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Invention for Innovation

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme supports the preclinical and clinical development of medical technologies in areas of existing or emerging patient need.

Guidance on impact of COVID-19 on NIHR funded and supported research

The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme is a translational research funding scheme aimed at de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use

We fund projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

i4i has three funding streams: Product Development Awards (PDA), Challenge Awards and Connect. PDA and Challenge run two funding competitions a year, launching in autumn and spring, whereas Connect runs one funding competition each summer. See the full dates for i4i funding competitions. All i4i funding streams have a two stage application process.

Autumn/Winter competition launchSpring/Summer competition launch
Product Development Awards  October  April
Connect  n/a August 
Challenge Awards November  April

If you have a specific query regarding the eligibility of your planned study, please submit a pre-submission engagement form. Please note, the turnaround time for a response is 72 hours.

Product Development Awards

i4i Product Development Awards (PDA) support translational research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use. The research proposals may address any disease or health area, provided there is a clear unmet clinical need. There is no upper funding limit for Product Development Awards, but costs must be fully justified.

Key eligibility criteria

  • Projects can be led by small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME), NHS providers or higher education institutions (HEIs).
  • Projects must be collaborative between any two of the eligible types of organisation.
  • Projects can last a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of 36 months.
  • The lead organisation must be registered in England.

 What next?

  • Read more about the PDA scope and requirements in our supporting information.
  • Review the guidance for Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications and the frequently asked questions.
  • Preview the application form for Stage 1 and Stage 2. (Please note that these are standard NIHR application forms. Small variations exist for the i4i programme in the live online application form; therefore, it is strongly advised that you read the relevant Guidance for Applicants to check for programme-specific requirements.)
  • Create an account on the Research Management System (RMS).
  • Complete and submit your application on the RMS. Please note that the RMS is the only mode of submission.

PDA dates

The current funding competition is PDA competition 21. In this funding competition, we are partnering with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to highlight our support for the development and adoption of asthma health technologies.

All disease areas will continue to be eligible for PDA 21 in the normal way. However, successful asthma-related projects will be co-funded through the Asthma Health Technology Fund partnershipRead the brief for this fund. 

Competition 21 Stage 1Stage 2
Webinars 8 and 14 October 2020 1 March 2021 (by invitation only)
Competition launch 20 October 2020 18 February 2021
Submission deadline 9 December 2020 (1pm) 14 April 2021 (1pm)
Submission outcome 18 February 2021 July 2021

For an overview of the PDA 21 competition, please watch the recording of our applicant webinar. If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides presented at the webinar, please email i4i@nihr.ac.uk.

Additionally, the i4i funding programme is participating in the 2020 NIHR Themed Call on injuries, accidents and urgent and emergency care. For more information please see the commissioning brief on the themed calls webpage.

The next funding competition will be PDA competition 22.

Competition 22Stage 1Stage 2
Webinars TBC TBC
Competition launch 14 April 2021 10 August 2021
Submission deadline 9 June 2021 (1pm) 28 September 2021 (1pm)
Submission outcome TBC TBC

Challenge Awards

i4i Challenge Awards support market-ready innovations by addressing the translational gap between the clinical evaluation of technologies and their adoption, by funding the assessment of MedTech innovations in real-world healthcare settings. The expected output is a disruptive medical device or in vitro diagnostic test that can offer improved outcomes for NHS patients. There is no upper funding limit for the Challenge Awards, but costs must be fully justified. 

Key eligibility criteria

  • Projects can be led by SMEs, NHS providers or higher education institutions (HEIs). 
  • A minimum of two organisations must be involved and at least one of the collaborators must be from an NHS provider (e.g. an NHS Trust).
  • Technologies must have demonstrated safety and efficacy and must have obtained or be in the process of obtaining CE marking. 
  • Project timelines can vary based on the required evidence for potential healthcare uptake and patient benefit. They can last up to 3 years, but a duration of up to 5 years will be considered if a longer period is needed to demonstrate long-term outcomes and a strong case is made.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.

What next?

  • Read the full scope for the Challenge funding stream.
  • Review the Stage 1 and Stage 2 application guidance and the supporting information for applicants.
  • Preview the application form for Stage 1 and Stage 2(Please note that these are standard NIHR application forms. Small variations exist for the i4i programme in the live online application form; therefore, it is strongly advised that you read the relevant Guidance for Applicants to check for programme-specific requirements)
  • Create an account on the Research Management System (RMS).
  • Complete and submit your application on the RMS. Please note that the RMS is the only mode of submission.

Challenge dates

The current competition is Challenge competition 11. In this competition, we are partnering with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC),  Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to highlight our support for the development and adoption of asthma health technologies. 

