Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5.4 million. This is for innovation projects that use whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers. This competition is funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim is to encourage the development of new approaches to targeted therapy based on the molecular signatures of cancers. Your project can develop new analytical methods or validate new targets using new and existing genomic data from cancers.


The aim of this competition is to support projects that involve the use of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancer.

Your project must work with whole genome sequence data. This can be through the manipulation of existing whole genome data, through the collection of other whole genome sequences or through both of these. Possible approaches include but are not limited to:

  • the development of new analytical or reporting tools for clinical decision support
  • the identification of molecular signatures that allow for new or improved targeting of therapies
  • the identification of new therapeutic targets
  • new genetic signatures that can be used clinically, such as markers that support repurposing of drugs or a personalised approach to patient management
  • the comparative assessment of alternative assay methods in parallel with whole genome sequencing

It is expected that projects that generate new whole genome sequence data to make this data available within as part of the dataset held by Genomics England at the end of the project.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following, or on other suitable themes:

  • improving the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer and the selection of therapies
  • the analysis of complex molecular signatures, including copy number variants, structural changes and tumour heterogeneity
  • supporting the identification of tumours of unknown primary origin
  • further analysis of existing whole genome sequence data held by Genomics England


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not involve whole genome sequencing
  • involve other forms of genetic analysis, unless as part of a comparison with whole genome sequencing
  • use other forms of genetic analysis, such as panel tests or arrays in isolation


If your project is a feasibility study, it:

  • must have total eligible costs between £50,000 and £100,000
  • must be led by a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • can be single or collaborative

If your project is industrial research and/or experimental development, it:

  • must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £1 million
  • must include an SME
  • must be collaborative

To lead a project or work alone you must:

  • be a UK registered SME for feasibility studies
  • be a UK registered business, of any size, or a research and technology organisation (RTO) for collaborative research and development (R&D)
  • involve at least one SME

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

The lead and any partners must carry out their project work and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.

For all types of research, to collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must be:

  • a UK registered business
  • an academic institution
  • a public sector organisation or charity
  • or an RTO

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Funding Costs

There is up to £5.4 million allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Projects must start by 1 July 2020 and end by 31 March 2022. They can last between 6 and 18 months.

Interested in applying for this competition?