Health Innovation Funding Opportunities

The latest funding opportunities and grants for innovation in healthcare.

We update this page monthly so check back for the latest opportunities or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.

Featured health innovation funding opportunities:

Innovation to manage or prevent the psychological impact of traumatic physical injury or surgery Deadline 30 June 2022

The NIHR Trauma Management MedTech Cooperative (MIC) are running a competition for medical devices and technologies to prevent or manage the psychological impact of trauma from physical injury or surgery. Up to three projects will be awarded up to £15,000 each.

Primary Care Automation Grants Deadline 18 July 2022

The NHS England London Digital First Programme are offering grants of up to £65k to pilot automation solutions in primary care across London.

General health innovation funding opportunities:

Innovate UK:
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BIOTECHNOLOGICAL AND BOLOGICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, is a non-departmental public body, and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK.

BBSRC standard research grant. Deadline: open

You can apply for research grants at any time in any area within the remit of BBSRC. BBSRC funds research in plants, microbes, animals (including humans), and the tools and technology underpinning biological research from the level of molecules and cells, to tissues, whole organisms, populations and landscapes.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR (DASA)

DASA aims to find and fund exploitable innovation to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively, and support UK prosperity.

Open Competition Deadline: Open call
The Open Call is one of the funding competition mechanisms DASA uses to find proposals that address challenges faced by government stakeholders. It gives bidders the opportunity to present their ideas to defence and security stakeholders at any time, without waiting for a relevant Themed Competition.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH
The nation’s largest funder of health and care research, providing the people, facilities and technology for research to thrive.

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.

Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF) – Open call
This fund is to support businesses investing in life sciences manufacturing projects in the UK.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC)

ESRC Research Grant Deadline: Open call
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the ESRC 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.

ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC):

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

Trusts and Charities

The Health Foundation (HF)
HF’s aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. HF learns what works to make people’s lives healthier and improve the health care system. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, they shine a light on how to make successful change happen.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF)
BHF provide personal support for clinical and non-clinical cardiovascular researchers at all stages of their career. They also provide grants for short and long term research projects, essential infrastructure and strategic initiatives.

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.

Other UK Government, Seed Funds & Loans

The British Business Bank (BBB). 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.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding. General ‘collection’ of news and funds

Information about SBRI for businesses and public sector organisations that might want to use the scheme.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund Deadline: Open

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base.

Creative England Investments Deadline: Open

Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector.

HSBC Loan Fund Deadline: Open

HSBC UK has announced a £14 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply.

International Grants

Global Innovation Fund Open
GIF focuses on solutions that have the potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches, can come from anyone, anywhere. 
They seek out innovations they believe have the greatest potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty.

The EIC Accelerator: Open Competition (Grants only)
The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. 

Other international funds of interest:

The Global Challenges Research Fund
The Newton Fund
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program

Meet the innovator: Meera Radia

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In this edition, we catch up with Meera Radia, founder and CEO of PocketEye, a platform which improves access to eye care.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence:

PocketEye is a cloud-based digital triage platform for eye care, enabling secure communication, seamless referrals and triage between primary and secondary eye care.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

As an ophthalmologist, I was working in eye casualty one day when there was an extremely long (~6 hour) wait for patients, and I realised the majority of these patients had been referred as same-day emergency referrals, which could have been prevented and remotely managed. Furthermore, my sister who is an optometrist would phone me regularly for general eye advice and teaching, as she felt there was a gap in her knowledge, and also her colleagues' knowledge, in terms of when to refer and when to not refer. 

I scribbled down a list of ideas I had that could solve this problem, spoke to a lot of professionals affected by these healthcare delivery challenges, and eventually, PocketEye was born!

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. When you hear a ‘No,’ that does not mean it is the end of the road - Get creative and use it as a learning opportunity
  2. While researching your market it is important to take strong opinions with a pinch of salt as the more people you speak to, the more you will gain a ‘bigger picture’
  3. Use technology to your advantage, we almost have no excuse with so many resources (many are free!) at our fingertips!

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

I would say it has been navigating the highly variable NHS pathways that exist in eye care. No two CCGs/ICSs are the same and so understanding the nuances of each one we speak to has been challenging. Understanding funding in the NHS is also crucial, and takes time to grasp as a concept.

