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Invention for Innovation Connect - Top tips for writing your i4i expression of interest




The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme is launching 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.

Applicants are required to submit an Expression of Interest for Stage 1 of the application process. For more information on how to apply, please see the guidance for applicants.

This document includes top tips for applicants to use when writing the Expression of Interest.

The purpose of a pitch is to stimulate interest. Your objective in completing the NIHR i4i Connect Expression of Interest is to generate enough interest in your project to get invited to the second stage of the application process. Think of it as your business pitch on paper!

The following top tips are far from exhaustive but should help you think about the critical aspects of your project and develop a compelling case. We don’t expect you to have all of the answers, but please ensure you address the headings highlighted in bold; your narrative should include only those points relevant to your project proposal. 

For readability, medtech is used to describe medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, active implantable devices, including digital healthcare tech.

Describe the unmet patient and clinical need you are addressing

  1. How do you know there is an unmet need for your medtech? Remember that i4i Connect will fund from demonstration of proof-of-concept right through to early stage clinical evidence gathering!
  2. What is the evidence base for the unmet need (e.g. literature/NICE guidelines, market research)?
  3. What is the scale of that need in the UK, and globally?
  4. How are patients currently treated/ diagnosed/ helped, and what are the limitations of this approach? How will your innovation change this?
  5. How would the implementation of your tech into the healthcare system address this unmet need?  We do not expect a health economic model but use of published figures can be useful to argue your case. 

Describe your proposed solution and the level of innovation that underpins

  1. Briefly explain how your product works, ensure that your technical description is clear and can be understood by a generalised scientific audience.
  2. How significant is the level of innovation of your tech? For example: in what ways is it breakthrough or transformative? 
  3. What is its competitive advantage?
  4. What is its potential to change technology or clinical practice?
  5. Briefly explain how you propose to develop your medtech into a market ready product. 

Describe your value proposition - the benefits to patients and healthcare

  1. What evidence do you have that your medtech is feasible?
  2. What is the demonstrable benefit of your medtech? Does it reduce mortality or morbidity, improve quality of life, reduce misdiagnosis, improve patient outcomes and experiences, or connect patients with the healthcare system?
  3. What patient groups will benefit from your innovation?
  4. How will you involve patients and/or the public with your medtech? Patient and public representatives can provide essential lived experience, insight and advice.

Describe how you plan to use the funds to develop your medtech

  1. Why is Connect funding essential for the development of your medtech?
  2. Describe your project plan with clearly defined work packages, timelines and deliverables. It might be useful to provide a summary of each work package and its approximate cost.
  3. How will you ensure that the project will be managed effectively? 
  4. If applicable to your technology, have you considered regulatory and ethical aspects? 
  5. What are the risks associated with your project? How will you mitigate against them?

Describe the strengths of your team

  1. Who are the key players in your project team? Who will lead which work package, and why did you choose them? If you lack expertise in a particular area, how will you fill the gap?
  2. Briefly describe your experience in successfully applying for funding and delivering projects. Please note that this is not a prerequisite!
  3. Highlight recent formal/informal collaborations that are relevant to your application.

Describe your IP and Commercialisation strategy

  1. How are you going to get your medtech adopted in the NHS?
  2. What are the UK and global markets for your product? Who are the key players? What penetration do you realistically expect to achieve?
  3. Do you have Freedom to Operate, and how do you know? Are there any third party rights to your technology? 
  4. Who will own the foreground IP and what relevant background IP is associated with your technology (e.g. copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets)?
  5. What are your plans after the Connect project? Do you intend to apply for another NIHR award or funding from another organisation? What are your long term commercialisation plans?

Describe how your project provides value for money - financial projections

  1. Explain why your projected spend offers value for money
  2. Show the projected cash flow forecast for the year of the Connect award and its impact on the financial health of the company.