BMWi Supports Innovation for Manufacturing and Development of Specialty Lipids

New national funding programme funds collaborative R&D projects in Germany that develop novel specialty lipids and other types of auxiliary materials for mRNA vaccines as well as improve current manufacturing processes.

Since 2020, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWi – Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection) operates investment and innovation funding programmes for the German healthcare sector that are targeted at the control and prevention of pandemics. As part of these funding programmes, BMWi now funds research and development projects with specialty lipids and other auxiliary materials for mRNA vaccines and other mRNA drugs. The programme also supports innovation for improved manufacturing capacities.

Funding is provided in three different modules:

Module 1: Investment programme for the short-term improvement and development of manufacturing capacities (available for commercial businesses only).

This module supports commercial businesses that manufacture specialty lipids to help improve their manufacturing capacity and modernise or enhance existing plants.

Module 2: Research and development programme for medium-term technological developments of manufacturing processes for specialty lipids.

This module supports collaborative projects that bring together industry and research in order to further develop existing batch production processes for specialty lipids. The aim is to improve material efficiency as well as reduce energy and personnel demand, and speed up production. Other important aspects include sustainability, environmental compatibility and flexibility of the manufacturing processes.

Module 3: Research and development for novel specialty lipids and other types of auxiliary materials for the transport of active agents.

This module supports research consortia dedicated to medium and long-term collaboration between industry and research in the field of specialty lipids for mRNA-based vaccines, mRNA-based drugs and novel auxiliary materials for the transport of active agents. Projects should develop basic knowledge and competencies on specialist lipids as well as facilitate knowledge exchange between higher education institutions and manufacturing businesses.

Funding for module 1 is limited exclusively to commercial businesses in Germany. In modules 2 and 3, proposals may be submitted by both commercial businesses and research organisations in Germany. Projects are generally expected to bring together multiple partners in a consortium. The participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) is particularly encouraged. Individual projects may also receive funding in justified cases.

Funding is provided as a subsidy or project grant on the basis of eligible costs. Commercial businesses may receive funding of project-related costs of between 15% and 50%. Institutions of higher education, research organisations and SME are eligible to higher funding levels. The maximum funding amounts are set at 80% for module 2 and 100% for module 3. The maximum funding period for collaborative projects (module 2 and 3) is five years.

There are different application deadlines and procedures for each module. For module 1, funding applications are submitted directly. For module 2 and 3, applicants first submit an outline proposal. In a second step, shortlisted projects will then be invited to submit their formal funding application.

The deadlines for each module are as follows:

  • Module 1: 28 February 2022.
  • Module 2: 30 April 2022.
  • Module 3: 30 June 2022.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)