i4i Connect – Call 3

Key Features

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway.

Programme:     NIHR

Award:     £50,000-£150,000 per project

Opens: 14th Aug 2019

Closes: 11th Sep 2019

! This scheme is now closed


i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway.


The funding stream aims to help SMEs get to a point where they can apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. It also aims to de-risk projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway to support follow-on investment.

i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

i4i Connect funded activities can include:

  • Generation of data to support an application to i4i Product Development Awards or any other funding stream
  • Research and development of medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices as defined by the relevant EU directives, across all areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs at any stage of the translational research pathway, including but not limited to:
  • Product design
  • Manufacturing and scale up
  • User requirement assessment
  • Intellectual property strategy, including freedom to operate analysis
  • Development of commercialisation strategy and market analysis
  • Business case development
  • Studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of a device
  • Health economic model development or analyses and clinical utility studies, looking at a device’s real-life implementation and use
  • CE marking and other regulatory requirements, including any associated preparation for a future clinical trial application
  • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology
  • Training associated with the implementation of new technology

Funding Costs

  • The funding stream offers between £50,000-£150,000 over a 6-12 month period.
  • NIHR cover 100% costs for SME and NHS trusts and 80% FEC for academic partners.
  • Project start dates must be between 01 January 2020 and 01 March 2020.


  • Lead applicants must be from an SME.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.

The following types of organisations are eligible to collaborate with the lead SME:

  • SMEs with a staff headcount no greater than 250 and annual turnover no greater than €50 million (including start-up or spin-out companies)
  • NHS organisations (including NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts), and equivalent UK authorities
  • Universities, research institutes and not-for-profit organisations

A collaboration of two or more of the above is accepted. Specialist services or expertise may be brought into the team through consultancy or sub-contract arrangements, however, appropriate justification must be provided. Sub-contractors may be based outside of England if the required expertise or service cannot be reasonably contracted from within England.


This funding stream will not support:

  • Basic research
  • Minor or incremental changes to technologies or interventions in current clinical use
  • Projects involving small molecule drugs, stem cells or cosmetic products
  • Projects that involve work on animals or animal tissue
  • Evaluation or clinical trials of fully developed products or interventions, which have already been adopted within another NHS organisation or have a history of NHS use
  • Studies on the impact of interventions on service delivery and management
  • Products to be used only in hospital information, administration and infrastructure
  • Methodologies clinically assessing or validating an existing or newly developed technique or technology
  • Professional training
  • Development of hospital information, administration, infrastructure and other related software