Innovate UK: Digital Health Technology Catalyst Open for Applications

Enhanced MRI scan of the head by Mark Lythgoe and Chloe Hunter CC BY-NC-ND

As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, Innovate UK has today issued a call for feasibility studies and industrial research & development projects to address the challenges posed and opportunities offered by digital healthcare:

Digital health is evolving at a rapid pace and this is having a profound impact on healthcare delivery. Digital health uses data and technology to:

  • improve patient outcomes
  • improve access to healthcare
  • make more targeted and personalised health interventions
  • transform service delivery
  • deliver new treatments and translational medicine

The aim of this competition is to speed up the development of new digital solutions to healthcare challenges and grow the industry.

Feasibility studies are smaller scale projects of up to one year for between £50k and £75k. Industrial research and experimental development projects are larger, from £500k – £1M and for up to 3 years. Different levels of grant are available to businesses depending on the type of research and size of the company.

Both types of project should be led by a UK-based SME. A business can be involved in up to 3 applications but may only lead on one.

Research organisations can participate as collaborators, but are limited to 50% of the total project costs. In addition all projects must show how they will improve the competitiveness and productivity for at least one UK SME invovled in the project.

A briefing webinar is taking place tomorrow, 1st August, and the competition closes to applications on 11th October.

Please contact your Faculty RFPM at an early stage if you’re interested in applying.




Round 17 of NIHR’s Programme Development Grants Scheme Now Open

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) maintains a health-related research system in which the NHS supports outstanding researchers, based in world-class facilities, engaged in cutting edge research focussing on the needs of patients and the public.

The seventeenth round of the NIHR Programme Development Grant scheme has now opened for applications.

Programme Development Grants are designed to address the observation that promising applications to the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) scheme are sometimes unsuccessful because certain aspects appear too insecure, and therefore too risky to be awarded three to five year funding. They allow for the completion of necessary preparatory work, enabling applicants to address weaknesses in prospective proposals that would be identified at Stage Two of a PGfAR application.

Activities eligible for funding include:

  • Evidence synthesis, potentially including modelling.
  • Selection or development of interventions or measures of outcome.
  • Pilot/feasibility studies to establish recruitment and participant retention rates, provide evidence for sample size calculations, optimise delivery of the intervention, etc.
  • Demonstration of practical ability to undertake elements of the future programme, such as when complex data linkage is required.
  • Strengthening of existing collaborations with methodological experts required to deliver the proposed research programme.

NHS organisations and providers of NHS services in England can apply, in collaboration with an appropriate academic partner or partners. Bids may be made by research consortia including more than one NHS organisation. Academic partners may be located outside of England, on the provision that a convincing case is made that the chosen partner is best placed to provide academic input.

Awards range from £20,000 to £100,000, over periods of six to eighteen months, and allow proposals to progress directly to Stage Two of any subsequent PGfAR application.

Details are available on the NIHR website.

The deadline for Round 17 of the NIHR Programme Development Grants scheme is 17 November 2016.


Innovate UK Invests £15 million in the Health & Life Sciences sector

Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects addressing technical or commercial challenges relevant to the health and life sciences sector that will lead to increased UK SME competitiveness, growth and productivity.

The Health and Life Sciences sector has a focus on agriculture, food and healthcare, underpinned by technologies developed in bioscience and medical research and enabled by expertise in engineering and physical sciences.

The aim of this competition is to stimulate and broaden business innovation in health and life sciences, leading to an increase in productivity.

  • Grants can be awarded to consortia, led by a business of any size, working with other businesses and/or research organisations.
  • All consortia must involve at least one SME and they will particularly welcome projects led by an SME.
  • A project may focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development depending on the challenge identified.
  • Projects can last from 6 to 36 months, with total costs of £50,000 to £2 million, depending on the type of project and activities proposed.

The competition opens on 12 Sept 2016. The deadline for applications is noon on 16 Nov 2016.

Competition Briefing Event

19 September 2016, London or webcast

Click here to register.




Horizon 2020 – Health – key areas identified for 2016-17 Workprogramme

An Advisory Group set up by the European Commission to look at priority areas for the 2016-17 Workprogramme for the Societal Challenge ‘Health, Demographic Change & Wellbeing has recommended  to deliver a  a coherent research programme with interdisciplinary, shared competences and convergence between research areas, including social science and humanities and science, technology and medicine. The programme needs to focus on the evidence-based use for new drugs and ICT solutions, and new algorithms for how to organize health care and public health.

The Group also identified 8 key strategic areas for the 2016-17 Workprogramme:

  • Ageing at large
  • Personalized medicine
  • ICT for health
  • Population health and health promotion
  • Infectious diseases
  • Early development
  • Sustainable health and care systems
  • Environment and health challenge

For full details of the recommendations see the Advisory Group Report.



NIHR – Funding Opportunities for Research & Career Development

NIHR have published a booklet providing information about their research funding and career development opportunities for researchers based in the NHS, universities, industry and other organisations concerned with health , public health and social care.

