Novel Insulins Innovation Incubator

Funding call

Novel Insulin illustration

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge Partnership invites applications for funding under the Novel Insulins research area.


The Novel insulins Innovation Incubator call from the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge is designed to support transformative research in the field of insulin development. This funding opportunity will make initial awards of up to £500,000 in phase 1. The call is open to academic groups and small to medium size biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies without geographical restrictions.

Award amount and duration

Phase 1 of this programme offers funding for up to 1 year with budgets capped at £500,000. Under exceptional circumstances such as the need to use large animal models, a higher budget (up to £1 million) may be considered. Please contact the JDRF UK Research Team early at to discuss such request.

Award holders from Phase 1 may be invited to submit a proposal to take their project into a second phase if their project meets key milestones and gives rise to promising results which could lead to benefits for those living with type 1 diabetes. It is envisaged that Phase 2 will offer a further 3 years of funding of around £3 million per project.

Timeline and deadlines for your research proposal

Launch Date: 28 November 2023
Pitch to Reviewing Panel (15 min presentation, 15 min questions): 20 February 2024
Conditional awards made: 20 February 2024
Invitation to Rebuttal: 8 May 2024
ANTICIPATED AWARD DATE (subject to changes): 13 June 2024
Earliest Start Date: 1 August 2024


The Steve Morgan Foundation has given an incredible £50 million donation to transform the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes and lead the global race to a cure. This investment is the largest-ever single gift in the UK for type 1 diabetes research.

The Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge is delivered in partnership through Diabetes UK and JDRF, and cultivates collaboration between world-leading researchers, scientific organisations, and diabetes charities to drive innovation and accelerate research breakthroughs worldwide.

During the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge, £15 million will fund the Novel Insulins part of the initiative. This part of the Challenge is designed to drive innovation in insulin development with a goal of revolutionising insulin therapy for people who live with type 1 diabetes.

100 years after Banting and McLeod were awarded the Nobel prize for the development of insulin as a therapy for type 1 diabetes, insulin remains the cornerstone treatment for type 1 diabetes. Yet this treatment places a uniquely heavy burden on people who must use it. Even with all the recent advances in insulin delivery and glucose sensing technologies, people with type 1 are still expected to remain relentless in managing their condition. The insulins and tools available to help them in this task are imperfect, as evidenced by the fact that 68% of people with type 1 diabetes in the UK cannot achieve recommended glucose management targets. This leaves people who live with type 1 facing constant risks of hypo- and hyperglycaemia from the moment they are diagnosed with this condition.

Purpose of the funding call

This call is designed to drive transformational therapy development, so projects are sought that will advance concepts toward clinical development and delivery.

We welcome high risk/high reward projects that have the potential to move the field in big steps, not incremental developments. It is not limited to a particular type of novel insulin. Applications investigating any bold concept, for example glucose responsive insulins, liver targeted insulins, monomeric/dimeric insulins etc are equally welcome.

Strong preliminary data should form the basis of any application. Applications must show evidence that the potential product developed would be of interest to people with type 1 diabetes and offer a welcome alternative to current insulins.

It is expected that results will be published in peer-reviewed journals to benefit the broader scientific community. If the results warrant patenting, publication will be expected as soon as protection has been granted.

Eligibility criteria

This call is open to applicants affiliated with academic, medical or other recognised research institutions as well as to applicants affiliated with small to medium size biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies. There are no geographical restrictions.

The principal investigators must have an internationally competitive research track record in drug design or development. Principal investigators with chemistry and/or pharmacology backgrounds are welcome to apply and are encouraged to collaborate with researchers working in the type 1 diabetes field.

Applicants must have the relevant skills to facilitate the progression of their research to a critical juncture in the development pathway and a clear vision of the potential clinical impact of their product.

Applicants must ensure that the views and needs of people living with type 1 diabetes are taken into account in the development of the application and that equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are considered within the proposal. Meaningful involvement of people who live with type 1 diabetes improves the quality and relevance of basic and clinical research by providing a different perspective. Inclusive research is also essential for generating more generalisable results and ultimately better healthcare. There are helpful resources on JDRF’s participation, engagement and involvement page.

Funding application process

This call for proposals follows a multistep process including a pitch to a panel of experts.

Applicants should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) using the template provided, via email to, to provide an overview of their research plan.

All LOIs will be assessed by the Novel Insulins Incubator Panel. Please note that the panel includes people living with type 1 diabetes but without directly relevant scientific training.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their idea to the Novel Insulins Incubator Panel by joining a virtual meeting.

Applicants will be offered a conditional award on the pitch day and will be invited to submit a complete research plan (full application), via RMS360.

Full applications will be reviewed, and if necessary the applicants may be asked to amend their proposals to address the reviewers’ comments.

Final review will be carried out ahead of final approval.

Assessment criteria

The following criteria will be considered during the assessment (including the pitch meeting):

  • Significance,
  • Innovation and high-quality science,
  • Clarity and soundness of the proposed methods,
  • Applicant and team track record and ability to deliver the proposed research, and facilities to conduct the proposed research,
  • Potential impact on quality of life of people living with type 1 diabetes and involvement of people living with type 1 diabetes in the proposed research,
  • Feasibility, the potential to deliver the stated outcomes within the timescales and budget,
  • Value for money.

Guidelines and Terms & Conditions

To apply, please download and complete the application form. Please refer to the detailed guidelines and the Terms & Conditions.

Enquiries about this funding call

If you have any questions about this funding call, please email JDRF UK Research Team