Furthermore, behaviour change is a big challenge, especially within NHS organisations. But overall, I believe that it is an exciting time to be in the NHS, as there is a nascent appetite and spirit for being more open to change and innovation.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

  • Being selected to take part in the Digital.Health.London Launchpad accelerator programme in 2022 – This was a very empowering moment as it proved to us that others believed in the problem we are trying to solve!
  • Engaging with the eye community, and learning a lot more about eye healthcare structure and services
  • Having 200+ optometrists sign up to use our service

What is the best part of your job now?

Using creativity to problem-solve, and best of all, understanding the impact and difference our innovation can have in the eye care landscape, including improving patient safety and the patient experience

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

I would push for a flat structure (non-hierarchical), and increase collaboration between allied healthcare professionals and managerial team members.

A typical day for you would include…

My days are varied, interesting, sometimes exhausting but always exciting!

I can either be found in a hospital examining, operating on, or thinking about eyes, or I’m in the office, meeting with the PocketEye team. When in the office, I will be juggling various arms of the business including business development, marketing and comms, compliance, and of course working on product with Ed, the CTO. This manifests itself in lots of emails, Twitter page posting, pitchdecks, meetings, and of course, ringfenced thinking time.

You can find PocketEye on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Adapting Diabetes Care to the Challenges of COVID-19

As part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week we hear from the HIN's Kate Rawlings on the You & Type 2 programme, and how it was adapted to the challenges of Covid-19.

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Since early 2020 organisations across the world have been asking “How do we adapt and respond to Covid-19?”, and nowhere was this more true than in our own halls at the HIN (or virtual halls, as they soon became).

Since 2018 the HIN has worked with NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a personalised care and support planning pathway known as “You & Type 2” for people living with type 2 diabetes. Like with other healthcare services, its delivery was significantly challenged by the emergence of Covid-19. However, with this challenge also came opportunity, and the HIN launched two new branches of You & Type 2 to support people living with diabetes in light of Covid-19: @ Home and Risk Stratification.

@ Home

As the pandemic gained momentum, more and more pressure was being placed on primary care practices, who were forced to prioritise emergency care and reduce face-to-face contact. This often meant a halting routine checks, including annual diabetes care reviews.

You & Type 2 was temporarily paused, however, with the help of remote technology providers Thriva and Healthy.io, a remote monitoring pathway was developed. The @ Home pathway allowed people with diabetes to receive a free home blood testing kit, urine kit and blood pressure machine in the post. Following the tests, a care planning phone call allowed for seven of the eight key care processes to be completed remotely.

Risk Stratification

Identifying and prioritising high-risk populations was an important part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. It quickly became apparent that people with diabetes were at higher risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19, but also at risk of their diabetes worsening with the halting of routine care.

Building on existing frameworks produced by the London Clinical Networks and UCL Partners, and with the support of clinical experts, the HIN developed a risk stratification framework. This framework consolidated general and disease specific criteria to focus on people at high risk, but not currently under secondary care. It could be loaded straight into EMIS and created a list for GP practices of people with diabetes at high risk for follow up. This allowed practices to focus their limited resources appropriately.

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Evaluation

Initial feedback on the pathways is positive. Over 100 people have used the @ Home pathway, and users have praised it for its convenience. Four practices across South West London have been trained to use the risk stratification tool. Full evaluations are being completed and will be released in the coming months.

Although borne out of the restrictions placed on routine care by COVID-19, these pathways show how the NHS can innovate and adapt in long term disease management to make services more convenient to their population, and how to prioritise interventions for those most in need.

22 million steps taken to prevent type 2 diabetes

To celebrate type 2 diabetes prevention week Chris Gumble, Project Manager for long term conditions at the South West London Health and Care Partnership, has written about the outstanding results seen by the Decathlon programme, which won a HIN Innovation Grant in 2019.

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“The programme offers everyone the opportunity to learn and to grow and to thrive”

The health and wellbeing of our local populations has been tested beyond limits over the last few years. Healthcare services have had to adapt and programmes like the Prevention Decathlon have evolved to meet this new “normal”. But, one thing has not changed: the drive and determination of the team working to improve the Prevention Decathlon.

I wanted to reflect on the last 18 months and share the  incredible journey we have been on that may just change the life of those who attend the programme for good.

