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Canada-UK 2024-25 collaborative industrial research and development call for proposals on enabling technologies and innovations for biomanufacturing of biologics and advanced therapeutics

1. Introduction

On June 8th, 2023 Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) announced a Memorandum of Cooperation (Canada-UK Biomanufacturing Collaboration) that commits each country to jointly develop and produce the critical products each country needs to respond to the next health emergency. This partnership is helping to support the work that Canada is undertaking via its Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy (BLSS) that will strengthen domestic innovation and industrial capabilities to better prepare for and respond to health emergencies.

Working together, the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) aim to foster and support collaborative industrial research and development (R&D) projects with a high potential for commercialization.

This call for proposals is open to organizations from Canada and the UK who wish to form project consortia to perform collaborative projects focused on developing innovative products, processes or technology‑based services in the area of biomanufacturing of biologics and advanced therapeutics technologies.

2. Application deadlines

3. Sectors of focus

This Canada‑UK partnering initiative is designed to further develop and diversify the biomanufacturing ecosystems in both countries. By helping small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other stakeholders build the technical capabilities required for the development and economically sustainable production of next‑generation vaccines and therapeutics, both countries will be well positioned to respond to future health emergencies.

Projects must be focused on the development of pre‑commercial technologies that address an identified need in the area of biomanufacturing of biologics and advanced therapeutics technologies, in the following themes:

Enabling technologies for biologics and advanced therapeutics:

Delivery systems for proteins and nucleic acids:

Novel biological products:

4. Eligibility requirements

To be considered for funding, applicants must form a project consortium and develop a collaborative R&D project that meets the following criteria:

4.1 Consortium

4.2 Canadian SME applicants

4.3 Project

4.4 UK eligibility requirements

Please consult the UK Innovation Funding Service (IFS) call for proposals announcement for UK eligibility requirements.

5. Funding

Eligible participants in collaborative projects selected through this call for proposals may receive funding from their respective national funding bodies. Funds will be provided in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, rules and procedures established by the relevant national funding bodies, country and jurisdiction.

Note: One country or project partner cannot represent more than 70% of the total project budget.

5.1 Canadian funding

In Canada, this call for proposals is offered through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and the NRC Collaborative Science and Technology Innovation Program (NRC CSTIP).

NRC IRAP is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and for the management of any resulting SME funding agreements. The NRC CSTIP is responsible for the management of any resulting funding agreements with the other Canadian collaborators (see section 4.1). The NRC CSTIP aims to establish the NRC as a collaborative platform that leverages scientific excellence to tackle Canada's most pressing challenges.

Through this call for proposals, projects have the opportunity to benefit from the NRC's assets (special‑purpose research facilities, scientific expertise and networks) along with financial assistance in the form of non‑repayable grants or contributions.

Note: The maximum Canadian funding allocation for each consortium project is set at $1,000,000 CAD. This includes funding for Canadian SMEs and other Canadian collaborators.

Canadian SMEs

Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive up 50% reimbursement of the total project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of $1,000,000 CAD over 12 to 24 months.

Canadian SME applicants may apply to more than one NRC IRAP call for proposals simultaneously. However, NRC IRAP may limit the number of funded projects per applicant. Canadian SME applicants who are applying to more than one opportunity or who have ongoing NRC IRAP projects should speak to their NRC IRAP representative for more information.

Note: Canadian SME applicants must be eligible for funding as NRC IRAP clients before they can be considered for funding through this call for proposals.

For more information on NRC IRAP eligibility and becoming an NRC IRAP client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1‑877‑994‑4727.

Other Canadian collaborators

5.2 UK funding

In the UK, this call for proposals is offered through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Innovate UK, part of UKRI, is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and the management of any resulting funding agreements.

Please consult the Innovate UK IFS call for proposals announcement for UK funding parameters.

6. Application process

This call for proposal is being hosted by Innovate UK's Innovation Funding Service (IFS). Each project consortium must complete and submit the joint project application form via the UK Innovation IFS application portal. Please consult the Innovate UK IFS application portal for instructions on how to complete and submit the project application package.

