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22/40 Application development award - Towards evaluation of digital and technology-enabled healthcare commissioning brief


29 March 2022


1.0 March 2022



The aim of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme is to ensure that high quality research information on the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests are produced in the most efficient way for those who plan, provide or receive care from NHS and social care services. The commissioned workstream invites applications in response to calls for research on specific questions which have been identified and prioritised for their importance to the NHS, patients and social care.

Call specification 

NIHR HTA Application development award – Towards evaluation of digital and technology-enabled healthcare

The HTA Programme invites proposals for work which will accelerate the development of applications to the programme in the area of digital interventions and technology-enabled care. Applications should build on development work and aim to address challenges which must be resolved before a full research-based evaluation can be carried out.

Applicants are expected to define and justify the specific challenges which will be addressed, as well as how the proposed work will ultimately support a later application to the programme, to undertake a robust evaluation of the technology. For this call, projects are expected to cost no more than £100,000 over a maximum of 18 months across all work packages.

All digital technologies with the potential to benefit patient health outcomes are eligible under this call, including standalone technologies and those combined with other products, such as medical devices, self-management tools, imaging technologies or diagnostic tests. This funding opportunity is intended to bridge the end of development work and readiness for research-based evaluation in health and care settings. The technology should therefore be fully developed, with proof of concept and validation where relevant and at or approaching readiness for definitive testing (e.g., CA/CE ready) in the proposed setting.

The programme funds work that informs health and social care practice and policy and is particularly interested in applications which support innovations from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and applications which build on previous NIHR funding, such as completed Invention for Innovation (i4i) or Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) projects.

Examples of the types of work which may be supported under this call include, but are not limited to:

  • Targeted work, including secondary analysis, to enhance supporting evidence of efficacy.
  • Development of networks or collaborations to support the delivery of future research.
  • Evidencing credibility with UK health and social care professionals, stability of the technology for use in the NHS and relevance to current care pathways.
  • Establishing the feasibility of a study in the proposed setting, including Patient and Public Involvement (PPI). Equality, accessibility and relevance across the UK population should also be considered.
  • Defining and validating elements of the full study design, such as the comparator or most important health and non-health outcome measures.

Applicants may find it useful to refer to the evidence standards ultimately required for adoption. For digital technologies, these include the NICE evidence standard frameworks for digital technologies and NHSX digital technology assessment criteria.

It is not intended that projects funded from this call will produce definitive evidence of effectiveness; outcomes should relate to accelerating the innovation towards evaluation in a subsequent research-based study. Applications to undertake full evaluative studies should instead be submitted to the HTA Researcher-Led opportunity.

To enable quicker funding decisions, this is a straight to Stage 2 (single-stage) funding opportunity.

Making an application

If you wish to submit a Stage 2 application for this call, the online application form can be found on the Funding opportunities page.  To select this call, use the filters on the right of the screen or search using the call name and/or number.

Your application must be submitted online no later than 1pm on the 27 July 2022. Applications will be considered by the HTA Funding Committee at its meeting in September 2022.

Guidance notes and supporting information for HTA Programme applications are available.

Important: Applications received electronically after 1300 hours on the due date will not be considered.

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