PACE aims to provide funding and support for high value, high risk, early phase drug discovery and diagnostic projects. We want to smooth your path to progress. We blend the right funding with the right advice and the right people to give your idea the best chance of success.

PACE has opened a new call for proposals: 2023 Antibacterial Therapeutics Funding Call

We are looking to help create and advance an exciting and diverse pipeline of preclinical phase projects aimed at treating bacterial infections with high unmet need. With this aim our first funding call will focus solely on early-stage, novel, antibacterial therapeutics. Up to 12 applicants will be awarded a maximum of £1 million in grant funding, with projects expected to last up to two years. AMR innovators worldwide are eligible to apply. Expressions of interest are invited by 24 November. An informational webinar held on 31 October for interested parties can be accessed here.


PACE is not just about grant funding; we offer a truly collaborative approach to project development and delivery. Those who secure funding will feel the wider value of a network of potential project partners and receive advice and guidance from some of the best in the field. And we’re there for the long run, so whether you move to the next stage of development or aren’t successful in securing a grant this time around, you can stay plugged into our community and continue to benefit from our expert ecosystem.

Seeking projects with the greatest potential

We are looking for projects directed at the highest-burden drug-resistant bacterial infections and indications, as highlighted by the Lancet study and by the WHO priority list. In scope indications are: Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTI); Bloodstream Infections (BSI); Intra-abdominal Infections (IAI); and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).

And projects should be directed at one or more of the following drug-resistant bacteria. They are as follows:

Top priority

Novel therapeutics applicable for drug-resistant bacterial infections associated with WHO critical priority Gram-negative pathogens Enterobacteriaceae (prioritising E. coli and K. pneumoniae), A. baumannii, and P. aeruginosa 

Also eligible 

Novel oral therapeutics applicable to drug-resistant S. aureus  

Projects should be transformational, with the aim to fill a gap for innovative & differentiated antimicrobials in the clinical pipeline. We encourage projects that are based on the concept of precision medicine where consideration is given to potential patient stratification and diagnostics requirements. Our criteria are aligned with those of potential follow-on funders and the NICE subscription model criteria, paving a route from the bench to patient impact 


  • Our funding is open to researchers in academia and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) worldwide, including consortia (Large Pharma partners permitted, but must cover own costs)​ 
  • Applications should have a single lead applicant, however co-applicants are welcome. 

PACE intend to fund projects looking at:

  • Hit Validation, Hit-to-Lead, Lead Optimisation, Candidate Selection and Early Preclinical phases 
  • Any novel targets OR novel chemical classes including but not limited to the following mechanisms; direct-acting and non-direct acting antimicrobials, anti-virulence approaches, immunomodulatory agents, and potentiators
  • Any modality including but not limited to small molecules, antibodies, peptides, CRISPR-Cas, complex/targeted modalities, phage.


What we are not looking for:

  • Projects focused solely on IND/CTA-enabling studies or clinical phase R&D 
  • Target Identification, screening and Hit Identification 
  • Antibiotics based on iterations of existing therapeutics e.g. β-lactams
  • Vaccines
  • Infections caused by mycobacteria (including TB), fungal and Gram-positive pathogens other than S. aureus​ 
  • S. aureus therapeutics:
    • that are non-oral formulations
    • any formulations targeting skin or prosthetic joint infections
  • Projects not directly focused on antimicrobial development (e.g. diagnostics, delivery methods, biomarkers, standalone technology, model development). 

Application Process

The expression of interest will be open on our website from 19 October 2023 and a closing date of 23:59 (GMT) 24 November 2023. Shortlisted applicants will be invited in January to the full application stage. A Catalyser workshop will be available for all selected applicants to support them in developing their Full Applications. Final funding decisions will be communicated in June, with an expectation of project initiation within three months of receipt of the award letter. Key steps in the process are summarised.

Funding call now closed

Watch our Webinar

Parties interested in our Funding call, who missed the webinar can watch the recording here.

T&Cs of a PACE Project Award

If you’re interested in applying in our call for proposals. Here you will find the terms and conditions of the PACE project award.

Book a Meeting

If you have a project that would fit the scope of this call, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us to discuss your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answers to your questions. Covering everything from the support you'll receive from PACE and the application/review process, to scope, eligibility and funding.

What is PACE, is it just about grant funding?

PACE is a collaboration between three leaders in the UK's health innovation and research community. The £30m initiative will harness the expertise of the partner organisations to not only grant fund projects but also to offer advice and mentorship and to provide access to a collaborative network of potential project partners to enable the best chance of project success - de-risked and investment-ready assets for potential downstream funding (by, e.g. CARB-X, corporate and venture investment and other later stage funding and support mechanisms).

What is the role of the PACE R&D Advisor?

PACE R&D Advisors will actively engage with you and your project team throughout the lifecycle of the project (including helping develop the full application). Support will be tailored to individual project needs (defined at the full application stage). Support may include signposting and making connections across the PACE delivery partner network and beyond as needed; mentorship and advice including but not limited to drug/diagnostic discovery, disease area insight, experimental work package design and support to engage 3rd party delivery partners as needed (e.g. development of a statement of works and acting as the point of contact). Facilitate scientific advisory boards and public and patient engagement panels. PACE R&D Advisors will not make funding decisions about your project, but they will be involved in reporting on project progress to the PACE joint programme management board

What is the PACE Delivery Partner Network, how do I access it and do I have to use it?

PACE intends to bring together a network of delivery partners to enable all aspects of outsourced project work (both lab-based and consultancy, including e.g. regulatory and safety) across the PACE-funded project portfolio. PACE recognises that not all applicants will have the internal resources and pre-existing relationships required for end-to-end project delivery and, for that reason, wants to be able to facilitate connections and collaborations. Recipients of PACE Project Awards will retain the right to choose whom they work with to deliver their project, including where the Recipient has established relationships with their own delivery partners -  PACE R&D Advisors will work closely with Recipients of funding to identify where access to a PACE delivery partner is in the best interests of the project.

How does my organisation become a PACE delivery partner?

We will be looking to establish a delivery partner network to support the delivery of PACE-funded projects. More to follow on this in the future. To stay updated with PACE news, please sign up here.

Our project is not in scope. Is there anything PACE might be able to support with?

We would always welcome enquiries and may be able to help or advise. Please sign up for our marketing communications to stay engaged with us.

If my application is rejected, will I be eligible for future funding calls?

We want to support innovators and would encourage you to apply to other calls; resubmission of the same proposal without addressing feedback would likely be rejected.

Do you anticipate future funding calls?

We expect further funding calls; the exact nature and timings will be determined.

Do I need to have the capabilities, tools and facilities to deliver the project in house?

No. However, applicants will need to articulate a clear plan as to what capability, tools or facilities will be accessed to deliver the proposed research plan, either through collaboration with project partners or by outsourcing defined parts of the research plan to Contract Research Organisations (CROs). Value for money must be demonstrated for outsourced CRO work.

Where is the link to the application portal?

Please see the link on the funding page. This will be live from 19 October 2023 until midnight GMT 24 November.

Can I save the EOI as a draft within the submission portal?

Yes, you can once you log into the Submittable link and fill in the applicant section.

The PACE funding initiative is a major step forward in tackling the current AMR crisis and will help accelerate research and discovery in the UK. Antibiotic Research UK’s patients and researchers will all be delighted at the news, and as a leading charity in the field of AMR we look forward to continuing to collaborate with Innovate UK, LifeArc and Medicines Discovery Catapult to ensure a strong patient perspective is included in the programme.

Jonathan Pearce

CEO, Antibiotic Research UK