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Invention for Innovation

The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme supports the preclinical and clinical development of medical technologies in areas of existing or emerging patient need.

The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme is a translational research funding scheme aimed at de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use

We fund projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

i4i has three funding streams: Product Development Awards (PDA), Challenge Awards and Connect. PDA and Challenge run two funding competitions a year, launching in autumn and spring, whereas Connect runs one funding competition each year. See the full dates for i4i funding competitions. All i4i funding streams have a two-stage application process. Identical applications are not permissable to be submitted to multiple open competitions.

Funding streamAutumn/Winter competition launchSpring/Summer competition launch
Product Development Awards  October  April
Connect  n/a March / April
Challenge Awards November  April

If you have a specific query regarding the eligibility of your planned study, please submit a pre-engagement form. Please note, the turnaround time for a response is 72 hours. 

Joint call on predictive algorithms in Artificial Intelligence

The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme, alongside Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programmes, invite applications led by, or in collaboration with, industry seeking to develop, refine and evaluate predictive algorithms using artificial intelligence (AI) for health and social care. If you would like to apply for this call and your proposal is in remit for i4i PDA, please apply through PDA 24 once the call launches. More information, including the research specification can be found on the funding opportunities page.

FAST funding scheme

The new i4i FAST (Funding At the Speed of Translation) funding scheme ran a pilot scheme in 2022. FAST supports applications of between £15k and £50k that will answer a specific question, fund a single piece of activity or fill a specific evidence gap across all technology readiness levels. Please read the applicant guidance for further detail. The pilot is now closed for evaluation.

Special calls

In November 2021, i4i launched a standalone stream -  Dementia: Digital approaches for early detection, diagnosis and stratification. Stage 2 is now closed, with outcomes in August 2022. You can find more details in the research specification.   

NIHR 2022 Themed call on Sustainability

The i4i programme is participating in the NIHR-wide themed call on Sustainability, focusing on supporting the UK's ambition to deliver a 'net zero' NHS and meet the goals of the COP26 summit. More information can be found on the Themed call webpage.


Product Development Awards

i4i Product Development Awards (PDA) support translational research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use. The research proposals may address any disease or health area, provided there is a clear unmet clinical need. There is no upper funding limit for Product Development Awards, but costs must be fully justified.

Key eligibility criteria

  • Projects can be led by small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME), NHS providers or higher education institutions (HEIs).
  • Projects must be collaborative between any two of the eligible types of organisation.
  • Projects can last a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of 36 months.
  • The lead organisation must be registered in England.

 What next?

  • Read more about the PDA scope and requirements in our supporting information.
  • Review the guidance for Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications and the frequently asked questions.
  • Preview the application form for Stage 1 and Stage 2. (Please note that these are standard NIHR application forms. Small variations exist for the i4i programme in the live online application form; therefore, it is strongly advised that you read the relevant Guidance for Applicants to check for programme-specific requirements.)
  • Create an account on the Research Management System (RMS).
  • Complete and submit your application on the RMS. Please note that the RMS is the only mode of submission.

PDA dates

Competition 25Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar TBC TBC
Competition launch 20 October 2022 16 February 2023
Submission deadline 7 December 2022 12 April 2023
Submission outcome 16 February 2023 July 2023


Competition 24Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar 28 February 2022 (2-3.30pm) -
Competition launch 23 March 2022 August 2022
Submission deadline 10 May 2022  28 September 2022 (1pm)
Submission outcome August 2022 December 2022


i4i PDA success rates


Challenge Awards

i4i Challenge Awards support market-ready innovations by addressing the translational gap between the clinical evaluation of technologies and their adoption, by funding the assessment of MedTech innovations in real-world healthcare settings. The expected output is a disruptive medical device or in vitro diagnostic test that can offer improved outcomes for NHS patients. There is no upper funding limit for the Challenge Awards, but costs must be fully justified.  

