Current funding opportunities

Smart Grants

Innovate UK

25 November 2020
£25,000 – £2 million
6 months – 36 months

Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as, but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering

Projects with durations between 6 and 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000. Projects between 19 months and 36 months must have total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million.

Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

25 November 2020, 16:00
No limit (UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost)
No limit

The scheme supports academically led projects whose goals are to improve prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of significant health needs, or that focus on developing research tools that increase the efficiency of developing interventions.

If a grant is awarded, UKRI will provide funding at 80% of the fEC.

Innovation Grants


27 November 2020
Not stated

The MedTech NAVIGATOR Innovation Grants are designed to facilitate bespoke interactions between SMEs and eligible knowledge providers, such as an NHS trust or a university, during the product development process. Applicants must contribute 50% matched funding.

NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme: Interventions in Paediatric Care (20/58)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

01 December 2020, 13:00
No limit but funding should be clearly justified
No limit

Applications are sought for research to evaluate the efficacy of interventions in paediatric care, across both mental and physical health. All forms of health technology with the potential to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment or management of disease are included under this call.

Studies must aim to primarily recruit or ultimately benefit the health outcomes of paediatric patients, defined for most services in the NHS as being aged 0-16 years, although applicants may justify broader recruitment, for example across certain flexible paediatric services such as surgery.

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Evaluating novel or repurposed treatments for conditions which typically present, commence or are particularly amenable to treatment in childhood.
  • Diagnostic accuracy studies for tests in childhood disease, including companion diagnostics and tests to support a precision medicine approach. Of particular interest are tests for early diagnosis.
  • Evaluating the efficacy of existing interventions not currently used in a paediatric population, where there is clear scientific justification for an efficacy study (e.g. different pathophysiology of the condition, mechanism of action or other barrier to extrapolating from adult trials).
  • Evaluating novel adjunctive technologies for which there is a particular need in paediatric care.

Confidence in Concept (Round 8)

Medical Research Council (MRC)

03 December 2020, 16:00
£50,000 – £75,000 (up to £100,000 where anticipated and justified)
12 months (to be completed by 31 March 2020)

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have recently secured an eighth round of funding from the MRC to run an institutional call under the Confidence in Concept scheme, a key part of the MRC’s Translational Research Strategy and a component of the high profile MRC & Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst.

The Confidence in Concept Scheme is designed to “accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development projects by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach” within the MRC’s healthcare remit.

We are now inviting applications for awards to be used to support the transition between fundamental and translational research, to provide project teams with funding to enable them to develop a concept to a point where it is competitive enough to be used in a bid for more substantive follow on t Projects involving industrial collaborators are eligible for the scheme and standard MRC guidelines and intellectual property arrangements for industrial collaboration will apply translational funding.

N.B. Due to the volume of applications anticipated, the appropriate business / commercial / innovation / research manager your institution must be contacted by 1 October 2020 with the title and a brief statement on the proposed concept to be taken forward. This is to ensure that applications fit the remit of the scheme, are registered and there is sufficient time to compile the application ahead of the submission date.

NIHR Artificial Intelligence Health and Care Award (Phases 1-4)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

08 December 2020, 13:00
No limit
Dependent on phase (3 years for phase 4, 1 year for phase 1)

This award supports innovators and technologies across the spectrum of development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, from concept through to initial NHS adoption and testing of the technology within clinical pathways.

NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Awards

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

09 December 2020, 13:00
No limit
3 years

This award supports the translational research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use. The research proposals may address any disease or health area, provided there is a clear unmet clinical need. Lead organisation must be registered in England.

In this competition, the NIHR are partnering with ESPRC, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to highlight support for the development and adoption of asthma health technologies.

Future Leaders Fellowships (Round 6)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

10 December 2020, 16:00
No limit
4 years

This fellowship is open to researchers and/or innovators with outstanding potential, who are transitioning to or establishing independence. Applicants may be based in universities, UK-registered businesses, and other environments including Catapults and institutes. Awards may be renewed for a further three years.

