back to open calls

Sustainable bio-based materials and manufacture: CR&D

Manufacturing & Materials
Project Size:
share of up to £12 million

Innovate UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), all part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £12 million for this competition. The funding will support research and innovation projects to develop sustainable biomanufacture based products.

The aim of this competition is to develop the design and delivery of new and disruptive sustainable biomanufacturing by 2050. Enabling the UK to be more globally competitive by supporting collaborative research and development (CR&D) across different industries and sectors.

This can be by innovative use and re-use of renewable feedstocks and biotechnology-based manufacture processes for sustainable and circular products.

Projects will allow businesses and researchers to work together to develop more sustainable bio-based products, biotechnology processes and innovations.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.


Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £300,000 and £1 million
  • start by 1 October 2023
  • end by 30 September 2025
  • last between 12 and 24 months
  • be collaborative
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian, Belarusian or Myanmar entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian, Belarusian or Myanmar source.

If your project’s duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • be a UK registered academic institution or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

Applications involving collaborations of businesses with academic institutions and research organisations are particularly encouraged to apply.

If the lead organisation is an academic institution or a research and technology organisation (RTO), it must collaborate with at least one business of any size and must include one grant claiming SME.

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and are limited to no more than 20% of the project’s total eligible costs.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution or research and technology organisation (RTO), can lead or collaborate on any number of applications.

An organisation not eligible to lead can collaborate on a maximum of two applications.

The aim of this competition is to develop the design and delivery of new and disruptive sustainable biomanufacturing by 2050. Enabling the UK to be more globally competitive by supporting collaborative research and development (CR&D) across different industries and sectors.

The need for change is driven by the three strategic imperatives:

  • climate change
  • supply chain resilience
  • the cost of energy

Your proposal must support organisations in biomanufacturing in the future to be:

  • net zero and resource efficient
  • resilient and responsive
  • technologically advanced and digital

Your project must address the challenge of developing innovations in sustainable biomanufacturing processes.

This can be by:

  • increasing the use of bio-based feedstocks
  • using biotechnology for alternative bio-based chemical replacements including low carbon polymers and, liquid and gaseous fuels for transport, heating and renewable energy
  • enhancing the sustainability profile of biotechnology processes
  • innovative use and re-use of renewable feedstocks
  • biotechnology-based manufacture processes for sustainable and circular products with whole systems approach
  • consideration of broader life cycle thinking

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, locations, technological maturities and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific Themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • improving extraction of existing bio-based feedstocks and optimising these processes
  • using biotechnology based systems for developing alternatives to traditional manufacturing processes, including processing and catalysis for sustainability
  • the design and development of future advanced bio-products with improved or differentiated properties
  • the discovery of novel or optimisation of enzymes to whole organisms for biomanufacturing
  • securing value from non-food crop biomass and other waste streams
  • improving manufacturability and consistency at scale and progressing the development and adoption of biotechnology, across multiple manufacturing industries and sectors

Interested in this call? Book a free consultation with our team
Book a Consultation
+44 (0) 1925 506 100
Contact Us
Thank you! We will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.