This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Beta Site: This is a new site which is still under development. We welcome your feedback, which will help improve it.

Feedback form

Invention for Innovation

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

The aim of the programme is to de-risk early stage projects that have a strong potential for commercialisation and acceptance for use in the NHS, making them attractive to follow-on funders and investors.

i4i funds collaborative research projects that have demonstrated proof-of-principle and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

The expected i4i output is an advanced or clinically validated prototype medical device, technology or intervention. If you have an idea for a project and would like to discuss it, please fill in our pre-submission engagement form

i4i has three funding streams: Product Development Awards (PDA), Connect and Challenge Awards. All i4i funding streams have a two stage application process.

Connect

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway.

The funding stream aims to help SMEs get to a point where they can apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. It also aims to de-risk projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway to support follow-on investment.

i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

Lead applicants to i4i Connect must be from an SME. The funding stream offers between £50,000-£150,000 over a 6-12 month period. Please see our applicant guidance to find out more. 

i4i Connect currently runs once a year - Connect 3 is open for applications until 11th September 2019

Watch the videos below to hear from Martin Hunt (i4i programme director) introducing Connect 3; and Dr Katherine Horner (i4i programme manager) explaining the application process. You can find out more about Connect funding in our case study and top tips for putting together an expression of interest (online document or interactive slideshow).

 

 As for all NIHR awards, organisations who are awarded funding from i4i Connect must agree to be bound by the terms of the NIHR standard research contract. Successful applicants are expected to sign the contract within 4 weeks of the award notice or the award may be withdrawn.

What we fund

i4i Connect will support:

  • Research and development of medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices as defined by the relevant EU directives, across all areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs.
  • Product or technology development required to enable a technology for clinical use, which may include manufacturing, intellectual property protection, freedom to operate and market analysis or business case development.
  • Research and development of techniques or technologies from a different industry sector that could have a potential impact if applied in a healthcare setting.
  • Feasibility studies, if a technology from a sector other than health is being developed.
  • Studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of a device, including first-in-man and pivotal studies.
  • Health economic analyses and clinical utility studies looking at a device’s real-life implementation and use.
  • Research to support CE mark applications and other regulatory requirements, including any associated safety trials.
  • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology.
  • Training associated with the implementation of new technology.

This funding stream will not support:

  • Animal studies or work on animal tissues. If animal studies are required as part of the project, we expect applicants to seek parallel funding to cover such studies.
  • Basic research.

Challenge Awards

i4i Challenge Awards are commissioned on an ad hoc basis in areas of existing or emerging healthcare need. The expected output is a disruptive technology with the potential to offer improved outcomes for NHS patients.

The 2019 NIHR i4i Challenge Awards funding round is inviting applications for the assessment of medtech innovations in real-world healthcare settings. The aim is to shorten the evidence gap between the safety/preliminary efficacy studies typical of a newly CE marked technology and what is required for decisions by commissioners and regulators.

Applications should focus on CE marked products. Digital technologies that are not regulated as medical devices but are going to be integrated into the NHS can also be included, as long as reasonable proof of safety and efficacy is provided.

Products should address one of the priorities defined by NHS England, focusing on a clinical need specific to the context where the technology will be tested.

Research proposals are invited from small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), NHS trusts, NHS service providers and higher education institutions. A minimum of two organisations must be involved, and the proposal must include at least one collaborator from an NHS trust or NHS service provider.

There is no upper funding limit for Challenge Awards, but costs must be fully justified. There is no limit on project duration. Timelines will need to be commensurate with the requirements of the project and the delivery of outputs, in terms of potential healthcare uptake and patient benefit.

For more information, please refer to the scopeapplicant guidance, supporting information and competition dates.

What we fund

The i4i Challenge Awards 2019 will support:

  • Activities associated with the design and delivery evaluations of medtech innovations in real-world healthcare settings.
  • Health economic analyses.
  • Work around business development, market analysis and development of case for adoption.
  • Small changes to the technology that might be needed for its optimisation during the lifetime of the project.
  • Training associated with the implementation of new technology.
  • Implementation research costs, including design of implementation strategy and management of studies associated with this, clinical pathway analysis, sustainability evaluation and data analysis.

