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:

[Updated 23rd April 2020]

Innovate UK have been in discussion with the Cabinet Office, DHSC and NHS with regards to current critical COVID-19 shortages. The need is for renal fluid supply for Continuous Veno-Venus Hemofiltration (or CVVH) in ICUs.

The current suppliers for the 3 most popular CVVH machines have severely limited stock.   The NHS is keen to understand if there is additional capability in the UK to manufacture this fluid.  Innovate UK assume the bulk fluids and tubing and bags (or bulk bottles) for both haemo and peritoneal dialysis need to be sterile (If not they will certainly need to be preserved to stop bacterial growth). For aseptic compounding and fill of liquids this will require a sterile manufacture area or laminar flow environment. This is not the same as clean rooms for medical devices.

If you have any contacts that could help, or capability within networks, please get in touch with Innovate UK.

[Updated 7th April 2020]

£20 million for ambitious technologies to build UK resilience following coronavirus outbreak

Businesses could help boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak and similar situations in the future, as a result of £20 million government funding announced today (Friday 3 April).

Grants of up to £50,000 will be available to technology and research-focussed businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport, as well as support people at home in circumstances like those during the coronavirus outbreak.

Innovations could include:

  • new technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand and improve deliveries across the UK
  • new services for families to connect with and remotely monitor their elderly or vulnerable relatives, giving people peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the services they require such as food deliveries, doctor’s appointments and paying bills
  • creating education tools which seamlessly integrate the classroom with the kitchen table, allowing teachers to remotely set dynamic tasks, support vulnerable children and make certain no child is left behind

The proposals will be reviewed as part of a competition launched by Innovate UK, seeking the best new ideas from businesses.

All the projects will begin by June 2020 and will last up to 6 months, with products and services expected to be available to the public towards the end of this year.

[Previous article] 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. This has now closed


NHS Supply Chain Opportunities

[Updated 29th April 2020]

The government have stated that they aren’t currently able to proceed with any new applications to provide ventilators that have not already started. The UK has fulfilled the clinical need for ventilators through a combination of existing CE marked ventilators and existing applications to the Ventilator challenge.

Further information from the Cabinet Office who are running the Ventilator challenge.


Government sets out plan for national effort on PPE

A UK-wide plan to ensure that critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to those on the frontline responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published 10th April by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

The 3-strand plan will provide clear guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and set out action to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

In addition, a new PPE hub provides easy access to all the government’s guidance on PPE in one place – a one-stop shop people can visit to understand what PPE they need.


COVID-19 Test Kit Supplies
Full Complete Test Kits

Cleaning & Hygiene products
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) products 

Medical Testing Equipment
Medical Equipment Design
Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers, such as Masks, Gowns and Sanitiser
Manufacturing Equipment
Expertise or Support on Manufacturing, Construction, Project Management, Procurement or Engineering

Logistic Support

Please note there are separate contact details for the specific areas listed below:


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.