Advanced Therapies (gene and cell based treatments) is a fast growing area of research and innovation in life sciences, with the potential to provide a step-change in the treatment of many diseases. Funded by the Research England Connecting Capabilities Fund as part of the London Advanced Therapies programme, this round of Collaborate to Innovate offers a focused and intensive end-to-end solution for SMEs working in advanced therapies with specific  R&D needs. It helps define those needs, then matches them to expertise in Higher Education Institutes and delivers research collaborations with the aim of leading to innovative advanced therapies products. Each of the participating SMEs in the scheme will receive support to help them tap into academic expertise and key capabilities from the university delivery partners up to a value of £100,000 which is paid for by the programme. Collaborate to Innovate round 2 is managed centrally by MedCity and delivered through the following academic delivery partners:

  • King’s College London
  • University College London
  • Imperial College London.

Target SMEs include advanced therapies biotech companies working in the area of gene or cell therapy products, gene engineering, regenerative medicine, supply chain, vector manufacturing, and specialist equipment companies and related technology.

Key Points SMEs should have a challenge/problem that could potentially be addressed by a collaboration with an academic partner. Collaborate to Innovate matches the SMEs to academic research groups with complementary expertise. SMEs may also nominate academic partners they wish to work with. However, the programme emphasises new collaborations. Projects:

  • Are SME-driven
  • Receive up to £100,000 support available in eligible costs
  • Are typically 12 months in duration
  • All costs are borne by the academic partner

Up to 10 -15 projects will be supported

Application Process and timelines:

Stage 1:

Initial Expression of SME Interest form to determine their eligibility, type of academic expertise that they want to engage and whether they need to undergo matchmaking.

Review of Stage 1 Applications

Stage 1 Outcomes Letters and Matchmaking

Stage 2:

Shortlisted SMEs and matched academic partners are invited to submit an online collaborative research project proposal

Stage 2 Review Panel

Stage 2 Outcome Letters

Collaborative Research projects start


Call launch: 13 February 2019

Stage 1 opens: 21 February 2019

Stage 1 closes: 21 March 2019

Review of Stage 1 Applications: starts 25 March 2019

Stage 2 Outcome Letters and Partnerships formation: June 2019

Collaborative Research project finish: September 2020