Healthy Ageing Challenge – Designed for Ageing

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £14.4million for service-led innovations to support healthy ageing.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £14.4million

Opens: 20th Sep 2021

Closes: 17th Nov 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Healthy Ageing Challenge, will work with Innovate UK, to invest up to £14.4million in innovation projects.

These will be to deliver a clear game-changing service-led innovation to help people as they age, positively, actively, independently and with dignity.


The aim of this competition is to:

  • address the under-provision by markets of services which support people as they age, to remain active, independent and socially connected for longer
  • support business-led, near-to-market innovations that have strong potential to scale
  • provide support through grant-funding against eligible project costs
  • enforce good people-centred design principles
  • encourage applications from businesses across the UK, by working closely with devolved government administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

To enforce the aim of good people-centred design principles, your project will be subject to a ‘design stage gate review’ at the six-month point. Your project must pass the ‘design stage gate review’ to continue to receive funding.

The review will ensure that your organisation is better placed to realise optimal market share by working with users and customers, to feed into service development and commercialisation plans.

Your project must:

  • deliver a clear game-changing service-led innovation, that has a significant impact on ageing positively in the UK
  • help people as they age, allowing them to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected for as long as possible
  • narrow the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest
  • conduct industrial research to develop new and applied knowledge leading to a solution at high technology and market readiness

Your proposal must:

  • be delivered as a 6 months to two-year, business-led project, with a strong emphasis on people-centred design, as tested by the design stage gate review, and an ambition to scale
  • identify a solution that must be sufficiently well-defined to be shaped by the initial six-month design stage gate review

The design stage gate review will be informed by your first six months’ people-centred design activity. This must be backed up by a revised commercialisation plan. You must be available at this six-month point for the review, along with your revised business and commercialisation plans.

The five review criteria for the design stage gate, must be evidenced and are based on:

  • evidence of user engagement, including the user feedback mechanisms you have deployed
  • details of adaptions you have made to your service through deploying people-centred design, including references to any risks identified
  • evidence of take-up and acceptance within your user community, which supports the anticipated demand for your service
  • evidence from your user community that your solution is scalable, for example, is there now a wider interest in your offering
  • evidence that your business and commercialisation plans have been updated to reflect this activity, and that these plans represent a fair view of the market opportunity

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of themes and regions including:

  • scope, service or regional diversity
  • investment with devolved administrations
  • targeting inequalities and under-represented groups

Specific Themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following service-led innovations that:

  • enables self-care and new models of care for independent living
  • encourages sustaining physical activity for people aged 50 and over, including for instance, active travel
  • improves mental health
  • addresses the ‘common complaints’ of ageing, for example, incontinence, pain, mobility, hearing and eyesight


Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £500,000 and £2million
  • start by 1 May 2022
  • end by 30 April 2024
  • last between 6 months and 24 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • an overdue independent accountant’s report
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • clinical trials or academic research projects
  • not business-led
  • early-stage innovations, for example: proof of concept or pre-prototype
  • products that do not have a service wrapper or service application
  • not clearly targeted to help ageing populations
  • dependent on export performance, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £14.4million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation


Interested in applying for this competition?

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Our team are available to discuss your innovative business, your project ideas and how we can help you to write a successful application for this Grant Funding opportunity.

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