The aim of the Invention for Innovation (i4i) 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. See the dates for our funding competitions.
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.
The Product Development Awards funding stream will support:
This funding stream will not support:
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.
The i4i Challenge Awards 2019 will support:
This funding stream will not support:
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.
Watch the video below to hear from Martin Hunt (i4i programme director) introducing Connect. You can find out more about Connect funding in our case study and read top tips for putting together an expression of interest (online document or interactive slideshow). And you can read FAQs for putting together a business plan.
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.
i4i Connect will support:
This funding stream will not support:
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.
Martin Hunt is Programme Director of NIHR Invention for Innovation.
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
Our operating hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm
Director of Innovation Programmes & Head of Intellectual Property
Mr Ben Patient
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
Dr Emma Blamont
Dr Katherine Horner
Mr Thomas Hutchinson
Mr Bryan Dar
Miss Aisha Wamala
Miss Lily Tomlinson
Mrs Karen Hawes
NIHR Central Commissioning Facility
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL
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This document answers some frequently asked questions about preparing a business plan to apply for funding from the the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect funding stream.
i4i Connect 3 Sub-Committee Minutes September 2019
This guidance outlines the application process for applying to call 3 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect funding stream, including how to prepare and submit a business plan and video presentation.
Summary of the questions and answers from the live FAQ webinar for potential applicants to the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme Connect awards.
Guidance on completing an application for stage 2 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme Challenge Awards funding stream.