In addition to the project consortium submitting the IFS project application form, each country lead participant must submit all required consortium application documents on behalf of the consortium, to the appropriate national funding body (NRC IRAP for Canada and UKRI for UK) and meet its due diligence process requirements. Failure to do so, for any reason, may cause the entire collaborative project application to be considered incomplete or ineligible and render the entire project consortium ineligible for funding through this call for proposals.

Application processes and evaluations will be performed independently by each national funding body in accordance with their national and institutional laws and regulations. Once each national funding body has evaluated the submitted applications, a final joint project selection will be performed.

Information on respective application processes follows below:

6.1 Canadian application process

The Canadian application process has 4 phases:

Step 1: Registration phase

The lead Canadian applicant must register electronically by using the Register button at the bottom of this page. Basic information about the applicant and the organization will be required upon registration.

NRC IRAP will review registrations for this call for proposals and contact applicants if more information is required. Qualifying applicants will proceed to the next phase and be invited to submit an expression of interest form.

Step 2: Expression of interest phase

During this phase, the lead Canadian applicant must submit an expression of interest (EOI) form outlining basic information on the applicants and the collaborative project.

While completing the EOI form, each Canadian SME applicant is encouraged to contact their NRC IRAP representative to discuss their project idea and receive guidance on preparing their submission.

It is recommended that applicants submit the EOI as early as possible. EOIs will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team. Qualifying applicants will be invited to submit the more detailed international consortium project proposal (ICPP) in collaboration with their project partners. The lead Canadian consortium applicant will be provided with all the templates needed to submit an ICPP.

Step 3: International consortium project proposal (ICPP) phase

During this phase, all project partners must work together to complete and submit the IFS Joint project application.

In addition, all the Canadian partners must work together to complete and submit the Canadian CPP application package, which consists of the following:

  1. An IFS joint project application form outlining the:
    • project consortium
    • collaborative project
    • expected outcomes
    • expected project cost and calendar
  2. An NRC IRAP Canadian SME annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian SME applicants and the project consortium
  3. An NRC Other Canadian Collaborator annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian researcher applicants and the project consortium
  4. A draft international project consortium agreement containing descriptions of the:
    • roles and responsibilities of each consortium member
    • project management framework
    • division of intellectual property rights
    • confidentiality and publication agreements, and liability clauses

Canadian ICPP applications will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team. Next, the amalgamated evaluation results will be shared between national funding bodies to jointly select the collaborative projects that will be invited to proceed to the final national funding body proposal and funding agreement stage.

Step 4: National funding body proposal and funding agreement phase

During the national funding body proposal and funding agreement phase, all eligible project partners work independently to complete funding proposals and sign legally binding funding agreements with their respective national funding body. Canadian SME applicants will work with their NRC IRAP representative to prepare an NRC IRAP funding proposal and contribution agreement. Other Canadian collaborators will work with the NRC CSTIP to prepare a funding proposal and grant or contribution agreement as appropriate.

6.2 UK application process

For information related to application stages, requirements, instructions, ICPP application packages and national funding body proposals and funding agreements, please consult the Innovate UK IFS call for proposals announcement.

7. Contacts

For questions, concerns or for more information, please contact the appropriate call for proposals representative listed below:

7.1 Canadian contacts

Small and medium‑sized enterprises
Paul McVeigh
NRC IRAP Biotechnology Program Lead
National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program
paul.mcveigh@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Other Canadian collaborators
National Program Office
National Research Council of Canada
NRC.NationalProgramOffice-Bureaunationaldesprogrammes.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

7.2 UK contact

Dr Rachel Harris
Innovation Lead – Medicines Manufacturing
Innovate UK
rachel.harris@iuk.ukri.org

8. Registration

Canadian SME participants must be registered NRC IRAP clients. If not already an NRC IRAP client, Canadian SMEs must contact 1‑877‑994‑4727 to determine if they might be eligible for support through the NRC IRAP.

To begin the application process, the lead Canadian applicant must register for this opportunity by selecting the Register button.

If there is no Register button visible below this line, it means the call for proposals has closed. Please contact the contact listed in Section 7 or the NRC IRAP International Office at IRAP.International.PARI@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca for more information.

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From: National Research Council Canada

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