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IB Catalyst

Call status: Open
Round 1 registration deadline: 7 May 2014
Expression of interest and feasibility studies application deadlines: 14 May 2014
Round 2 call opens: 15 May 2014

Summary

Together with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) we are committed to supporting the development and commercialisation of innovative Industrial Biotechnology (IB) processes (see strategic plan in related links) arising from the UK's excellent research base.

To register the lead partner must register via the competition website at www.innovateuk.org/funding-competitions.

We plan to commit up to £45M in 2014-15 for R&D to address one or more of the major challenges using biological processes, or processes in which biological and chemical approaches are used in combination to support:

  • research and development for the processing and production of materials, chemicals (including pharmaceutical precursors and biopharmaceuticals) and bioenergy
  • development and commercialisation of innovative IB processes to manufacture a wide range of existing and new products through collaborative and non-collaborative research grants

Scientific objectives

Projects should address one or more of the following challenges using biological processes, or processes in which biological and chemical approaches are used in combination:

  • Production of fine and speciality chemicals and natural products (e.g. fragrances, flavours, pharmaceutical intermediates)
  • Production of commodity, platform and intermediate chemicals and materials (e.g. plastics, resins, silks)
  • Production of liquid and gaseous biofuels
  • Production of peptides and proteins (e.g. enzymes, antibiotics, recombinant biologics)
  • Novel or improved upstream or downstream processes to reduce costs or improve efficiency in industrial biotechnology applications

Funding streams

This call will be awarded through five funding streams across early-, mid- and late-stage research categories.

Early-stage awards

Projects which translate discoveries enabling development of IB processes and technologies, or feasibility projects which explore the commercial potential of an early-stage scientific idea.

Early-stage translation awards

Academic research and development projects that aim to translate research discoveries to enable the development of IB technologies and processes.

  • Projects must be academic-led
  • Funding for BBSRC and EPSRC eligible institutions only
  • Business involvement encouraged
  • Duration: typically three to five years
  • Total project costs: £2-5M
  • Applicants informed of EOI assessment outcome by 20 June 2014 and full-stage (selected applicants) by end of October 2014

To apply visit: Early-stage translation award for more information: Early-stage awards guidance (PDF 1.20MB).

Early-stage feasibility awards

Academic or business-led collaborative projects that enable the exploration/evaluation of the commercial potential of an early-stage innovative idea.

  • Projects can be business- or academic-led
  • Duration: up to one year
  • Total project costs: up to £250k
  • Total research organisation costs must not exceed 50% of total project cost
  • Business partner funding: up to 75% of their total project costs for SMEs or 65% for larger companies
  • Applicants informed of assessment outcome by 11 July 2014

To apply visit: Early-stage pre-industrial feasibility studies for more information: Early-stage awards guidance (PDF 1.20MB).

Industrial research awards

Projects which build on recent discoveries to develop new technologies or processes for industrial biotechnology and/ or bringing together different components of a process to establish with reasonable certainty that it could be run commercially.

  • Projects must be business-led
  • Duration: typically up to three years
  • Total project costs: up to £5M
  • Total research organisation costs must not exceed 50% of total project cost
  • Business partner funding: up to 60% of their total project costs for SMEs or 50% for larger companies
  • Applicants informed of EOI assessment outcome by 20 June 2014 and full-stage (selected applicants) by end of October 2014

To apply visit: Industrial research awards for more information: Industrial research awards guidance (PDF 1.09MB).

Late-stage awards

Projects which demonstrate the performance and reliability of a new or modified process to the point where the process could be implemented commercially. Projects will have already proven their effectiveness at bench and/or pilot scale.

Pre-experimental feasibility studies

Pre-experimental feasibility studies are a precursor to projects wishing to move to experimental development. They allow companies to test their proven process at a greater scale of operation or with commercially equivalent equipment for the first time.

  • Projects must be business-led
  • Duration: up to one year
  • Total project costs: up to £1M
  • Total research organisation costs must not exceed 30% of total project cost
  • Business partner funding: up to 50% of their total project costs for SMEs or 40% for larger companies
  • Applicants informed of assessment outcome by 11 July 2014

To apply visit: Late-stage pre-experimental feasibility awards from more information: Late-stage awards guidance (PDF 1.13MB).

Experimental development

Experimental development projects will occur at commercial scale operation and be the last step prior to commercial implementation. They should demonstrate that performance seen previously e.g. pre-experimental feasibility studies, is repeatable during extended testing.

  • Projects must be business-led
  • Duration: up to two years
  • Total project costs: up to £10M
  • Total Research Organisation costs must not exceed 30% of total project cost.
  • Business partner funding: up to 35% of their total project costs for SMEs or 25% for larger companies
  • Applicants informed of EOI assessment outcome by 20 June 2014 and full-stage (selected applicants) by end of October 2014

To apply visit: Late-stage experimental development awards for more information: Late-stage awards guidance (PDF 1.13MB).

Eligibility

Academic eligibility

Applicants applying for our or EPSRC funding must meet either our or EPSRC's standard eligibility requirements. Please see:

Applicants and research organisations that do not meet our or EPSRC's eligibility requirements may be eligible for support from the Technology Strategy Board. Please visit the Technology Strategy Board website for more information.

For queries relating to academic eligibility, please contact: eligibility@bbsrc.ac.uk.

Business eligibility

Standard Technology Strategy Board eligibility rules apply, as described in their grants eligibility criteria. Visit the Technology Strategy Board's funding rules guidelines page regarding state-aid definitions.

Overseas partners can participate as collaborative partners in projects but are not eligible for UK funding unless they are UK registered and the work they are delivering will be performed in the UK. Alternatively, they may participate as subcontractors to a UK partner, providing it can be proven that the skill or service they are providing is not otherwise available in the UK.

How to apply

The lead partner must register via the competition website at www.innovateuk.org/funding-competitions.

If you require further information or have a query regarding this competition, please contact the Technology Strategy Board Business Support Group Helpdesk, email: competitions@innovateuk.org, or tel: 03003 214357.

We and the Technology Strategy Board have appointed a coordinator who can advise on the scope of applications submitted to the IB Catalyst and facilitate the development of new collaborations. Contact information for the IB Catalyst Coordinator can be found below.

Briefing workshops

Two applicant briefing workshops will be held for the first call:

  • 3 February 2014 - London
  • 12 February 2014 - York

The first half of these briefing days will provide information on the background and scope of the IB Catalyst, the application criteria and process as well as information on the different funding streams.

The optional second half of the day will offer support and networking activities with potential collaborators as well as relevant staff from BBSRC, EPSRC, TSB, and the IB Catalyst Co-ordinator. For more information and to register for the York event on 12 February visit: Technology Strategy Board website: workshop.

The London workshop on the 3rd is available to view as a webinar for those unable to attend either day. You can view the webinar at the Technology Strategy Board website: Webinar.

External contact

Dr Adrian Higson, IB Catalyst Co-ordinator

tel: 01904 562656

Contact