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Invention for Innovation - Connect Business Plan Guidance for Applicants


This guidance outlines the application process for applying to call 5 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect funding stream, including how to prepare and submit a business plan and video presentation.
You must complete an online application via the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) Research Management System (RMS). Further information is available in the Connect FAQs. The deadline for submission is on 02 November 2021 at 1 pm.

Section 1: Application Process

1.1 Application deliverables

As part of the i4i Connect Stage 2 Application, applicants are required to submit a maximum of 15 page business plan (the minimum font size should not be less than 10px), an i4i Connect finance form and a 3 minute video pitch.

1.1.1. Business Plan

The content of the business plan must address the assessment criteria provided in the Expression of Interest (EOI) guidance document. The video presentation should complement the business plan.
The business plan can be in your own format but it should provide the following information (although you do not have to use these headings):
Technology Overview

Include a description of the proposed technology, its intended use, the unmet patient need, the value proposition, details of the associated Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and management arrangements.

Business Opportunity and Objectives

A description of your business, outlining the different products and/or services you offer (or value proposition) and business aims.

Market and Competition

Details of the intended market and competitor analysis for your technology.

Sales and Marketing Plan

Details of your sales strategy/channels, pricing strategy, route to market, commercialisation strategy, business model, risk analysis, market validation and marketing plans.

Operating Plan

Details of any suppliers or business relationships that are critical to delivering your products/services or otherwise running your business (e.g. strategic partnerships, manufacturing etc.) and any project risks.

Management Team

Details of the team, including founders, key executives, shareholders etc. A maximum of 7 co-applicants is permitted.

1.1.2 Finance Analysis

Full details of the spending plan for the i4i Connect project (to be included within the i4i Connect finance template) and details of the company's cash flow forecast and funding strategy to be included in the business plan.

1.1.3 Video Pitch

The 3 minute video should complement the business plan. We do not expect professionally produced videos (you can use your smartphone), however, please ensure the visual and audio is of good quality. Please ensure that your video submission is not longer than 3 minutes, as it will otherwise be truncated at exactly 3 minutes and only the first 3 minutes will be played at the Funding Decision (Committee) meeting.

1.2 Creating and Submitting an Application

Business plans are to be uploaded to the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility’s Research Management System (RMS).

The lead applicant must create the application. Co-applicants can be added to the application at any time and will receive an automatic email from the RMS which will prompt them to accept their inclusion. All co-applicants must accept their invitation to participate in the application by the submission deadline for the application to be eligible for submission.

The 3 minute video must be uploaded to the file sharing platform of your choice and the downloadable link provided within the section ‘Business/Project Plan and Video Pitch Upload’ provided in your online application form.    

Both the business plan and 3 minute video pitch are to be submitted no later than 02 November 2021, 1 pm.

Section 2: Patient and Public Involvement (PPI)

The NIHR expects active involvement of patients and the public in the projects it supports. It is anticipated that i4i Connect projects make reference to PPI. Plans for PPI must be clearly and fully described throughout your business plan. Applicants should identify the relevant patient/user group(s) for their application and engage those groups at an appropriate stage. To make the contents of your application and the implications of your project clear to members of the public reviewers and the Funding Decision Committee, a plain English summary is required.

There are a number of organisations that may be able to provide useful resources, advice and support on patient and public involvement in research:

The Research Design Service (RDS) provides advice and support to researchers developing research proposals for submission to theNIHR and other national funding organisations for health and social care research.

The NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination (CED) provides advice and a range of resources on patient and public involvement in research.

Learning For Involvement provides a wealth of training programmes and resources for public involvement in research. 

For best practice in PPI please see UK Standards for Public Involvement.

Section 3: Detailed Budget

Prior to completing the project spending plan, it is important that applicants have familiarised themselves with the Attributing costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRD) guidance. The AcoRD guidance clarifies the distinction between the three categories of costs associated with non-commercial research studies:

  • Research Costs
  • NHS Support Costs
  • NHS Treatment Costs

It is important to note that the NIHR will only fund activities attributed to Research Costs. Therefore, NHS Support and Treatment costs should not be claimed in your application for funding.

The NIHR covers 100% of the costs for SME and NHS bodies including other providers of NHS services in England. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should determine the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of their research using the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology - up to 80% of FEC will be paid. There are no set rules on the split between collaborators, however, the contracted organisation will receive funding payments and will be required to distribute the funds to co-applicants/contractors, where applicable.

Section 4: Key Dates

 The key dates for i4i Connect are shown below:

 Event Date
 Call Launch  17 August 2021
 Stage 1 (Expression of Interest) Deadline  14 September 2021
 Stage 2 (Business Plan) Launch  06 October 2021
 Deadline for Submission of Business Plan and Video Pitch  02 November 2021

Section 5: Contact Details and Further Information

We wish to ensure that potential applicants fully understand what is needed in their applications before they submit them. We encourage discussion of proposals prior to the deadline, although we cannot advise on the specific content of an application. Enquiries may be made by email to Alternatively, the i4i Secretariat can be contacted on +44 (0)20 8843 8080. A team member will respond to your query within 72 hours.