The UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, has awarded over £9.2 million to support 35 collaborative projects to advance the UK’s capabilities in formulated products. By sharing expertise across sectors, it is projected that the collaborations could deliver up to £110 million to UK plc*.
Formulated products combine different ingredients to produce a specific effect, such as drug delivery, skin cream absorption or the drying speed of paint. The UK market is worth around £180bn a year with the potential to generate around £1,000bn in emerging overseas markets (Chemistry Innovation KTN Strategy Report 2010).
The £9.2 million allocated through the Formulated products - meeting the product and process design challenge was shared across 19 feasibility projects and 16 collaborative R&D projects. The initial funding was increased by 50% due to the strength of submissions.
The successful bids came from a range of sectors including food, personal care, pharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical, coatings and catalysts. Examples of successful bids include plans to:

  • Generate a structured approach to designing age-appropriate medicines for children and technology to predict their quality and performance
  • Develop more sustainable decorative paint
  • Develop new inhalation formulations for the treatment of respiratory disease
  • Create a new approach to digitally designing formulated drug products to provide huge improvements in reliability, quality and manufacturing processes of pharmaceuticals
  • Create new modelling techniques to speed up formulated product design and therefore reduce the cost of bringing new products to market.

Paul Stott, Vice President of Product Development at AstraZeneca, which was involved in several successful pharmaceutical applications, said: “Working together on the Formulation competition has demonstrated the ability of industry and academia to collaborate on projects that will advance fundamental formulation science for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.  I have been particularly impressed with the enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication of everyone involved in the bids.  This competition has laid strong foundations for future cross industry collaboration and the development of world class formulation expertise in the UK.”
The UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in formulation. It has leading academic expertise and many multinationals active in formulation have R&D and manufacturing bases in the UK. The Government has named ‘formulated products’ a strategic national competency, allocating funding for sharing ideas between sectors.
However, much of this expertise exists in silos. Different formulated products share complex microstructures, and therefore similar challenges. This competition was designed to help unlock some of the huge economic potential by sharing expertise across non-competitive sectors.
Having worked with the formulation community, Chemistry Innovation helped the Technology Strategy Board to shape the competition, ensuring it would fund areas which had the most potential for the UK. It also worked with a number of applicants to help them form partnerships, calculate ROI and submit successful proposals.
Darren Ragheb who leads on Formulation at Chemistry Innovation says: “This competition has shown that there is a real appetite for different sectors to work together to improve formulation, so that everyone’s end products benefit. This is just the beginning. The next step will be the launch of a Formulation Centre to provide a permanent resource to support collaboration in formulation across sectors.”
Read more about the successful feasibility and collaborative R&D projects.
* Based on historical ROI for Technology Strategy Board investment
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit