Opportunities for Manufacturers | Manufacturing Growth Programme

The UKs manufacturers are coming together and showcasing their strength while being faced with the most unprecedented situation that is having an impact on all of us both socially and economically.

Here are some of the opportunities arising for SME Manufacturers to support:

Technology Challenge

New technology challenge to support people who are isolating. £500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus.

The funding will be available to innovators who can find digital ways to support people who need help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The ‘Techforce19’ challenge aims to support those who need to stay at home for several weeks and need help. This could include people who need mental health support or who have social care needs.

Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available.

The programme is looking for digital solutions that can be launched in the next few weeks, and could include:

  • providing remote social care – for example, by locating and matching qualified carers to those in need
  • optimising the volunteer sector – for example, by developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers
  • improving mental health support – for example, by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support
  • any other solutions to ease pressures on services and people during this time

This technology will supplement existing support for those who may be most affected by staying at home for long periods of time.

The programme is being launched by NHSX and managed by PUBLIC, a GovTech venture firm. PUBLIC will not receive any payment for running this competition.

For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit techforce19.uk.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits

Manufacturering companies can submit COVID-19 test kits for regulatory approval to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

If you are a manufacturer of test kits, fill in the form below and send it to Covidtestingtriage@dhsc.gov.uk, together with your performance data. MHRA are developing specifications for Covid 19 tests and will make these available as soon as possible.

Download the form here.


Ventilator Support

The Government Commercial Function (GCF) needs your help to build a resource pool to provide a rapid response to critical COVID-19 requirements, most urgently to deliver 30,000 new ventilators.

Please review the list below and if you have any experience of working within these sectors, complete the form online here: https://ventilator.herokuapp.com/

  1. Medical device company or a supplier to medical device companies
  2. Pharmaceutical company or a supplier to pharmaceutical companies
  3. Companies that sub contract or make components for any of those listed above
  4. Companies that manufacture critical components likely to include air compressors, sheet metal, pipes, valves, couplings, flow sensors, power supplies, industrial automation/testing. A more detailed list is below.

Please only respond if you have any experience of working for those companies listed above and inform your line manager.


Guidance for industry

The MHRA is working closely with DHSC and other healthcare partners on COVID-19.

We are prioritising work including:

  • Supporting and authorising the development of vaccines
  • Clinical trials of new medicines
  • Managing the supply of medicines and healthcare products

We also provide information to patients, manufacturers and healthcare professionals through our established information channels and alert systems.

The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), part of the MHRA, also plays a major role in assuring the quality of biological medicines, worldwide.

The MHRA Inspectorate blog has several posts covering the approach taken on clinical trials and advice on other areas like remote working.


For further support and guidance at this time, please contact your local Manufacturing Growth Manager.