Bakery businesses are being urged to apply for a slice of a new research fund worth £180,000 from Coeliac UK and Innovate UK.

Researchers and firms have until 16 September to apply for grants to help investigate ways to help improve the quality of life for those living with coeliac disease and other gluten-related autoimmune disorders.

Projects could include ways to produce better gluten free food, develop tools for the long-term management of coeliac disease and improve diagnostics for this and other gluten-related neurological conditions, Coeliac UK said.

The funding builds on the first round, which was announced by the charity and agency in 2018 and totalled £750,000.

Earlier this year three projects in Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh, were awarded grants including a scheme by Heriot-Watt University to improve the ingredients used in gluten-free bread.

“We want to change the course of coeliac disease treatment through improved diagnostics, technology and food innovations that truly bridge the gap between people, health professionals and products,” Hilary Croft, new CEO of Coeliac UK said.

“Research has the power to do this and by combining forces with Innovate UK and industry, our charity demonstrates its unwavering commitment to the UK’s growing gluten-free community.”

Researchers and businesses working on projects that cost between £50k and £250k can jointly apply for a share of the £180k funding.

Kathryn Miller, innovation lead for food and nutrition at Innovate UK, added: “It’s fantastic to be working with charities such as Coeliac UK to promote innovations that will have a real, positive impact on people’s lives. Innovate UK has long supported businesses innovating in the areas of healthcare diagnostics, digital support and enhancing nutritional quality of foods, themes already supported through joint Coeliac UK/Innovate UK funding awarded earlier this year.”