This funding stream will not support:

  • Scale up manufacture of devices that will be needed to carry out the project.
  • Implementation costs other than those associated with research.
  • Potential major work around technology redesign arising from the clinical evaluation undertaken with this award.
  • Trials aimed solely at determining effectiveness of a product.
  • Digital technologies designed as ‘off the shelf’ products .
  • Technologies falling in the Evidence Tier 1 and 2 categories described in the ‘Evidence standards framework for digital health technologies’ from NICE.
  • Evaluation or clinical trials of products that have already a history of NHS use.
  • Animal studies or work on animal tissues.
  • Basic research.

Product Development Awards

i4i Product Development Awards support innovations at any stage of the translational research and development pathway, including the clinical development of laboratory-validated technologies or interventions.

This funding stream is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

Research proposals must include applicants from two organisation types: an NHS Trust, higher education institution or small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME).

There is no upper funding limit for Product Development Awards, but costs must be fully justified. Projects can be up to three years in duration.

Product Development Awards have two funding opportunities a year.  See the dates for our funding competitions.

Please see our applicant guidance for stage 1 and stage 2, and our supporting information, to find out more.

What we fund

The Product Development Awards funding stream will support:

  • Research and development of medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices as defined by the relevant EU directives, across all areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs.
  • Product or technology development required to enable a technology for clinical use, which may include manufacturing, intellectual property protection, freedom to operate and market analysis or business case development.
  • Research and development of techniques or technologies from a different industry sector that could have a potential impact if applied in a healthcare setting.
  • Feasibility studies, if a technology from a sector other than health is being developed.
  • Studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of a device, including first-in-man and pivotal studies.
  • Health economic analyses and clinical utility studies looking at a device’s real-life implementation and use.
  • Research to support CE mark applications and other regulatory requirements, including any associated safety trials.
  • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology.
  • Training associated with the implementation of new technology.

This funding stream will not support:

  • Animal studies or work on animal tissues. If animal studies are required as part of the project, we expect applicants to seek parallel funding to cover such studies.
  • Basic research.

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 i4i committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with i4i programme business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within the i4i programme. 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.

See the success rates for i4i proposals.

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 2019 - real world implementation is chaired by Professor Nick Lemoine. View 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.

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

Tel: 020 8843 8015
Email: i4i@nihr.ac.uk

Our operating hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm

Our programme team

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

Assistant Director
Dr Ruth Nebauer

Head of Special Projects
Dr Ian Newington

Senior Programme Managers
Dr Andrew Barber
Mr Freddy Guenemi
Dr Chris Hill
Dr Caterina Lombardo
Mrs Paula Milton
Dr Raffaella Roncone

Programme Managers
Dr Emma Blamont
Dr Katherine Horner
Mr Thomas Hutchinson

Research Officers
Mr Bryan Dar
Miss Aisha Wamala
Miss Lily Tomlinson

Senior Administrator
Mrs Karen Hawes

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

Advice for i4i Connect

i4i Connect - Medisieve magnetic blood filtration

Medisieve Ltd blood filter
Read more

i4i Connect webinar - 10am Friday 16th August

scans being used during surgery
Read more

Programme director Martin Hunt introduces Connect

Connect 2019 video
Read more

Latest funding opportunities for Invention for Innovation

Invention for Innovation Connect - Call 3

Applications are invited from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development of their medical device.

Latest news about Invention for Innovation

News: Probe that detects prostate cancer could make surgery more accurate

keyhole surgery
Read more

News: NIHR supports second wave of small business medtech innovations

Patient undergoing EEG
Read more

News: NIHR showcases medtech successes to investors

i4i showcase event
Read more

Latest documents for Invention for Innovation

Invention for Innovation Challenge Awards - Guidance for Stage 2 Applications

Guidance on completing an application for stage 2 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme Challenge Awards funding stream.

Invention for Innovation Product Development Awards - Guidance for Stage 2 Applications

Guidance on completing an application for stage 2 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme Product Development Awards funding stream.

Invention for Innovation - Challenge Awards Call 9 Stage 1 Minutes

Minutes of the Minutes of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme Competition 9 Stage 1 Sub-Committee Meeting held on Wednesday 24 July 2019.

Invention for Innovation Connect expression of interest - Guidance for applicants

Guidance on writing an expression of interest for i4i Connect

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

Top tips for writing your i4i Connect expression of interest