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Invention for Innovation - Connect Call 4 Webinar Q&A



When we gather evidence do we need to cite it? Does citation count towards the word count and how is this differentiated if not? Can we include hyperlinks in the submission?

At stage 1 it is not possible to submit attachments alongside the expression of interest, so all citations will need to be embedded in the document and will be counted towards the word count. However, we still recommend adding key references to make your statements stronger. It would be possible to add hyperlinks to the Expression of Interest application.

How crucial is it to get a patient’s voice in terms of the problem we’re addressing in our application?

While it is not a requirement to have engaged patients and members of the public prior to applying for Connect, it is important that you show consideration by incorporating some PPIE activity within your proposal. We believe they can add value to research plans and foster patient-centred innovations.

If a project includes AI, will you fund the development of the algorithm (e.g. sampling a group for a condition detection device to create the algorithm to then use for a wider population)?

This is an eligible activity. You will need to provide a proof of concept that will support the feasibility of this approach. An alternative funding that can support this type of work is the AI in health and care award. The competition is not open now, but there will be more calls in the future.

Is it expected to upload a Gantt chart/visible project plan in the ‘Project plan and spending plan’ section? Are there any other appendices expected to be uploaded?

No attachments are allowed at the Expression of interest stage, so you are not expected to attach a Gantt chart. You will need to provide a description of the project plan in the body of the Expression of interest form.

We have a digital mental health therapy delivered through a mobile app, with lots of anecdotal and testimonial evidence as proof of concept, but no published trials. Can we use a Connect award to move from this state of anecdotal evidence to fund a safety and efficacy study?

If your technology can be either classified as a medical device, or falls within Tier 3a of the NICE Evidence standards framework for digital health technologies, this type of product could be eligible for funding. As long as the existing evidence supports the feasibility of the technology concept, that would be sufficient proof of concept. Connect can be used to strengthen the proof of concept in this way, if appropriate.

Can the SME match-fund to add to the funded project elements/work packages?

Yes. There is no rule against this. However, you will need to clarify what activities are funded by the NIHR and what by the SME, as there can’t be duplication of funding. At a later stage you will also need to explain how the activities supported by the SME will impact the NIHR project directly, as this might need to be taken into account to assess the overall risk of the project, in monitoring meetings and when contracting.

How do you determine who should be a co-applicant?

Co-applicants are your collaborators. A collaborator is someone who will contribute to the generation of IP and who will share the responsibility to deliver the project. Conversely, subcontractors should not be co-applicants. Subcontractors are hired to perform a specific task within the project and often will charge a fee for service; they are not responsible for the delivery
of the project.

Can we use overseas-based subcontractors or consultants?

Overseas subcontractors and consultants may be used but justifications for their use rather that a subcontractor in the UK must be provided.

Connect doesn't fund proof of concept but will fund feasibility - what is the difference?

Feasibility is about demonstrating that it is probable that the planned project activities will work in the situation intended - so it's de-risking - and may not be directly related to the 'device' itself.

Can a SME submit more than one application for EOI?

Yes. However, you do need to consider your capacity to deliver if all are awarded.

Is it acceptable to use the Connect award to fund the creation of the alpha prototype/end-user assessment trial?

Yes. Often POCs may be based on a pre-prototype, so building the alpha prototype and getting the end-user/human factors work done is fundable.