UK organisations can apply for a share of £1.5 million inclusive of VAT, to develop assay systems to define the magnitude and profile of cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.


This competition is administered by Innovate UK (IUK), the UK’s innovation agency. IUK works with people, companies and partner organisations to de-risk, enable and support innovation, and promote UK economic growth. IUK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – a non-departmental public body, funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This is one of IUK’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competitions. SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

The competition is part of the COVID-19 National Core Studies (NCS) programme. The programmes’ objective is to address key research questions in support of the UK government’s response to COVID-19.

Objectives of Fund

The aim of this competition is to develop effective assay system approaches to measuring human cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 natural infection or vaccines, to improve clinical management and vaccine deployment.

Assays that both qualitatively and quantitatively measure the antibodies that recognise and neutralise SARS-CoV-2 are already available. Assays to measure cellular immune responses rapidly and reproducibly are more limited.

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject of a separate, possible competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.

Funding body Innovate UK (IUK)
Maximum value £700,000
Reference ID S46472
Category Research and Development, Health and Social Welfare
Fund or call Fund

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