18 May 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

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

What’s been in the news?

New industry deal to produce 70 million face masks 


The UK government has agreed a deal with technology company Honeywell to manufacture more than 70 million face masks for frontline workers.  


This development is a significant step in the government’s so called ‘make’ programme which seeks to scale up the UK’s production of PPE. This effort is headed up by Lord Paul Deighton, adviser to the Secretary of State on PPE. ‘My role is to increase our home-grown PPE supplies, both now and in the future, by investing in the potential of UK manufacturing,’ Lord Deighton said.  


Over an 18-month period, FFP2 and FFP3 masks will be manufactured at Honeywell’s site in Scotland, with production set to begin as early in July. Each month some 4.5 million masks will roll off the production line to be distributed to the NHS and social care workers. The production line will lead to the creation of 450 jobs.  


Lord Paul Deighton, added; ‘As countries around the world face unprecedented demand for PPE, British industry is stepping forward to make sure vital pieces of equipment reach our workers on the frontline.’


Face protection masks


Revised EU budget will include more spending on research


In a revised 2021-2027 EU budget, the European Commission hopes research programme, Horizon Europe, will receive more money. European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen stated that ‘The plan would be to strengthen programmes that have proven their value in the crisis, such as... Horizon Europe.’ 


After research spending has proved its worth during the Covid-19 crisis, Von der Leyen is keen for the research programme to receive increased funding. 


Among the changes in the redrafted budget, the commission would like to take on a bigger role in overseeing the crisis preparedness of healthcare systems. Additionally, Von der Leyen will investigate increasing financial investment in areas, such as the development and manufacturing of antibiotics. 


European commission flags


COVID-19 Roundup

As Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe, we round up some of the innovative steps being taken by businesses in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector to aid those on the frontline of this global crisis.

Read more here. 

Covid-19 virus

Calls for evidence

Call for Proposals needing rapid access to the Diamond synchrotron. 

Diamond is offering priority rapid access for projects directly related to SARS-CoV-2 virtual proteins. 


Deadline: Not specified 


 The science of covid-19

Investigate the scientific and technological aspects of covid-19, including the transmission and spread of the virus, the development of vaccines and treatments and the application of digital technologies for tracking and modelling.

Deadline: 30 June 2020


This inquiry looks into the technological innovations which could tackle climate change, looking into specific technology currently in use or in development. The second session of inquiry looks at hydrogen production and distribution.

Deadline: 19 June 2020

Funding competitions

Covid-19 rapid response rolling call

DHSC and UKRI have launched a rolling call for proposals for research into covid-19. Research should cover an understanding of the disease, prevention and management of the covid-19 outbreak.

Deadline: 1 April 2021 



Support for R&D intensive SMEs

 As part of the Chancellor’s £1.25Bn support package, £750m R&D funding (as grants and loans) will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme. First payments will be made available mid-May.

Deadline: Not released



 Repurposing of UKRI grants for covid-19 purposes

Apply to repurpose your grant to support research into covid-19.

Deadline: Not specified 



Future flight

As part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the second phase of the Future Flight Challenge is launched. Funding is now available for innovations to help change the way we fly.

Deadline: Not specified



 Innovate UK smart grants

Grant for innovative or disruptive ideas including those in science and technology, and can be ready for rapid commercialisation. Projects can be single (SMEs only) or collaborative. Funding limit depends on duration of project, ranging between £25K and £2m.

Deadline: 27 May 2020



 NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace, Spring 2020

UK micro enterprises and SMEs can apply for funding to develop innovative aerospace technologies. The total project grant must be less than £150,000. Projects must focus on one or more of the value streams within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

Deadline: 17 June 2020

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