0% completion rate

Collaborating with Sweatcoin and Harlequins foundation, new cohorts of Decathletes (what we call our attendees) have undertaken the Prevention Decathlon over the last year, all recruited from community places of worship, and who were recruited in partnership with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN).

Using the Sweatcoin bespoke app, we are able to track the steps taken by our Decathletes throughout the programme. In total our 59 Decathletes have walked an amazing 22 million steps over the ten-week programme period, which is an average of 45% increase in physical activity levels. Completion rates are at an all-time high of 92% (comparable programme average around 56% in SWL) with individual achievements by Decathletes showing an increase of activity levels by 336%, weight loss of up to 10kg as well as one "MVP" losing 16.4% of their total body weight.

0% increase in physical activity levels

These incredible numbers are real people’s achievements and ones that have undoubtably changed their lives for the better. In March, Decathletes were celebrated and awarded for their achievements.

This was all achieved by adapting the programme to meet the needs of the current climate. Throughout Covid-19, the Prevention Decathlon became a digitised offer (virtual delivery) as face to face groups were restricted. At the same time the curriculum was expanded to be more culturally inclusive with the support of the members from the WCEN.

Award nominations aplenty were achieved by the Prevention Decathlon programme over the last year with us being nominated for the London Sport Award 2021 for “Health and Wellbeing Programme of the Year” as well as a nomination for the best not-for-profit partnership at the HSJ Partnerships award 2022 in collaboration with Harlequins Foundation.

“It’s not just healthy eating. We talk about wellbeing, physical activity, stress and sleep, and it’s tailored to different types of diet.”Nicola Clarke - Diabetes Specialist Dietician and Decathlon Facilitator

Looking to the future, a new partnership with the public health teams across Richmond and Wandsworth will see the Prevention Decathlon be accessible to another 800 Decathletes over the coming year!

The Pentathlon, a 5-week version of the programme has also been created in collaboration with the WCEN that does not focus on a specific long-term condition, but on general health and wellbeing. The programme has been created in collaboration with the WCEN and is delivered by local people to their respective communities across SWL.

On the horizon is a really exciting version of the Prevention Decathlon that will be aimed at those at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, thus opening the door to thousands more people to take control of their health and wellbeing and living longer, happier lives!

Watch this space for other updates soon as the Prevention Decathlon wants to break boundaries via a Heptathlon programme, a health and wellbeing programme for those with learning disabilities. Working with the learning Disability team in Kingston, the programme will start its development in June 2022.

Improving Outcomes for Patients in Community Care: Innovation at Bromley Healthcare

When it comes to innovation, have you properly considered the role of community services? With changes to integrated care happening from July, community care is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. We spoke to one of our partners, Dr Cath Jenson, Medical Director at Bromley Healthcare, about the difference they are making.

Too often overlooked, community care is now being recognised as the glue between primary and secondary care, helping provider collaboratives within the new integrated care systems to succeed.

As medical director at community provider Bromley Healthcare, I’m proud of the role we play in testing innovative solutions for integrated care and using data to drive improvement. For example, did you know we are the accelerator site for two hour response in south east London? Or that we are driving new standards for outcomes in meeting the needs of frail and complex patients outside hospital, integrating with the ‘One Bromley’ proactive care pathway and our own therapy and rehabilitation services (including bedded unit)?

Many don’t know we have specialist nurses across numerous fields – our children’s ‘hospital at home’ being another example of our innovations (shortlisted for a 2021 RCN Nursing Award in the Child Health category) aimed at keeping patients at home safely with a growing range of complex medical needs previously requiring admission. Or that we are the prime contractor for out-of-hospital diabetes care in Bromley and have recently recruited the first population health apprentice in London to develop population health initiatives for One Bromley (including Primary Care Networks).

And then there’s the services we provide outside Bromley, including special care dentistry across south east  London and health visiting in Bexley and Greenwich. In total we have over 35 services and 1,200 staff making the difference to patients in their own homes and communities.

There is a wealth of experiences and ways to make a real difference to patients in community care and to further enhance this we are now recruiting to newly established Clinical Director positions, to cement and develop our clinical leadership. Further information:

Find out more

To find out more please email Dr Cath Jenson.

Get in touch