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Funding opportunities for the life sciences industry

Learn whichNIHR funding programmes accept applications from life sciences companies, including small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and how to apply.

NIHR funding programmes

The NIHR funds both commercial and non-commercial research to accelerate innovation in therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and health technologies for use in the UK’s NHS or care environment. Our funding programmes are structured to address needs in clinical and non-clinical settings.

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), many NIHR funding programmes may require collaboration with an NHS or academic (Higher Education Institute) partner. Our Industry team can assist you in finding suitable partners for collaborative applications or inform you about alternative funding programmes. You can also explore our other funding programmes in the Funding for researchers section.

The following information is for SMEs seeking funding from the NIHR i4i funding programme either as a sole applicant or co-applicant with an academic or NHS partner.

NIHR i4i - our flagship funding programme for the life sciences industry 

Invention for Innovation (i4i) is our translational research funding programme for medtech innovations that aims to address an existing or emerging health or social care need. This funding is targeted towards de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics and high-impact, patient focused digital health technologies designed for use in the NHS.

The mission of the i4i programme is to advance the development of innovative medical technologies for patient benefit. The programme achieves this by providing a focused source of translational R&D funding and structured support for academics, clinicians and SMEs in the UK.

There are four i4i funding schemes:

  • i4i Product Development Award: Product development required to enable a technology for clinical use or use in social care. There is no upper funding limit, but all costs must be fully justified.
  • i4i Connect: Aimed at helping SMEs reach the next stage in their development pathway to enable them to apply for further funding. The funding award is between £50,000 and £150,000.
  • i4i FAST (Funding At the Speed of Translation): Aimed at innovators in need of a small amount of funding to answer a specific question or to fund a single piece of activity.

Visit our i4i funding programme page to learn more including the latest news and advice for applicants.

Free support to help you prepare your funding application to i4i

If you decide to apply to an NIHR funding programme, we can connect you to an NIHR funding expert for free and confidential advice and guidance to help you to prepare your application.

A globally recognised funder of innovation

NIHR funding adds value beyond the immediate research award and the follow-on support we offer.

TheNIHR has been recognised as the world’s most transparent research funding body, adopting theWHO’s recommendations for maximising clinical trial transparency and minimising waste. Our funded studies also undergo high-quality peer review processes. This leads to internationally recognised research quality.

Contact us

Get in touch with our dedicated Industry team to find the right funding scheme for you.

If you have already been awarded funding, we can also help you access and optimise further NIHR support and services. 

Fill out our simple contact form. We aim to reply as soon as possible and always within two business days. 

Contact the Industry team

Related information

Funding is just one of the ways we help life science organisations advance innovations for use in the UK’s NHS or care environment. Visit our NIHR support for the industry page to discover our full range of support.

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