Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst

BIOCATNET Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst

Status: CLOSED

Application deadline: 17:00 29th September 2017

BBSRC recognises the importance of helping businesses and researchers to commercialise their research and develop innovative solutions to industrial challenges. Under the auspices of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) BIOCATNET has been awarded funds that will support several Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst Awards to build upon the success of the IB Catalyst, and capture the benefits of the Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) approach employed across the Research Councils.

Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst Awards provide funding of up to £25,000 (reimbursed at 100% fEC) to support the direct costs of a project. These awards are intended to fund short collaborative projects between BIOCATNET academic and industrial members with the aim of facilitating translational activities.

Scope of the call

BIOCATNET IB Seeding Catalyst Awards may be used to support a range of activities to address challenges using biocatalytic processes, or processes in which biocatalysis and chemical approaches are used in combination. The scientific scope of the funding will include production of:

  • Fine and speciality chemicals and natural products (e.g. fragrances, flavours; pharmaceutical intermediates)
  • Commodity, platform and intermediate chemicals and materials (e.g. .plastics and textiles)
  • Liquid and gaseous biofuels
  • Peptides and proteins (e.g. enzymes, antibiotics, recombinant biologics)
  • Novel or improved upstream or downstream processes to reduce costs or improve efficiency

The objectives of the IB Seeding Catalyst Awards are to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach. The award will support a number of preliminary-stage translational projects.

These challenges may be addressed by a wide range of activities such as, for example:

  • Funding for proof of concept projects
  • Developing ways to enable potential users to understand the benefits of novel ideas or technologies, e.g. initial product design, developing virtual demonstrations, mock-up and models, etc
  • Providing access to expertise to enable exploitation and commercialisation, such as undertaking market intelligence, understanding the regulatory landscape, or establishing early stage freedom to operate
  • Undertaking initial desk based market research, and early stage user intelligence activities

IB Catalyst Seeding Catalyst Awards CANNOT be used to support:

  • Generic translation activities or infrastructure
  • Patent filing or similar costs associated directly to registering intellectual property rights
  • Non-specific public engagement activities and science communication, however specific activities designed to have specific impact upon a specific public may be acceptable
  • New research

Key Features of the IB Seeding Catalyst Awards

  • Funds can be provided only to organisations of individuals eligible to receive BBSRC funding and industrial contributions (in cash or in kind) are encouraged
  • Payment will be in arrears subject to completion of work and reporting requirements (see Terms and Conditions for further information)
  • The ISCF seeding catalyst awards will fund direct costs only (see eligible funding section below)
  • Projects and associated expenditure must be completed by the 28th February 2018 and all reporting must be completed by 16th March 2018. This deadline is non-negotiable

Competition Process

BIOCATNET BBSRC NIBB IB Seeding Catalyst Awards are available to Network Members. There will be a single call for proposals that closes at 17.00 on the 29th of September. The application form should be requested from the BIOCATNET Network Managers via email ( and submitted via return email with the subject line “IB Seeding Catalyst Awards, unique identification number, and the name of the lead partner institution”. Assessment of applications will be conducted by the BIOCATNET management board and successful applicants will be notified on the 6th of October.

A copy of the competition Terms and Conditions can be downloaded here or requested from the Network Managers).

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) objectives

Activities proposed for funding through the IB Seeding Catalyst Award must also align with one or more of the following objectives of the ISCF strategy:

  • Increased UK business investment in R&D and improved R&D capability and capacity
  • Increased multi- and inter- disciplinary research around the challenge areas
  • Increased business-academic engagement on innovation activities relating to the challenge areas
  • Increased collaboration between younger, smaller companies and larger, more established companies up the value chain
  • Increased overseas investment in R&D in the UK
  • Eligible funding

    The ISCF seeding catalyst awards will fund direct costs only up to a value of £25,000, at 100% fEC. ISCF Seeding Catalyst award funds may be used to support the following:

    • Both directly incurred and directly allocated costs; Investigator and staff time can be charged to projects
    • Direct costs including Travel and Subsistence may be claimed at 100% fEC

    ISCF Seeding Catalyst award funds cannot be used to support the following:

    • Funding for generic staff posts not directly related to ISCF-funded projects, i.e. projects cannot support general “Impact Officer” positions, but can buy staff time on projects
    • Estates and Indirect costs