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Asthma Health Technology Fund - Brief



In autumn 2020, Asthma UK (AUK), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) and the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme co-launched a £3 million+ Health Technology Grand Challenge Fund, with the aim of transforming asthma outcomes – fewer asthma attacks, emergency healthcare use and asthma deaths - through driving innovation in the development of asthma health technologies. The fund will support the development and adoption of asthma digital health - supporting innovation from concept stage through to scaling in the NHS.

All partner organisations have a strong track record for funding innovation, established research networks covering complimentary disciplines and have the transformation of healthcare by health technologies as a strategic priority.


Asthma is a common condition – 1 in 11 people in the UK – that affects people of all ages, each with different triggers, and varying severity, meaning that it’s a difficult condition to manage – both from a system and individual perspective.

Three people die from asthma every day. Two thirds of these deaths could be prevented if current treatment guidelines were followed and people were better supported to use existing treatments.

Recent technological advancements make technology enabled asthma care a promising prospect for improving asthma management and stopping asthma attacks. However, the development of health technologies for people with asthma is still in its infancy. Many health technologies are not meeting user needs and there is poor understanding among innovators about the types of technologies that people with asthma want and, crucially, will use. 

Aim of this fund

The purpose of this call is to support the research and development of novel solutions to prevent asthma attacks and improve the lives of people with asthma.

The areas of focus should fall into any of the following areas:

  • Diagnosis
  • Self-management
  • Treatment optimisation
  • Monitoring
  • Risk stratification

Applicants will be asked to consider:

  • How is their solution novel?
  • How they will ensure the proposed solution solves the unmet need and how will people with asthma and other key stakeholders be involved in the development of the innovation?
  • How will the project outcomes lead to improved asthma care and offer significant added value over current or alternative asthma solutions?
  • How does the project and associated impact activities align with AUK, EPSRC and NIHR i4i health technology strategies?
  • How they will ensure that the technology is acceptable to people with asthma, their families, healthcare professionals and providers?
  • How will their proposed solution impact or integrate into patients’ daily lives and NHS care pathways? How will the care pathway need to change in order to deliver system-wide benefits? What type of behavioural change intervention is needed (if any)?
  • What clinical and health economic evidence will NHS require before the technology can be adopted? How will they develop that evidence base?

We hope that this novel combination of each funder’s expertise and networks will result in the formation of cross-disciplinary groups and lead to significant advances for asthma health technologies.