The NIHR funds a range of research programmes to produce the evidence to enable professionals, policy makers and patients to make informed decisions and provide the means to turn new interventions into better care. To achieve this goal NIHR have a range of schemes from pre-clinical, feasibility & pilot right through to systematic review. The major programmes are:

  • Efficacy & Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
  • Health Services & Delivery Research (HS&DR)
  • Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
  • Invention for Innovation (i4i)
  • Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)
  • Programme Development Grants (PDG)
  • Public Health Research (PHR)
  • Research for the Patient Benefit (RfPB)
  • Systematic Reviews (SR)

Calls are issued for either commissioned research or researcher-led (responsive mode). The NIHR also commissions themed calls which are advertised on their website.


Number of Opportunities to apply per year EME HS&DR HTA i4i PGfAR PDG PHR RfPB SR
Rsearcher-Led 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 3 1
Commissioned 3 3 3 1 0 0 3 0 0

For further details about any of these schemes see the NIHR Funding Opportunities for Research & Career Development Booklet or take a look at the NIHR website.


Health systems research initiative – Low & Middle Income Countries

healthcareDepartment for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust (WT). have issued a health systems research initiative call : Providing evidence to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes

The aim of the call is to fund rigorous, high quality research that will:

  • Generate evidence on how to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes.
  •  Provide evidence that is of direct relevance to decision makers and users in the field.

Up to £15 million has been committed to the Health Systems Research Initiative, which will be allocated through three annual calls for proposals of £5 million each. The costs of each call will be shared between all four funders.
Applications may be for:
  • Development grants with a duration of 1-2 years and a total budget of around £100k each. These grants are tailored to assist interdisciplinary teams to develop robust and competitive proposals.
  • Full-scale research projects of up to 5 years duration. Typically the funders would expect a project of 3-4 years with costs of £100-£200k per annum.
 Closing date – 14 January 2014 (4.00pm).
For full details of the call see the MRC website.

Become a National Institute of Health Services Research (NIHR) Reviewer

peer reviewNIHR are inviting applications from academics, clinicians, practitioners, public health professionals and also from members of the public, patients and carers to become an NIHR reviewer.

The NIHR reviewer community plays a vital part in maintaining and improving the quality of programmes’ projects and outputs. As a reviewer you can make a significant contribution to the NHS and public health by shaping research and improving practice.

Becoming a reviewer can provide insight into the funding process, as well as allowing you to see and comment on research fundings ahead of publication.

To join the NIHR pool of external reviewers register online. If you are accepted as a reviewer, please could you inform Sam King, Research Funding & Policy Manager, RBS.

Opportunities also arise, around once a year, to join the panels and boards who identify topics and select applications. See our previous blog post on becoming a Panel or Board member.


Northumbria goes to CHI 2013: Changing Perspectives

Louvre at dusk by scot2342 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Once again Northumbria University is involved in 26 contributions to the prestigious CHI conference, this year being held in Paris and finishing today.

You can read about them all here:

CHI 2013: Changing Perspectives

Experts from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences and Health and Life Sciences have taken part this year, with contributions including digital art, design for ageing, vulnerability and dementia, spiritual user experiences, HCI in Mass Media through to understanding communication needs of different health groups.

CHI is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction, which took place this year between 27th April and 2nd May in Paris. This year’s conference is one of the biggest ever, with over 3,000 professionals from over 40 countries.


ESRC NIHR Dementia Call Timetable Released

Further to our post earlier this week, ESRC has just release more information about the Dementia initiative it is running in collaboration with NIHR:

ESRC-NIHR Dementia Initiative

The call will address the following areas:

  • Prevention, including public awareness and early presentation
  • Public health of behaviour change, including the role of social interventions in slowing cognitive decline
  • Delivery of interventions in hospitals care homes and carers, including the interface between professionals, lay people and patients, sometimes The Medical Negligence Experts recommend to report any bad treatments there might be regarding hospitals.

If you’re interested in applying you can register to attend a meeting for all potential applicants to be held in mid-late June: Register here.


BUPA Foundation – Prizes for 2012

BUPA have announced their prize competition for 2012. The BUPA Foundation Prizes reward researchers’ completed work as well as ‘seeding’  follow-on studies, or piloting work in a new direction prompted by the successful project.

The prizes are presented in November each year, at the BUPA Foundation prize giving dinner held in London. A short video of each winning project is featured, followed by presentations and dinner.

The prizes are made annually in recognition of excellence in medical research and healthcare in four categories:

Healthy Lives Prize: for enabling people to make sustained behaviour changes towards a healthy lifestyle in realtion to smoking, diet, physical activity and /or alcohol consumption.

Patients as Partners Prize: for development of shared-decision making tools that help patients to make informed decisions about their own health care.

Vitality for Life Prize: for work with older age groups promoting and encouraging healthy ageing.

Technology for Healthy Outcomes: for work using new technologies to organise and interpret health outcomes data to improve health and care.

For further details see the BUPA website.