NIHR Public Health Research Programme Rapid Funding Scheme

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

31 December 2020
6 months

The Rapid Funding Scheme (RFS) offers researchers the opportunity to apply for funds to conduct rapid baseline data collection, as well as other feasibility work, prior to intervention implementation, for unique, time-limited opportunities such as a natural experiment or similar evaluations of a new public health intervention.

This scheme is not intended to fund studies which provide definitive answers to questions to inform service provision – it is to prepare for such studies.

The RFS has been set up to provide the public health research community with an accelerated route to funding for small-scale, short and time sensitive proposals that demonstrate a need for a rapid commissioning process to be followed. Funding will be offered, subject to appropriate scientific scrutiny, on the understanding that a full application to support completion of the evaluation will be forthcoming at an appropriate time point.

Travel and Subsistence Funding to Support LMIC Engagement During the COVID-19 Outbreak

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

31 December 2020
No limit
No limit

The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries. The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation. Applicants are required to ensure appropriate duty of care, insurance, safeguarding and all other liabilities are in place and that they have the support of their institution for any travel, as well as appropriate institutional support in the destination country.

Applications are open until further notice, on a rolling basis. Applications should ideally be submitted at least 2 weeks before the planned travel.

Open Call for Research and Innovation Ideas to Address COVID-19

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

31 December 2020, 16:00
No limit (UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost)
18 months

Proposals are invited for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. UKRI will support excellent proposals up to 12-18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

If a grant is awarded, UKRI will provide funding at 80% of the fEC.

NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme Researcher-Led (Primary Research)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

06 January 2021, 13:00
No limit
No limit

The NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme funds research to assess the effectiveness of technologies within the NHS. Proposals should normally evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a health technology. For diagnostic technologies, researchers may suggest equivalent evaluations. In this researcher-led workstream, grants are available for primary research and evidence synthesis on topics proposed by the researchers.

Clinician Scientist Fellowship

Medical Research Council (MRC) / Versus Arthritis (VA)

07 January 2021
Not stated
4-5 years

These fellowships allow talented medically and other clinically qualified professionals, who have gained a higher research degree to lead their own research, establish a research team and make the transition to independent investigator.

The clinical scientist fellowship (CSF) provides either four year or five years’ support, covering personal salary costs, together with support for research staff, consumable expenses, travel costs and capital equipment appropriate for the research project.

NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Challenge Awards

National Institute for Health Research

12 January 2021, 13:00
No limit
3 years

The NIHR i4i Challenge award supports market-ready innovations by addressing the translational gap between the clinical evaluation of technologies and their adoption by funding the assessment of MedTech innovations in real-world healthcare settings. The expected output is a disruptive medical device or in vitro diagnostic test that can offer improved outcomes for NHS patients. Lead applicant must be England based.

In this competition, the NIHR are partnering with ESPRC, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to highlight support for the development and adoption of asthma health technologies.

Accelerating New Treatments

Versus Arthritis (VA)

18 January 2021, 16:00
3 years

Applications should be focused on an unmet arthritis need, within or across the collaboration’s themes. Studies that tackle related COVID-19 questions are also encouraged.

Collaboration Fund

White Rose

28 January 2021, 12:00
12 months

The fund is designed to support and encourage emerging collaborations across the Universities of York, Leeds and Sheffield. The collaborations should have the potential to lead to larger strategic initiatives.

Asthma Health Technology Awards

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

11 February 2021, 16:00
24 months

You can apply for up to £750,000 to support research and development of technologies for diagnosis, monitoring and management tools for asthma.

Projects should aim to transform asthma outcomes to prevent asthma attacks, and reduce emergency healthcare use and asthma deaths.

Projects will be funded at 80% full economic cost and can be up to 24 months in duration. You can apply if you meet standard EPSRC eligibility rules.

