NIHR Funding Calls

Medical device companies may apply for funding either as a lead organisation or as co-applicants with NHS or academic partners.

Please get in touch with MedConnect North if you would like to apply for any of these funding opportunities. We can put you in touch with the appropriate teams to assist you with your application.

i4i Programme

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme invites proposals to Call 28 of its researcher-led Product Development Awards (PDA).

i4i Product Development Awards

The i4i Product Development Awards (PDA) supports collaborative research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for use in the NHS or social care systems. PDA are researcher-led and aim to de-risk innovations, supporting early product development and real-world evaluation, to make them more attractive for follow-on funding and further commercial investment. The expected focus of a PDA project is to:

  • carry out product development required to enable technologies for clinical use or use in social care,
  • carry out the clinical development of a laboratory-validated technology, and/or
  • accelerate the development and uptake of innovative products, which already have demonstrated safety and efficacy.

The aim is to accelerate benefits to patients and end users, de-risk the technologies and make them attractive to follow-on funders, investors and buyers, in particular NHS commissioners and national guidance bodies. Projects must have demonstrated proof-of-concept as a minimum, which is generally described as TRL3.

Essential requirements for Product Development Awards

  • Any R&D activities must be within the scope of our funding programme (more information can be found on the i4i webpage).
  • A minimum of two organisations must be involved
  • Lead applicants must be based in the UK
  • Work packages must not include animal studies
  • Projects must have progressed beyond basic research and have demonstrated proof-of-concept

The call opens on 10 April 2024 and the deadline for this call is on 29 May 2024 (13:00 BST).

Please complete and submit your application on the Research Management System (RMS). Please note that the RMS is the only mode of submission.

A webinar discussing funding opportunities for emerging MedTech projects from NIHR i4i occurred on March 27th at 10:00 am. The recording will be made available upon request by contacting the i4i team at

i4i Connect

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for use in the NHS or social care system. The funding stream aims to help SMEs reach the next stage in the development pathway to apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

  • Entry point: The minimum entry point is experimental proof-of-concept or laboratory-validated technology, however, proposals may be submitted for progressing innovations at any stage of the research and development pathway leading to implementation
  • Exit point: Reaching the next stage in the development pathway
  • How much: £50,000 – £150,000
  • How long: 6-12 month period

Find out more about applying for Connect funding. Read more about the Connect scope, requirements and funded activities in the Connect Expression of Interest supporting information for applicants, and Connect FAQs.

The i4i programme operates a two-stage application process. To help prepare your application, please see the Connect Expression of Interest guidance for applicants (stage 1) and the Connect Business Plan guidance for applicants (stage 2).

Research proposals are submitted online through the Research Management System (RMS).

EME programme

The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) programme primarily funds clinical trials and other robustly designed studies that test the efficacy of interventions. It covers both new and repurposed interventions, including diagnostic tests and decision-making tools, therapeutics, psychological treatments, medical devices, and public health initiatives delivered by the NHS. EME also supports hypothesis-driven research within clinical trials into the mechanism of action of interventions. Applications are required to demonstrate some initial evidence that the technology may be efficacious in patients (i.e. a signal of efficacy in a relevant human population has already been achieved) but a large-scale study is needed to determine definitive proof of clinical efficacy. Contact details for queries:

HTA programme

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme supports research that is immediately useful to patients, clinical practice, and policy or decision makers. It supports research into a wide range of technologies with the potential to improve health outcomes, including procedures, drugs, devices, diagnostic tests, settings of care and screening programmes. Studies funded by HTA aim to establish the clinical effectiveness or accuracy and cost-effectiveness of technologies in comparison with the current alternative(s) or within existing pathways. Applications to HTA are required to demonstrate that efficacy has already been established. Contact details for queries:

Research for Patient Benefit: Competition 52

The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme funds health, public health and social care research covering a wide range of health service challenges in England.
The aim of the programme is to fund topics and research methodologies that increase the effectiveness of NHS services, provide value for money and benefit patients.
The programme supports research that is concerned with the day-to-day practice of health service and social care staff. Research proposals should have a clear trajectory towards benefiting the health or wellbeing of patients and users of the NHS and social care services.

Innovate UK

New Innovators in Communication Networks 2024

Grant total fund: £50,000. Closing date 12th June 2024.

UK-registered micro and small businesses can apply for a share of up to £500,000 to develop adoptable and investable innovations within communication networks. This funding is from the Telecoms Technology Missions Fund programme. This competition is open to single applicants only.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK-registered micro or small business
  • not have previously been awarded funding from Innovate UK
  • intend to exploit the project outcomes from the UK for domestic or global benefit

See the full opportunity details of the Innovation Funding Service here.

Other medical device research funding opportunities

British Heart Foundation Translational Awards

Translational Awards aim to progress the development of novel, innovative technologies towards benefits to human cardiovascular health. The scheme supports the development of technologies with transformative potential from the proof-of-concept stage to being ready for the commercial market.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate a strong intellectual property position and a development proposition that could attract follow-on investment.

The MHRA Innovation Office provides a free, informal service that can help with your regulatory queries. Find out more about the British Heart Foundation Translational Awards. Please ensure you have read the information on this page before you start an application on the BHF Grant Management System.

Development pathway funding scheme: Medical Research Council

Apply for funding to develop and test novel therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and other interventions.

You must be invited to apply for stage two of this funding opportunity.

Your project can start and finish at any stage on the developmental pathway from early development, through pre-clinical refinement and testing to early-phase clinical studies and trials (up to phase 2a).

There is no limit on the amount of funding you can apply for, but it should be appropriate to the project. We usually fund 80% of a project’s full economic cost.

This is an ongoing funding opportunity. Application rounds close every March, July and November. Find out more about the development pathway funding scheme.

NHS Cancer Programme: Innovation Open Call 3

NHS England has launched a new round of its funding competition for innovation in the early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

Based on the Rapid Cancer Registration Dataset, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at an early stage has started to improve for the first time in a decade. However, there is recognition that this improvement needs to accelerate.

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) set ambitions for cancer; that by 2028, 75% of people will be diagnosed earlier, at stage one or two, and an extra 55,000 people will survive cancer for five years or more.

Applications are invited for innovations or new approaches that will detect cancers earlier and increase the proportion diagnosed at stage one or two. The competition aims to fast-track high quality, proven, late-stage innovations into front-line settings, as well as address implementation evidence gaps. The competition is open to all types of innovation, including but not limited to, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, digital health solutions, behavioural interventions, software, artificial intelligence, and new models of care.

Find out more about the NHS Cancer Programme: Innovation Open Call.

Wellcome Grant Funding

Wellcome funds discovery research in and across physical, social, data and life sciences, the humanities and clinical research. Each scheme is designed to target a different career stage, but all are open to the best ideas across a huge remit. Find out more about the Wellcome Grant Funding.

Imperial College London Super Connector

MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC) supports Early Career Researchers with high-potential medical technologies to achieve their innovation aspirations and create impactful healthcare solutions.

Our approach is informed by five years of iterated process development through experimenting with early-stage innovation acceleration practices – allowing us to refine our approach and develop a comprehensive programme that addresses the challenges faced by startups in the medical technology sector.

Our programme provides startups with world-class entrepreneurship training, supported by digital learning developed with the Imperial College London Business School, in addition to access to funding, advisors, and industry experts.