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Invention for Innovation

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme is a translational research funding scheme aimed at medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices and digital health technologies addressing an existing or emerging health or social care need. 

Latest funding opportunities for Invention for Innovation

All i4i funding opportunities

Upcoming i4i competitions and webinars

Latest announcements

i4i is now open to the whole UK

We're excited to announce that the NIHR i4i programme is now accepting applications from researchers and organisations based in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, in addition to applications from England. This change has been effective since Autumn 2023.  We are looking forward to receiving applications from across the UK.

NIHR 2023 Themed call on reducing compound pressures on the NHS and social care

The i4i programme is participating in the NIHR-wide themed call on reducing compound pressures, focusing on generating high-quality research evidence into the evaluation of health and care interventions and services to reduce compound pressures on the NHS and social care. More information on the call can be found in the call brief.

i4i funding

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

The i4i programme has three funding streams: Product Development Awards (PDA) (now with expanded remit to include real-world evaluation), Connect and i4i FAST. PDA are run twice a year, whereas Connect is run once a year.  i4i FAST is run once or twice a year focusing on a specific topic.

Further information on each funding stream, including how to apply, can be found below.

View our portfolio

If you have any queries about whether your proposal is eligible for i4i funding, please send an email with specific questions to

Product Development Awards (now including real-world evaluation)

i4i Product Development Awards (PDA) support collaborative research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for use in the NHS or social care system. PDA aims to de-risk innovations, supporting early product development and real-world evaluation, to make them more attractive for follow-on funding or commercial investment. Research proposals may address any area of unmet need. Projects must have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation. 

  • Entry point: Experimental proof-of-concept or laboratory-validated technology; innovations focusing on real-world evidence generation must have regulatory approval or demonstrated equivalent safety and efficacy
  • Exit pointDepending on the entry point, laboratory and/or clinically validated technology or performance of technologies evaluated in a real-world setting
  • How muchNo maximum, we are encouraging ambitious projects with the potential to make a real impact
  • How longUp to 36 months

Applying for PDA funding

Read more about the PDA scope, requirements and funded activities in our PDA supporting information and PDA FAQs.

The i4i programme operates a two-stage application process. To help prepare your application please see the applicant guidance for PDA stage 1 and PDA stage 2

Research proposals are submitted through the Research Management System (RMS).

i4i PDA success rates


We have decided to streamline our funding offers by merging the Product Development Awards and Challenge Awards into a single funding stream starting from April 2024. This means that the scope of the Product Development Awards will now cover projects ranging from preclinical and clinical product development to real-world evaluation.

For more information please refer to the Product Development Awards section.


i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for use in the NHS or social care system. 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.

  • Entry pointThe minimum entry point is experimental proof-of-concept or laboratory-validated technology, however, proposals may be submitted for progressing innovations at any stage of the research and development pathway leading to implementation
  • Exit point: Reaching the next stage in the development pathway
  • How much: £50,000 - £150,000
  • How long: 6-12 month period

Applying for Connect funding

Read more about the Connect scope, requirements and funded activities in our Connect Expression of Interest supporting information for applicants, and Connect FAQs.

The i4i programme operates a two-stage application process. To help prepare your application, please see the Connect Expression of Interest guidance for applicants (stage 1) and the Connect Business Plan guidance for applicants (stage 2)

Research proposals are submitted online through the Research Management System (RMS).

i4i Connect success rates

Our people

Our programme director

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

Our selection committees

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

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.

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

 Meeting minutes

Members of NIHR committees are required to declare any interests that 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

Joining i4i Committees

The i4i funding Committees consist of clinical, academic and commercial experts. If you would like to express your interest in becoming a member of the i4i funding Committee, please complete our expression of interest form.

Contact us

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


Grange House
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL

Our operating hours are 9am to 5pm

Do you need help getting started? Contact the Research Support Service.

Do you need assistance running your study in the NHS? Contact the Study Support Service.

Advice for i4i applicants