NIHR i4i: FAST (Funding At the Speed of Translation) Awards Pilot Scheme

Closing Date: –

Small grants for developing or de-risking health innovations and technologies where there is evidence of existing or emerging clinical need.

Established in 2006 and primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds health and care research in the UK.

The NIHR Invention 4 Innovation (i4i) Programme supports research and development of digital health technologies, medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices to a point where they are de-risked for follow-on investment.

NIHR’s i4i FAST (Funding At the Speed of Translation) Awards Pilot Scheme is aimed at innovators in need of a small amount of funding to answer a specific question or to fund a single piece of activity. The grants are designed to address an evidence need/gap across many technology readiness levels. Research themes can be in any area of existing or emerging clinical need.

Examples of questions that can be addressed through FAST are the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Develop a code, algorithm or programme, hiring relevant staff where needed.
  • Conduct user acceptance testing on a proof of concept diagnostic device.
  • Seek patient feedback on whether an innovative approach would be acceptable.
  • Develop a regulatory plan to seek approval for a technology in a health area.
  • Understand the routes for reimbursement and procurement of a health technology in a bespoke setting.
  • Conduct market research and develop a pricing strategy, and determine whether a proposed innovation could be cost-effective.
  • Validate a sterilisation method or protocol.

Successfully answering a single question could prove pivotal. This may include consolidating the innovation’s foundation, and developing or de-risking it to an extent to justify further research and investment by public and/or private funders.

The scheme will fund:

  • Research and development of medical devices and in vitro diagnostics as defined by the EU Medical Device Directive MDD.
  • Digital health technologies that fall under Tier C of the NICE Evidence Framework for Digital Health Technologies and that are focused on patient outcomes and intended for ultimate NHS use.
  • Generation of evidence across all areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs at any stage of the translational research pathway, to support project progression and/or evidence generation in support of an application to other funding streams. Fundable activities may include:
    • Product design and development, user requirement assessment.
    • Intellectual property strategy, including freedom to operate analysis, development of a commercialisation strategy and market analysis, business case development.
    • Health economic model development or analyses.
    • CE/UKCA marking, where applicable, and other regulatory requirements.
    • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology and any training associated with the implementation of new technology.

FAST Awards are designed to have a rapid turnaround, and decisions to fund will be made within six to eight weeks. The i4i FAST scheme is a pilot programme and can close at any time subject to budget and evaluation requirements.

Funding body National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Maximum value £50,000
Reference ID S23626
Category Engineering and Physical Sciences
Science and Technology
Medical Research
Fund or call Fund