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NIHR Joint Industry call with i4i, EME and HTA


15 February 2022


1.0 - February 2022


Applications with industry collaboration - The development and evaluation of predictive algorithms using Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The Invention for Innovation (i4i), Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programmes are holding a joint call for applications either led by or involving collaboration with industry. This call is for applications seeking to develop, refine, and evaluate predictive algorithms using artificial intelligence (AI) for health and social care.

Predictive algorithms using AI have the potential to enhance many aspects of health and social care by improving upon the accuracy, efficiency and sustainability of current methods. All health areas and types of technology are eligible under this call. The intervention should have credibility with UK health and social care professionals and ultimately have the potential to improve health-related outcomes. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing accuracy for the detection or prediction of disease (e.g. applying machine learning to image analysis)
  • Predicting individual risk using patient information, where this may directly inform clinical or self-management decisions.

Teams should comprise a collaboration between industry and academic and/or clinical partners with the necessary research expertise; it should be noted whether this is a pre-existing or newly formed collaboration. For guidance around forming collaborations in clinical research, please contact

There is no upper funding limit, however applicants must fully justify all costs and proposals should represent good value for money.

To support applications to this joint call:

  • A launch webinar will be held on 28 February 2022, 2pm. Please register your interest on Eventbrite.
  • An open Q&A session will be held virtually at the start of April.
  • Additional subject matter expertise will support funding committee decisions.

This will remain an area of interest and a strategic priority for the participating programmes after the close of this call. It is anticipated that the call will be re-launched at a later date, to support applications from teams which require additional time to form collaborations and develop their application. 

Please note, applications for a given study should only be submitted to one NIHR programme. Proposals previously submitted to i4i, EME and HTA funding calls including the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award which were unsuccessful must demonstrate substantial changes addressing any received feedback in order to be eligible.

Call Scope

The NIHR, which is funded by the Department of Health and Social care (DHSC), operates a number of research programmes and is the nation’s largest public funder of health and care research. The EME programme is jointly funded by the NIHR and the Medical Research Council (MRC). The participating programmes collectively support the translation of technologies, including the development of innovations with a clear pathway to adoption and evaluation of their efficacy and performance in real world health and care settings. The programme remits are described below.

To support rapid translation, the inclusion of components which may span more than one programme’s remit may also be considered for this call. Applications should be submitted to the most appropriate programme, based on the majority of the proposed work. Only one programme may be applied to and, where required, applications may be directly transferred to the most appropriate of the participating programmes.

Development applications should be submitted to the i4i programme. This includes:

  • Product development required to enable a technology for clinical use; work packages may comprise all aspects of prototyping, intellectual property protection, market analysis, business case development, health economic analyses, etc.
  • CE/UKCA marking and other regulatory requirements, including work toward QMS development and the Clinical Evaluation Report.
  • Clinical feasibility and utility studies, looking at the technology’s usability, tolerability, user acceptance, safety and effectiveness, including first-in-man and pivotal clinical studies.
  • Development projects may last between a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of 36 months.

Evaluation applications should be submitted to either the EME programme or the HTA programme, based on remit. This includes:

  • Studies aiming to address evidence gaps for fully-developed technologies requiring only limited adaptation or refinement, including those already in use within the NHS or care settings.
  • Studies of an appropriate scale to provide evidence on the accuracy and clinical efficacy of the technology, with a primary outcome which focuses on clinically relevant patient benefits.
  • Robust evaluation of the technology within (or compared to) existing clinical pathways, including potential benefits to patients, clinicians, services, and economical assessment. HTA effectiveness studies should be designed to provide sufficient evidence to influence clinical guidelines and practice.
  • Evaluation projects have no set minimum or maximum duration.

How to Apply to the Participating Programmes

The invention for innovation (i4i) programme is a dedicated MedTech translational funding scheme for academics, clinicians and small- medium-sized enterprises(SME), which will advance innovative medical technologies and interventions for increased patient benefit in areas of existing or emerging clinical need. Projects must have already demonstrated proof of concept as a minimum. Applicants are expected to have generated experimental data to support the case for further development and illustrate technical feasibility, have sufficient research and activities planned (e.g. regulatory or health economics), and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

Contact details for queries:

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: 

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:

Additional Information

  • Applications should demonstrate commitment to relevant standards: Where appropriate, these will include the AI Code of Conduct for data-driven health and care technology (for artificial intelligence systems used by the NHS), the NICE Evidence Standards Framework for digital health technologies, the NHS Digital Standards for commissioning or developing Personal Health Records
  • All applications are expected to demonstrate commitment to involving patients and members of the public in the design and planned management of the research.
  • NIHR is committed to supporting the ambitions of a NET Zero NHS. Applicants are expected to articulate how the proposed technologies would contribute to reducing and/or eliminating carbon emissions, and in addressing the objectives set in the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ NHS report.