheme, which is also part of a £350 million green recovery package announced by the Prime Minister. The private sector companies include British Steel, Drax and Phillips 66. A wider group of business will be involved in developing the plan, with all energy-intensive industries in the Humber invited to take part. A decision on the bid is expected in autumn, with the project set to begin in January 2021.

If the bid is successful the £2.6 million project (which would include £1.658 million sought from Government) could move the Humber closer to achieving large-scale decarbonisation.

Read more here.


Calls for evidence


The European Chemical Agency has launched a public consultation on the restriction of micro-plastics intentionally added to products.

Deadline: 11 September 2020


Net-zero agriculture

A survey has been launched by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to understand how engineering and physical science research can support the attainment of net-zero agriculture for the UK.

Deadline: 4 September 2020


COVID-19 rapid response call

Science Foundation Ireland supports research in a number of thematic areas on advancing the knowledge of Covid-19 and its impact on health and developing solutions that contribute to economic and societal recovery.

Deadline: 26 August 2020


UK SMI B 60: detection of bacteria with carbapenemases

Submit comments to the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (SMI) B 60: detection of bacteria with carbapenem hydrolysing β lactamases (carbapenemases).

Deadline: 26 August 2020

Funding competitions


Sustainable Innovation Fund

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £26 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of The Sustainable Innovation Fund.

Deadline: 02 September 2020


Industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation

Organisations can apply to the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund for a share of up to £30 million for grants to carry out feasibility and engineering studies into energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

Deadline 28 October 2020


Clean air

UK Research and Innovation has invited proposals for interdisciplinary research and innovation consortia under the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Program. The aim of the SPF Clean Air Program funding is to equip the UK to proactively tackle new and emerging air quality challenges related to changing emissions and exposure patterns and health impacts on groups of people most at risk.

Deadline for notification of intent: 3 September 2020

Deadline for outline proposals: 5 October 2020



This new international challenge is aimed at entries that could offer solutions as part of a multi-faceted response to the current and future global pandemics. Robotics have a key role to play and across the world, robots and drones are being repurposed and deployed as part of the COVID-19 response.

Submission of video entries: 30 September 2020


Biomedical Catalyst 2020: round 1

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £30 million to develop innovative healthcare products or processes.  

Deadline: 07 October 2020


Manufacturing made smarter

UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies help UK manufacturing supply chains. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Deadline:7 October 2020





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