01 June 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

UK continues to boost PPE supply

The UK government has secured deals to manufacture 2 billion items of PPE in the UK, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

In a statement, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said that ‘We have now signed deals with over 100 suppliers across the world to secure more PPE, and at the same we have ramped up domestic production. We have now ordered 2 billion pieces of PPE from homegrown firms which is also great news for jobs and the economy, and over 3 billion pieces from abroad.’

As part of the domestic production plans, deals have been made with:

  • Honeywell to manufacture 70 million face masks.
  • Don & Low to manufacture 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next 6 months.
  • Jaguar Land Rover to manufacture 14,000 visors a week for healthcare staff.

Face protection masks

EU increases health spending

The European Commission recently has set out plans to increase health spending in a revised budget plan for 2021-2027. The new model includes €9.4 billion for a standalone health programme aimed at strengthening Europe’s strategies in the face of any future crises.

A portion of this health spending will be used for updating hospital equipment, including cancer screening equipment, as well as training programmes for medical and healthcare staff.

Funding for research will, however, remain under the Horizon Europe programme, but the new health programme will benefit from research results to facilitate the uptake, scale-up and deployment of health innovation.

Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s health commissioner added that, ‘This crisis made it clear: our capacity needs to be brought to a different level,’ and noted that if hospitals become overburdened in the future again, ‘we should be able to step in with resources.’

Doctor and hands in shape of heart

COVID-19 Roundup

As Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe, we round up some of the innovative steps being taken by businesses in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector to aid those on the frontline of this global crisis.

Read more here.

Covid-19 virus

Calls for evidence

 Call for Proposals needing rapid access to the Diamond synchrotron. 

Diamond is offering priority rapid access for projects directly related to SARS-CoV-2 virtual proteins. 


Deadline: Not specified 


 The science of covid-19

Investigate the scientific and technological aspects of covid-19, including the transmission and spread of the virus, the development of vaccines and treatments and the application of digital technologies for tracking and modelling.

Deadline: 30 June 2020


This inquiry looks into the technological innovations which could tackle climate change, looking into specific technology currently in use or in development. The second session of inquiry looks at hydrogen production and distribution.

Deadline: 19 June 2020

Funding competitions

Covid-19 rapid response rolling call

DHSC and UKRI have launched a rolling call for proposals for research into covid-19. Research should cover an understanding of the disease, prevention and management of the covid-19 outbreak.

Deadline: 1 April 2021 

Support for R&D intensive SMEs

 As part of the Chancellor’s £1.25Bn support package, £750m R&D funding (as grants and loans) will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme. First payments will be made available mid-May.

Deadline: Not released

Repurposing of UKRI grants for covid-19 purposes

Apply to repurpose your grant to support research into covid-19.

Deadline: Not specified 

 Future flight

As part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the second phase of the Future Flight Challenge is launched. Funding is now available for innovations to help change the way we fly.

Deadline: Not specified

 NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace, Spring 2020

UK micro enterprises and SMEs can apply for funding to develop innovative aerospace technologies. The total project grant must be less than £150,000. Projects must focus on one or more of the value streams within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

Deadline: 17 June 2020



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