Co-funders: Asthma UK (AUK) and the British Lung Foundation Partnership (BLF)

Senior Clinical Fellowship

Medical Research Council (MRC)

21 April 2021, 16:00
No limit
No limit

This fellowship scheme is open to clinically-active healthcare professionals with a track record of effectively leading their own independent research. It provides support to help applicants progress to research leadership and become an internationally-recognised leader in their field.

Support to Mitigate Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE)

Apply online at any time
No limit
No limit

PRACE is welcoming project proposals requesting computing resources to contribute to the mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies, without being exhaustive, to the following topics:

  • Biomolecular research to understand the mechanisms of the virus infection
  • Bioinformatics research to understand mutations, evolution, etc.
  • Bio-simulations to develop therapeutics and/or vaccines
  • Epidemiologic analysis to understand and forecast the spread of the disease
  • Other analyses to understand and mitigate the impact of the pandemic

This call for proposals will follow a fast track review process to provide swift feedback to the applicants.

Government Support for Research Related to COVID-19

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Apply online at any time
No limit
No limit

COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for COVID-19.

Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver these studies, regardless of sponsorship and funding source. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource.

Innovator Awards

Wellcome Trust

Apply online at any time, shortlisting occurs every 3 months
Up to £500k (or £750k for multidisciplinary collaborations)
Up to 24 months (or 36 months for multidisciplinary collaborations)

Innovator Awards are open to researchers who are developing healthcare innovations that could have a major and measurable impact on human health. You can work in any scientific discipline, including a discipline outside life sciences. You can work on any type of technology. Examples of technologies include: therapeutics (small molecules or biologics); vaccines; devices; diagnostics; digital technologies; and regenerative medicine. The work that you propose must be essential for developing your healthcare innovation.

Nesta Impact Investments


Open call
£1 million
No limit

Nesta want to see the power of innovation and technology used to address big social issues. Their mission is to invest in high impact innovations run by outstanding entrepreneurs. They invest primarily to create real and lasting social impact in the UK, as well as generating a financial return for our investors. They invest between £150k and £1m in social ventures developing innovations that tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children, and communities in the UK.

Healthcare Technologies: Call for Investigator Led Research Projects

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Open call
Flexible depending on quality and demand
No limit

This call is aimed at researchers working in Engineering, Physical Sciences, ICT, and Mathematical Sciences that are now seeking to apply their research expertise to a defined healthcare challenge. Applications to this call must be clearly aligned to the Healthcare Technologies theme Grand Challenges: Developing Future Therapies; Frontiers of Physical Intervention; Optimising Treatment; and Transforming Community Health and Care.

Economic and Social Research Council: Research Grants

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

No fixed closing date
£350,000 – £1 million
Up to 5 years

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Grants (open call) invites proposals from eligible individuals and research teams for standard research projects, large-scale surveys and other infrastructure projects and for methodological developments. The call offers researchers considerable flexibility to focus on any subject area or topic providing that it falls within ESRC’s remit. Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent more than 50 per cent of the research focus and effort.

Ambitious and novel research proposals addressing new concepts and techniques and those with the potential for significant scientific or societal and economic impact are particularly encouraged. They are keen to encourage fresh ideas from new researchers and appropriate proposals are welcomed from those with limited research experience.

Funding decisions are based on a number of criteria including quality, timeliness, potential impact and value for money.

LifeArc Philanthropic Fund


Open call
A share of £5 million 
No limit

LifeArc invites applications for its philanthropic fund. This supports medical research projects focused on translation of rare diseases research. The aim is to accelerate scientific breakthroughs to deliver new medicines for patients with these conditions and projects must focus on developing an intervention, therapeutic, device or diagnostic, that will address a significant, unaddressed need for rare disease patients and on research which has a credible translational and development path to reaching those patients.

Grants will either be awarded directly to academics or will be partnered with similar funds being awarded by our rare disease charity partners.

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