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Funding opportunities for innovators

External funding and investment can be the key to developing your innovation and supporting implementation in the NHS.

The AHSN Network is constantly horizon scanning to identify sources of funding and we have provided some information on relevant opportunities below.

Innovators are invited to explore and apply for funding directly via the organisations listed.

This page is updated regularly, so please check back for new opportunities.

Featured funding opportunities

Angels in MedCity. Deadline: open
Angels in MedCity connects new and existing business angels to investment opportunities from healthcare and life sciences companies. More.

Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine Challenge funding competition. Deadline: midday on 22 January 2020. Briefing event: 30 October 2019
Businesses can apply for a share of up to £5.4 million for projects that apply whole genome sequencing to the analysis of cancer. More.

UK-Israel open collaborative R&D competition 2019. Deadline: 26 February 2020
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to develop innovative technologies targeting global markets in partnership with Israeli companies. More.

There are two rounds of ISCF Transforming Food Production. Deadline: 26 February 2020
ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: feasibility studies
Apply for between £75,000 and £250,000 to test the feasibility of solutions that can transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040. More.

ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: demonstration
Apply for between £400,000 and £4 million to demonstrate solutions that can transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040. More.

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities form the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities.  In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research. To access their database click here.

i4i Product Development Awards: round 20. Deadline: 3 June 2020
i4i PDA supports 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). More.

More funding opportunities


Innovate UK: Revolutionising cancer treatment with genomics. Deadline: 22 January 2020
The competition aims to encourage new targeted cancer treatments based on the molecular signatures of cancer. The competition will support a range of work from short feasibility studies to partners working on larger research and development projects.  More.

UK-China: precision for enhancing agricultural productivity. Deadline: 22 January 2020
Health and food systems. UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million to work with Chinese partners to develop new integrated precision farming technology and help achieve net-zero emissions. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. More.

For more information on all open IUK funding opportunities click here.


Open Competition: Emerging Innovations
In this category, DSTL are encouraging the submission of proposals across a wide range of technology areas with the aim of finding new and novel opportunities for these to be exploited across Defence and/or Security. Emerging innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a proof of concept at around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 or 4, which in outline means delivering a proof of concept, with component and/or sub-system validation in laboratory-style environment by the end of your proposed work. More.

Open Competition: Rapid Impact Innovations
Proposals in this category are encouraged for projects which have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3-year time frame from the commencement of the project. In this category, there is an expectation that proposals will be funded only if there is a strong customer pull and capability need for the idea. Accordingly, additional effort will be required by suppliers to ensure there is positive user interest in the idea before submitting a proposal. More.

More information on all DSTL – DASA funding opportunities here.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

NIHR: Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT). Deadline: 15 January 2020
This initiative provides research funding to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary applied health research in key areas in countries eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA), where a strategic and targeted investment can result in a transformative impact. More. 

NIHR: Research for Social Care Competition 2. Deadline: 22 January 2020
The current RfSC call welcomes proposals for research which generates evidence to improve, expand and strengthen the way adult social care is delivered for users of care services, carers, and the public. More.

NIHR offers many funding opportunities with an emphasis on research. More.

Research councils

Biotechnology & Biologicalsciences Research Council (BBSRC)

The BBSRC work with industry and academia (and other sectors and research councils) to develop world leading biotechnology and bioscience. For more funding opportunities click here. 

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Research Grants. Deadline: Open call
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the EPSRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development. More.

ESRC: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI). Deadline: Open
The Secondary Data Analysis Initiative aims to deliver high-quality high-impact research through utilising existing data resources created by the ESRC and other agencies in order to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society. Proposals are welcome at any time. Funding is provided for up to 24 months with an overall limit of £300,000 (100% fEC) per grant. More.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities click here.

EPSRC: Healthcare Technologies. Deadline: Apply at any time
Proposals submitted to this call should clearly articulate the novel Engineering and Physical Sciences aspects of the proposed research project and how it will deliver the Healthcare Technologies theme strategy, and/or the investment priorities within the Healthy Nation of the EPSRC delivery plan. We would particularly like to encourage research projects which address the priorities of “Transform community health and care” and “Improve prevention and public health”. More.

Medical Research Council (MRC)

MRC: Jointly-funded Clinical Research Training Fellowships (pre and post-doctoral). Deadline: Multiple dates
View full list of the jointly funded awards available to apply for here.

MRC: Pre-call announcement: UK-Japan Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative. Deadline: 20 February 2020
This initiative will support collaborative (UK-Japanese) research projects that build upon fundamental insights and initial early-stage discoveries, to advance regenerative approaches towards clinical use in the future and to utilise stem cells as medical research tools. It is anticipated that the available funds will support approximately 8 collaborative projects. More.

Confidence in Concept. Deadline: 5 February 2020
The CiC scheme provides annual awards of up to £1 Million to institutions to flexibly support a portfolio of early stage translational research projects. More.