Key eligibility criteria

  • Projects can be led by SMEs, NHS providers or higher education institutions (HEIs). 
  • A minimum of two organisations must be involved and at least one of the collaborators must be from an NHS provider (e.g. an NHS Trust).
  • Technologies must have demonstrated safety and efficacy and must have obtained or be in the process of obtaining CE marking. 
  • Project timelines can vary based on the required evidence for potential healthcare uptake and patient benefit. They can last up to 3 years, but a duration of up to 5 years will be considered if a longer period is needed to demonstrate long-term outcomes and a strong case is made.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.

What next?

Challenge dates  

Competition 14Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar TBC -
Competition launch 21 April 2022 5 August 2022
Submission deadline 1 June 2022 (1pm) 22 September 2022 (1pm)
Submission outcome 5 August 2022 December 2022


i4i Challenge success rates



i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and Tier C digital health technologies with direct patient benefits, looking to ultimately integrate into the NHS. 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. 

What next?


The next Connect competition will be competition 7. 

Connect 7Stage 1Stage 2
Webinar TBC TBC
Competition launch 6 December 2022 7 February 2023
Submission deadline 18 January 2023 28 February 2023
Submission outcome 7 February 2023 April 2023

i4i Connect success rates

Our people

i4i funding committees are multidisciplinary, comprising academic, clinical and commercial experts, as well as patient and public members.

We have four committees: two for our Product Development Awards (committee A and committee B), one for our Challenge Awards, and one for Connect.

Committee members review all Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from expert peer reviewers.

The committees recommend projects for funding to the Department of Health and Social Care, which approves which projects should be funded.

Members of NIHR committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes. All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

NIHR registry of interests

Our programme director

Mike Lewis is joint Programme Director of NIHR Invention for Innovation and SBRI Healthcare programmes.

Our selection committees

The Product Development Awards Selection Committee A is chaired by Ms Emma Palmer Foster. View the full membership of Selection Committee A.

The Product Development Awards Selection Committee B is chaired by Mr Charles Spicer. View the full membership of Selection Committee B.

The Selection Committee for the Challenge Awards is chaired by Professor Nick LemoineView the full membership of the Challenge Awards Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee for i4i Connect is chaired by Professor Paul Sibbons. View the full membership of the Connect Selection Committee.

 Meeting minutes

Contact us

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.

Tel: 020 8843 8080

Our operating hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm

Programme team

Director of Innovation Programmes and Head of Intellectual Property
Mr Ben Patient

Assistant Director
Dr Ruth Nebauer

Head of Special Projects
Dr Ian Newington

Innovation and Enterprises
Dr Raffaella Roncone

Senior Programme Managers 
Dr Andrew Barber
Ms Ami Hodges
Dr Caterina Lombardo
Mrs Paula Milton
Dr Michelle Edye
Mr Edwin Tucker 
Ms Rhanda Tajdeen
Dr Xi Ye
Dr Silvana Cossins

Programme Managers
Dr Rebecca Stevens
Dr Francesca Troiani
Mr Alex Zabala-Findlay
Dr Antonio Ruiz
Ms Kasia Zmarzly

Operations team

Operations Manager
Ms Lisa Kelly

Senior Research Officers
Mr Bryan Dar

Research Officers
Mrs Tanya Dixey
Ms  Grace O'Toole
Ms Harkerat Jandu
Ms Elena Sundle
Mr Nick Dunmore

Ms Frances O'Farrell

Contact us

Grange House
15 Church Street
Twickenham TW1 3NL

Latest news about Invention for Innovation

Latest funding opportunities for Invention for Innovation

All i4i funding opportunities

Latest documents for Invention for Innovation

NIHR research contract - NHS Trust example

This document provides an example of a standard NIHR research contract between the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and an NHS Trust.

NIHR standard contract - Commercial organisations example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a commercial organisation, such as a life sciences company.

NIHR research contract - Higher education institution example

This document provides an example of a standard research contract between Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and a higher education institution (HEI).

Invention for Innovation - Connect Call 6 Stage 1 Minutes

Minutes of the competition 6 Connect Stage 1 Sub-Committee Meeting held on 12 May 2022 via Zoom Virtual Meeting

Invention for Innovation - Connect Business Plan Guidance for Applicants

This guidance outlines the application process for applying to call 6 of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Connect funding stream, including how to prepare and submit a business plan and video presentation.

All i4i documents