The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme has launched its third round of i4i Connect awards - aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach their next stage in the development pathway. The application process for applying to call 3 involves submit a business plan and video presentation, as set out in the guidance for applicants.
This document answers some frequently asked questions about preparing a business plan for i4i Connect.
Is there any weighting between the six assessment criteria listed?
The application is assessed in its entirety against the six assessment criteria; there is no specific weighting allocated to each criterion.
Can subcontractors from non-UK entities by included in the application?
There needs to be sufficient justification if a non-UK entity is included as a subcontractor in an NIHR i4i application. The acceptability of this would be determined by the committee on a case by case basis.
When should an organisation be listed as both a co-applicant and collaborator?
A co-applicant would be expected to have a significant amount of involvement in delivering the project. A collaborating organisation might have a number of individuals
involved for smaller parts. Please note that a co-applicant’s organisation will be a collaborator and collaboration agreements will need to be agreed with all collaborators.
How important is the Patient Engagement?
Patient and public involvement is expected in all NIHR funded projects and is part of the NIHR i4i Connect assessment criteria. Please note that user engagement is different from patient and public involvement. Please engage with your local Research Design Service who can advise on this.
Who is included on the assessment committee?
Full details of the members of the NIHR i4i Connect assessment committee are available on the NIHR website.
The finance template has a section for costs of publication / dissemination - is there an expectation that a research paper will be produced as part of the project?
There is an expectation that results are published wherever possible. However, we appreciate that this might not always be possible due to IP restrictions. The NIHR expects any publication you produce to be open access, so if there is an intention to publish any open access paper, the costs should be included. Dissemination activities could consist of numerous other things such as stakeholder engagement, workshops, publicity, conferences etc.
Is there anything else you could suggest to help success?
We would advise you to ensure that all the assessment criteria are met, that there is clarity in your business plan and its structure, and your video complements this in order to send a clear message about the project and its likely outcome. Please ensure that you indicate the 'broader commercial picture' of your company, the likely route to market and the strategy for NHS uptake.
How should the video pitch complement the business plan?
Applicants should treat this exercise like an “Investor Pitch”, where they would be expected to deliver both a live pitch and a written business plan. It is the SME’s choice how
the two complement each other, but we would advise that the technology is clearly visualised or described in the video.
Is the video pitch expected to be of professional filming quality?
The video pitch is not expected to be of professional filming quality. Filming on a mobile camera is acceptable and you will not be assessed on the video quality, only on the content!
Does the requested Business Plan need to be the Company’s or the Project’s Business Plan?
The Business Plan should be focussed on the project but should incorporate the overall company’s strategy and forward plans relevant to the technology in the project and its
potential for commercialisation and/or adoption.
Should the Business Plan include a project plan, deliverables and project management arrangements and how should these be displayed?
These items should be included in the Business Plan clearly and concisely. Applicants can choose how to summarise these as they wish for maximum impact. The Business Plan
is intended to be flexible to allow freedom of expression appropriate to your own company’s situation.
Can dissemination be planned beyond completion of the i4i project?
Forward plans for dissemination beyond the project are welcomed but cannot be costed for within the application as funds must be spent during the project lifetime.
Where should subcontractors be included in the finance template?
Subcontractors should be listed in “other direct costs” on the finance template.