02 Apr 2019

i4i Insight

i4i Insight

Grant Funding for your Med-Tech at any stage of research and development… sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Rest-assured, it’s real!

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) offer grant funding via their i4i programme, for collaborative R&D projects to med-tech SMEs, universities and the NHS that have demonstrated proof-of-principle and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation; with the aim to de-risk projects, making them attractive to follow-on funders and investors.


Product Development Awards (PDA) Call 18

The i4i PDA competition is usually open for applications twice a year, with Call 18 being the first for 2019.

The competition is designed to support med-tech projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway, from feasibility studies through to and including, the clinical development of laboratory-validated technologies or interventions; providing the project has already demonstrated ‘proof of principle’.

To help understand which levels of development are eligible; in terms of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL’s), this competition will support projects from TRL 3-4 to TRL 8; with the expected outcome to be an advanced or clinically validated prototype medical device, technology or intervention.

More details on the scope and eligibility of this competition, and the types of activities that NIHR will fund can be found here.


Challenge Awards

The Challenge Awards have a theme applied to each call for applications – for Call 9, they are focused on Real World Implementation.

The funding is to allow consortiums to test their newly CE marked technology, or unregulated digital technology (with reasonable proof of safety and efficacy) in real-world healthcare settings; which covers TRL 9.

The technologies being tested must align with one of the priority areas defined by NHS England, focusing on a clinical need specific to the context where the technology will be tested. Applicants are encouraged to have already engaged the support of various networks such as MICs, CLAHRCs and AHSNs to provide expertise and understanding of the current needs in the landscape.

Further details and criteria for this competition can be found here.


Both competitions provide a great opportunity for SMEs to gain R&D grant funding, through a competition other than the Innovate UK – Biomedical Catalyst; which is becoming increasingly competitive, and potentially has an uncertain future in the funding landscape.

The competitions have no upper funding limit, however the only rule on the amount you can apply for, is that all costs must be fully justified.

In our opinion, the i4i programme is an opportunity not to be missed. NIHR funding is typically directed towards NHS and academic organisations, so, the chance for SMEs to apply for an unlimited amount of funding to develop their med-tech innovations is highly desirable!

Managing Director of TBAT, Matt Symonds says “I’d encourage any business with a technology that they think may be relevant to consider the i4i scheme; a great source of funding that has been around for a good number of years, which has supported some really cutting edge projects.”

If you want to know more about the i4i programme, how to apply and how TBAT can assist with your application, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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