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

NHS Innovation Accelerator. Deadline: 23 October 2019

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) supports exceptional individuals (‘Fellows’) with a passion for and commitment to scaling their innovations for greater patient and population benefit, and for sharing their learning, insight and expertise widely. Fellows can be clinicians, academics, from industry (SMEs or large corporates), or from charitable and not-for-profit organisations. The support offer includes access to mentorship from a range of experts and high-profile mentors, links with AHSNs, peer-to-peer learning and support, a dedicated learning programme, presentation and networking opportunities, and access to a bursary. More.

Healthy Ageing Investor Accelerator: Round 1. Deadline: 6 November 2019

Investors can apply to distribute grant funding from Innovate UK with private equity investment into UK businesses to deliver innovation in the healthy ageing market. Grant funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. 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. A public-private collaboration is investing £200 million to complete the whole genome sequencing for the 500,000 participants in the UK Biobank. Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £5.4 million from the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to invest in projects that seek to apply whole genome sequencing to the analysis of cancers. This funding is part of the ISCF’s £210 million Data to Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine Challenge. More.

Funding competition: SME support to evaluate innovative medical technologies. Round 5. Deadline: 11 December 2019

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5 million from Innovate UK / Office of Life Sciences to support the evaluation of innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital health products. They must be in line with at least one NHS priority area such as those outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan and show how they could give patients access to innovative new technologies. Competition opens: Monday 30 September 2019. More.

Demonstrate impact in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals: Phase 1. Deadline: 13 Nov 2019

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.3 million to demonstrate market-creating innovations in lower income countries and emerging economies. This funding is Official Development Assistance from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). More.

Healthy Ageing Trailblazers. Deadline: 27 November 2019

This is stage 1 of a 2-stage competition. A total fund of up to £1.5 million is on offer for stage 1 to conduct research and develop a business plan for a healthy ageing ‘trailblazer’. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. More.

Innovation Loans: September 2019 Competition. Deadline: 27 November 2019

Loans for game-changing innovations with strong commercial potential that will significantly improve the UK economy. More.

Angels in MedCity. Deadline: open

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

More funding opportunities

UK Research and Innovation

Strength in places fund: wave 2 EoI. Deadline: 9 October 2019

Consortia of UK businesses and research organisations can apply for ‘seed corn’ funding of up to £50,000 to develop full applications for wave 2 of the UKRI Strength in Places Fund. Successful full stage applications could win funding of between £10 million and £50 million. More.

Collaborate to Innovate Round 2: Advanced Therapies. Deadline:  23 September 2019

London Advanced Therapies have opened another call for a round of the Collaborate to Innovate programme focussed on advanced therapies to fund collaborative projects between SMEs and academic research groups. The initiative will provide financial support of up to £150,000 for projects where SMEs in the area of advanced therapies are looking to progress their development by working directly with researchers. More information available here.

Innovate UK

Enabling integrated diagnostics for early detection. Deadline: 23 September 2019 

Up to £20 million is available for multidisciplinary consortia to develop and evaluate integrated diagnostic solutions for early detection and diagnosis. This includes funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. More.

EUREKA: Singapore open competition. Deadline: 26 September 2019

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million to develop innovative proposals with Singapore and other EUREKA countries. More. 

Smart Grants: July 2019. Deadline: 16 October 2019

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy. More

Newton-Ungku Omar Fund Grand Challenge 2019: phase 1. Deadline: 23 October 2019

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million and Malaysian businesses a share of RM 5.5 million to collaborate on innovative solutions to large societal challenges. More.

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

Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

PoC diagnostic Technologies. Deadline: 26 September 2019 

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is seeking proposals for innovative ‘Point of Care’ (PoC) diagnostics technologies that provide information to enable clinicians to earlier diagnose and ultimately treat individuals exposed to chemical and biological hazards. More.

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 global health policy and systems research commissioned awards. Deadline:11 December 2019

The aim of the call is to support equitable partnerships between LMIC and UK researchers to generate new research knowledge and evidence to tackle priorities for health systems strengthening in ODA eligible countries in areas identified as priorities through the NIHR’s engagement and consultation exercise.

Awards of up to £4m for a duration of up to 4 years are available for partnerships/consortia led by two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an LMIC and one from a UK institution) and up to three additional Co-Applicants. More.

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

Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Stand-alone LINK. Deadline: 2 October 2019

LINK supports collaborative research projects between at least one company and one academic partner. At least 50% of the full project cost comes from industry. Applications should be for pr-competitive research that would not be undertaken in this form without LINK support. Funding is only available for organisations eligible for BBSRC support. More.

More information on BBSRC open funding opportunities 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.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

See EPSRC funding opportunities here

Medical Research Council (MRC)

UKRI-NSFC Joint Call: Understanding and Addressing Health and Social Challenges for Ageing in the UK and China. Deadline: 17 October 2019
The call invites high quality proposals between researchers in the UK and China which aim to enhance the evidence base on understanding and addressing health and social challenges facing ageing societies through interdisciplinary collaborations. More.

See more funding opportunities here.

Trusts & charities

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.

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.

Breast Cancer Now

Breast cancer risk and prevention research grants

A range of Breast Cancer Now funding opportunities. More.

British Heart Foundation (BHF)

Strategic Initiatives. Deadline: Open

BHF will enter into dialogue with major research institutions to identify potential large capital needs for their cardiovascular research strategy. By so doing, BHF hope that they will be able to indicate at an early stage to what extent the BHF may be able to contribute to the overall costs of the strategy, thereby allowing the institution to lever additional funds from other sources. 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.

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 Trade’s 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 and are set-out in the newsletter above. 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.

The Health Foundation will also be launching its Evidence into Practice Programme in October 2019 .  Their aim with this programme is to support fresh ideas that have the potential to achieve impact and change to improve service delivery, including in non-acute settings. More.

Calling all scientists, academics and entrepreneurs; 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?