NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Addiction Mission: Innovation for Treatment and Recovery Awards (AMI)

Closing Date: 12/07/2023

Funding call to support the treatment and recovery of people with opioid or cocaine addiction through research, development and testing of innovative digital, MedTech and pharmaceutical interventions.

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

The NIHR Invention 4 Innovation (i4i) Programme is a translational research funding scheme aimed at medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices and digtal health technologies addressing an existing or emerging health or social care need.

NIHR’s i4i Addiction Mission: Innovation for Treatment and Recovery Awards (AMI) aim to fund projects that create valuable, innovative tools to help treat people with opioid or cocaine addictions and aid in their recovery.

NIHR is working in collaboration with the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) to fund the call. The Addiction Healthcare Mission (the Addiction Mission), being led by OLS as part of the UK Government’s Life Sciences Vision (LSV), was announced in the From Harm to Hope Government drug strategy and is backed with £30.5 million of government funding.

Applications are invited for addiction healthcare-specific projects aimed at the research, development and testing in real world settings of innovative interventions that support treatment and recovery for people with opioid or cocaine addictions. The call aims to:

  • Increase the number of companies and innovators developing and testing products in the UK system and supporting the sector to grow and thrive through UK-based research and development.
  • Improve outcomes for people in treatment and recovery for opioid or cocaine substance misuse through accelerating development and availability of innovative digital health, MedTech and pharmaceutical interventions.

Innovations must focus on opioid or cocaine addiction. Innovations that are also applicable to other substances are in scope only if they:

  • Primarily target opioid or cocaine addiction, and the focus of the proposed research project is to help treat people with opioid or cocaine addictions and aid in their recovery.
  • Support treatment or recovery for people with a pattern of polydrug use centred on opioid or cocaine addiction.

The following list includes illustrative examples of interventions from which applications would be welcomed, but this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Digital technology supporting interactive programmes to promote behaviour change and or maintenance for use by service users. For example: treatment adjuncts; structured, digitally delivered treatment; relapse prevention/sustained recovery interventions; comprehensive assessment systems; and digital technologies supported by Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), virtual reality and augmented reality, gamification, data analytics, or smartphone apps etc.
  • MedTech devices and solutions providing innovative or improved treatment delivery mechanisms for existing medicines.
  • Innovative combinations of interventions or products.
  • Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of drug addiction or to support in recovery.

The types of proposals in scope for funding through this call are:

  • Product development required to enable a technology for clinical use; work packages may comprise aspects of prototyping and manufacturing, engineering and performance testing.
  • Feasibility studies and/or studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of an innovation, including first-in-human and pivotal clinical studies.
  • Activities associated with the design and delivery of evaluations of innovative technologies in real world settings.
  • Clinical utility studies: usability, tolerability and user acceptance of interventions.
  • Research and development of techniques and/or technologies from a different industry sector which could have a potential impact if applied in substance misuse treatment and recovery.
  • Studies exploring the repurposing of existing medicines and/or interventions that could help treat substance misuse or support recovery.
  • Studies exploring innovative combinations of interventions.

Proposals are welcome for innovations at the majority of development stages. Although a demonstrated proof of concept is not required, the most competitive proposals are expected to show data and evidence to support the case for further development. Digital and MedTech/non-pharmaceutical innovations must be beyond concept stage and ideally have a prototype ready to test outside the laboratory. Pharmaceutical innovations evaluated by clinical trials are eligible from Phase One (first-in-human), with the exception of Phase Three trials.

Funding body National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)
Maximum value Discretionary
Reference ID S25282
Category Science and Technology
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical Research
Fund or call Fund