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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.

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.

Funding streamAutumn/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.

PDA

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.

Webinar

The NIHR i4i team hosted a webinar on Monday 12 April to answer questions from prospective applicants. If you would like to get in touch with one of the team, please email i4i@nihr.ac.uk.

PDA dates

Competition 22Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar 12 April 2021 (2-3pm) TBC
Competition launch 14 April 2021 10 August 2021
Submission deadline 9 June 2021 (1pm) 28 September 2021 (1pm)
Submission outcome 10 August 2021 December 2021

Additionally, the i4i funding programme is participating in the 2021 NIHR Highlight Notice on Dementia research to address important health and social care questions. For more information please see the 2021 NIHR Highlight Notice on Dementia specification document. 

In PDA Competition 21, we partnered 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 the Asthma Health Technology 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 competition 21, 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.

 

i4i PDA success rates

Challenge

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?

Webinars

An Expert Panel discussion Webinar on Stimulating Collaborations for MedTech Real World Testing, took place on  7 April 2021, 11am-12pm. 

The NIHR i4i Challenge Award in Real World Implementation webinar took place on Wednesday 14 April, 11am-12pm. 

If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides presented at either of these webinars, please email i4i@nihr.ac.uk.

Challenge dates

Competition 12Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar 14 April 2021 (11am-12pm) TBC
Competition launch 14 April 2021 4 August 2021
Submission deadline 10 June 2021 22 September 2021
Submission outcome 4 August 2021 December 2021

For Challenge competition 11, 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 the Asthma Health Technology 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

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 themed call specification document on the themed calls webpage.

 

i4i Challenge success rates

Connect

Connect

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and Tier C 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 small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • 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 registered in England.

What next?

Connect dates

The next Connect competition will be competition 5. It will include a separate funding stream for the Digital Health Technologies for Children and Young People’s Mental Health (CYPMH). This has different eligibility criteria and you cannot submit applications to both streams. Read the full details on how to apply for the CYPMH stream.

Competition 5 and CYPMHStage 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

Our people

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

Mike Lewis is joint Programme Director of NIHR Invention for Innovation and SBRI Healthcare programmes.

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

Contact us

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

Tel: 020 8843 8080
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 Aayesha Hassan
Ms Deimante Normantaite

Operations team

Senior Research Officers
Mr Bryan Dar

Research Officers
Ms Cordelia Davey
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 - Digital Health Technologies for Children and Young People’s Mental Health Expression of Interest - Guidance for Applicants

This document provides guidance for applicants completing an Expression of Interest form for the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Digital Health Technologies for Children and Young People’s Mental Health call.

NIHR research contract - NHS Trust example

This document provides an example of a standard NIHR research contract between the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and an NHS Trust.

NIHR standard contract - Commercial organisations example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a commercial organisation, such as a life sciences company.

NIHR research contract - Higher education institution example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a higher education institution (HEI).

AI and Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Health and Care - FAQ

This document provides answers to questions frequently asked at the Q&A drop in session for prospective applicants on 08 April 2021.

All i4i documents

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