All disease areas will continue to be eligible for Challenge 11 in the normal way. However, successful asthma-related projects, will be co-funded through the Asthma Health Technology Fund partnershipRead the full brief for this fund

Competition 11Stage 1Stage 2
Competition launch 4 November 2020 25 March 2021
Submission deadline 12 January 2021 5 May 2021
Submission outcome 25 March 2021 July 2021

In November 2020, we ran a webinar on  Challenge 11 with guest speakers from St George's NHS FT and Nottingham NHS Trust who discussed engagement with NHS providers and their R&D requirements.  If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides presented at the webinar, please email i4i@nihr.ac.uk.

Additionally, the i4i funding programme is participating in the 2020 NIHR Themed Call on injuries, accidents and urgent and emergency care. For more information please see the specification document on the themed calls webpage.

The next funding competition will be Challenge competition 12.

Competition 12Stage 1Stage 2
Competition launch 14 April 2021 4 August 2021
Submission deadline 10 June 2021 22 September 2021
Submission outcome TBC TBC

 

i4i Challenge success rates

Connect

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and Tier 3a digital health technologies with direct patient benefits, looking to ultimately integrate into the NHS. The funding stream aims to help SMEs reach the next stage in the development pathway to apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

Key eligibility criteria

  • Projects must be led by an SME.
  • Projects must be £50,000 to £150,000 in value.
  • Projects can be 6 to 12 months in duration.
  • Project duration and cost must be commensurate.
  • Projects need to demonstrate evidence of proof-of-concept.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.

What next?

Connect dates

 The next Connect competition will be competition 5.

Competition 5Stage 1Stage 2
Competition launch 17 August 2021 6 October 2021
Submission deadline 14 September 2021 2 November 2021
Submission outcome October 2021 November 2021

 

i4i Connect success rates

i4i funding committees are multidisciplinary, comprising academic, clinical and commercial experts, as well as patient and public members.

We have four committees: two for our Product Development Awards (committee A and committee B), one for our Challenge Awards, and one for Connect.

Committee members review all Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from expert peer reviewers.

The committees recommend projects for funding to the Department of Health and Social Care, which approves which projects should be funded.

Members of NIHR committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

Our programme director

Martin Hunt is Programme Director of NIHR Invention for Innovation.

Our selection committees

The Product Development Awards Selection Committee A is chaired by Mr Mark Kirby. View the full membership of Selection Committee A.

The Product Development Awards Selection Committee B is chaired by Mr Charles Spicer. View the full membership of Selection Committee B.

The Selection Committee for the Challenge Awards is chaired by Professor Nick LemoineView the full membership of the Challenge Awards 2019 Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee for i4i Connect is chaired by Professor Paul Sibbons. View the full membership of the Connect Selection Committee.

 Meeting minutes

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.

Tel: 020 8843 8027
Email: i4i@nihr.ac.uk

Our operating hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm

Our programme team

Director of Innovation Programmes and Head of Intellectual Property
Mr Ben Patient

Assistant Director
Dr Ruth Nebauer

Head of Special Projects
Dr Ian Newington

Senior Programme Managers
Dr Sandra Nwokeoha (i4i lead)
Dr Andrew Barber
Dr Fanny Burrows
Dr Sultana Choudhry
Dr Caterina Lombardo
Mrs Paula Milton
Dr Raffaella Roncone
Dr Michelle Edye
Mr Edwin Tucker
Ms Rhanda Tajdeen
Dr Xi Ye

Programme Managers
Dr Diana Alexieva
Dr Aayesha Hassan
Ms Diemante Normantaite

 

Operations team

Senior Research Officers
Mr Bryan Dar

Research Officers
Ms Cordelia Davey
Mr Krishna Kothandapani
Ms Tanya Dixey

Administrator
Ms Harkerat Jandu

NIHR Central Commissioning Facility
Grange House
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL

Latest news about Invention for Innovation

Latest funding opportunities for Invention for Innovation

All i4i funding opportunities

Latest documents for Invention for Innovation

Invention for Innovation - PDA Call 21 Stage 1 Minutes

Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Awards Call 21 Stage 1 Committee Meeting held on Thursday 4 February 2021

Invention for Innovation - Challenge Awards Call 10 Stage 2 Minutes

Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Challenge Awards Call 10 Stage 2 Committee Meeting held on 26 November2020.

Invention for Innovation - Connect Call 4 Stage 2 Minutes

Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect Call 4 Stage 2 Committee Meeting held on 18 November 2020.

Invention for Innovation – PDA Call 20 Stage 2 Minutes Committee A

Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Awards Call 20 Stage 2 Committee Meeting held on 24 November 2020.

Invention for Innovation – PDA Call 20 Stage 2 Minutes Committee B

Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Awards Call 20 Stage 2 Committee Meeting held on 25 November 2020.

All i4i documents

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