Call for Proof of Concept proposals

Industry/Harwell HealthTec Cluster collaboration

Proposals are invited for collaborative projects that develop and expand links between Industry and members of the Harwell HealthTec Cluster. The call is for project definition and proof of concept activities in the Life Sciences and Healthcare arenas that would position the project teams to bid for larger funding opportunities within other programmes and thereby to accelerate the pace of innovation in this area. This call is specifically designed to stimulate industrial engagement with the new HealthTec Cluster at Harwell and kick-start innovative cross-sector collaborations e.g. between medicine and Artificial Intelligence, lasers, big data, Space etc. We are very open to new ideas on innovative use of technologies, new applications and processes. Particular themes of interest include ageing, drug discovery, environmental exposure and human diseases.

Proposals to work with more than one Cluster organisation are particularly welcome and specifically those which engage early with the Rosalind Franklin Institute to establish a focus for longer term industrial collaboration.

Up to £20k funding is available per project, which could be partly used to purchase equipment, if it is essential to the project. Proposals should be written in consultation with the associated Harwell HealthTec partners who should be co-applicants. Industrial partner(s) should provide the level of match funding (which could be in-kind) compliant to State Aid regulations (please see guidance in the Pro Forma). In addition Harwell HealthTec partners can contribute access to facilities, resources and staff time.

The HealthTec Cluster encompasses a broad range of organisations located on the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus, working in association with wider networks such as MedCity, OBN and the Oxford AHSN. The Harwell campus has been announced as host to a significant new investment in life science, the Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI). Existing life science investments include the Research Complex at Harwell, MRC Harwell Institute, Public Health England and of course the large multidisciplinary national facilities such as the Diamond Light Source, the ISIS neutron source and the Central Laser Facility. Moreover, the extensive technical and technology capabilities of the site make it an ideal launch point for technology-driven healthcare initiatives. These capabilities include the world-leading technology developments within the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and an extensive Space Cluster that includes the ESA ECSAT centre, the Satellite Applications Catapult, the UK Space Agency and RAL Space. The opportunity to work across the broad capabilities of the site, and potentially to employ multiple facilities simultaneously (e.g. pursuing correlative imaging methodology), opens up extensive and exciting multi-disciplinary opportunities.

This call is funded by STFC and the RFI.

The STFC B4I £7.5m programme offers a complementary potential source of funding that could be used in conjunction with this HealthTec PoC call.

The Key Focus Fields of the HealthTec Cluster include:

  1. Medical diagnosis, monitoring and therapy, genetics and genomics and personalised medicine
     
  2. Pharmacology, microbiology, cell and structural biology
     
  3. Environmental Health
     
  4. Healthcare related Technology
     
  5. Big data
     
    1. Analytics, data handling and archiving
       
    2. High-performance computing
       
  6. Space (Telemedicine, Environmental monitoring, Emergency services support, disease vector mapping, patient tracking, technology transfer.)
     
  7. Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
     
  8. New chemical biology for medicines
     
  9. Artificial intelligence
     
  10. New 3D Printing applications in the life sciences.

Information on the Call

Up to £20k funding will be awarded per successful proposal, match funded by the proposing organisation to a level that is compliant with State Aid regulations (depending on company size). Small capital items may be bid for as part of the project if they are essential to its success. Funded work must be completed by the end of March 2018 and any capital items procured and delivered by the same deadline. Procurement of approved capital items will be the responsibility of the successful organisations.

Companies of all sizes are welcome to apply.

Individual HealthTec Cluster members may choose to contribute additional in-kind effort and facility access to proposals as appropriate. Proposers are encouraged to contact the relevant Cluster organisations in advance of submission (please see URL links and points of contact below).

Evaluation criteria

  • Innovative nature of the work and future application benefit/impact
     
  • Plans for further development of the concept/initiative, identifying likely funding programmes or sources where relevant
     
  • Added value delivered by Cluster members
     
  • A cross-disciplinary approach is preferred
     
  • A realistic project plan which completes funded work by end of March 2018
     
  • Where Capital equipment is needed, a realistic procurement plan which delivers before the end of March 2018

Applicants should complete the attached Pro Forma (Word, 24KB) and submit it by 8 January 2018. Applications are strictly limited to four sides of A4 (11pt type). Outcomes will be made known and contracts awarded by mid-January 2018.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000