UK Research & Innovation

UKRI: Future Leaders Fellowship. Deadline: Applications for Round 5 will open in June 2020
The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship scheme (FLF) aims to develop, retain, attract and sustain research and innovation talent in the UK. Providing up to seven years of funding, for at least 550 early-career researchers and innovators, the scheme will tackle difficult and novel challenges. Applications can be submitted in any area of research or innovation covered by the research councils and Innovate UK. More.

Trusts, Charities and Foundations

Wellcome Trust

Innovator Awards. Deadline: None
Up to £500K. These awards support researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health. More.

Dunhill Medical Trust

Project Grants for development of care and support services for older people. Deadline: Open
Dunhill Medical Trust are seeking time-limited projects which focus on the development of care and support services for older people which are innovative and/or based on evidence of best practice and which can become self-sustaining within a planned period. More.

Health Foundation

The Health Foundation has invested more than £120m over the last 15 years to help improve the quality of care for the public. More.

Healthcare Infection Society

Healthcare Infection Society: Pilot Project Grants. Deadline: accepted throughout the year and assessed on a quarterly basis (February, May, August & November)
This pilot scheme aims to encourage clinical researchers to formulate and refine a hypothesis in the form of a preliminary project. Proposals must show an understanding of the clinical practice of infection prevention and control directly relate to nosocomial infections. More.

James Tudor Foundation

The James Tudor Foundation: Health Education, Palliative Care, Medical Research Grants. Deadline: apply at any time
The James Tudor Foundation is a grant giving charitable company established in 2004 with the principal object of the relief of human sickness. More.

ME Research UK

ME Research UK: Research Grants. Deadline: apply at any time
ME Research UK invites applications for its research grants. These fund novel clinical and biomedical studies that help unravel the biology of myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome, and studies that may point towards therapeutic strategies. Applications for pilot studies and seed-corn projects, including those that seek support for consumables rather than staff costs, are particularly welcomed.  More.

Wellbeing of Women

Wellbeing of Women: Research Project Grants. Deadline: 13 February 2020
These awards are for projects in laboratory, clinical and translational research in the areas of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period, including pre-term birth, miscarriage and fertility; general wellbeing surrounding women’s health issues such as menopause, incontinence, sexual health, perinatal mental health, menstrual disorder and endometriosis; and gynaecological cancers. The upper grant award limit for these grants is £200,000 in total over one to three years. More.

Skills, Infrastructure & Business Growth

Humber LEP Spark Fund – Innovation Vouchers and Grants for Research and Development. Closing date: 30 April 2020
Brand new funding opportunity for ambitious, growth oriented local SMEs that are seeking to grow market share, improve productivity and create new employment opportunities through the development and subsequent commercialisation of new and innovative products and services. Up to £50k of grant funding is available to support SMEs to become more innovative and undertake research and development projects. More.

Intern Grant – Postgraduate Advantage Scheme. Closing date: Open
The Postgraduate Advantage Scheme (PAS) is open to charities, public sector organisations and SMEs. By offering a project through the scheme, you can recruit a PAS intern to work with you for 100 hours. The University of Sheffield will provide a bursary of £1000, payable directly to the student. More.

SME Reach Programme. Deadline: none stated
The AMRC is a major asset to SMEs across the country as it allows them access to the high-tech facilities and expertise which would otherwise be out of reach. More.

Other Government funding

The British Business Bank

Deadline: Open.

BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance. More.


Export Opportunities

Access the Department of International Trades Export Opportunities Pipeline here.

Coming soon

IUK have published the Healthy Ageing ChallengeThe Trailblazer and Investment Accelerator calls are already on the IUK funding opportunities web page. Starting in 2020, up to £12 million will be available over 4 years to fund the programme Developing a pipeline – Early stage support.

Catalyst Awards. UKRI is working with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the USA as a Global Collaborator in their Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge. They will commission a set of Catalyst Awards to support early stage innovation and stimulate interest in global opportunities.

Design Programme. The Design Programme will capitalise on the UK’s strength in design, in particular early-stage human centred design to maximise the commercial potential of ideas and innovations in the Healthy Ageing sector. The programme will tackle issues in both the supply and demand of design capabilities.

Collaborative R&D Competition. The aim of the Collaborative R&D competition is to focus on the high-potential early stage collaborative projects, which address key opportunities that would not otherwise be eligible for funding under the Trailblazer nor the Investment Accelerator programmes.

Applications for PanaceaStars Develop open
PanaceaStars invests time, resources and capital to de-risk and fast-track innovator development. Whether they have the seed of a scientific innovation or a well-developed proof-of-concept, PanaceaStars’ multi-phase framework is designed to help translate innovative vision into a thriving business. More.

Looking for healthcare and life sciences UK Government tenders? More.

Have you explored the services of the national AHSN network?