Funding Resources is part of a series of resources and fact sheets designed for innovators by the Eastern AHSN Innovation and Industry team. Each fact sheet forms a comprehensive but not exhaustive source of information outlining the intricacies of the innovation pathway and are designed to help you to navigate your way to a successful outcome.

You can download fact sheets which comprise the five key components of the Innovation Pathway, including Intellectual Property, Product Development, Market Assessment, Commercialisation Models and Regulatory Considerations here.

Funding and finance resources available refer to the relevant stage of innovation.

  • Early stage innovation can be defined as an innovation at the idea or concept stage with minimal proof of concept (marked as ES)
  • Mid stage innovation can be defined as an innovation that has demonstrated proof of concept and is undergoing development and clinical validation/evaluation prior to market (marked as MS)
  • Late stage innovation can be defined as an innovation that has a product developed, potentially regulatory approved, and is ready for market adoption/diffusion (marked as LS)

MRC improves human health through world-class medical research. Funds research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas (website link).

Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) ES 

  • Scheme supports (academically led) projects looking to translate research whose goals are to improve prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of significant health needs. Programme run in conjunction with Innovate UK (also scope for applications from SMEs). £10million of funding available.
  • Applications accepted every 4 months.
  • Funding range: Flexible (Feasibility Studies Award – up to £200k and Early Stage Award – £200k – £1.5million).
  • Award length: Flexible (Feasibility Studies Award – 3-12 months. Early Stage Award – up to 2 years).
  • MRC Contact: Dr Steve Oakeshott ( Diagnostics, radiotherapy, medical devices.
  • Innovate UK Contact: or

Wellcome is an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. Offer 57 funding schemes in total, with an innovation funding stream providing support to bridge the gap between fundamental research and commercial application (for scheme finder visit website). 

Pathfinder ES

  • In partnership with Department of Health. Fund pilot projects that address an unmet medical need or offer a new solution to a problem.
  • Applications accepted twice a year.
  • Funding range: £100k – £350k
  • Award length: up to 18 months
  • Contact:

The Translation Fund ES MS

  • Scheme for individuals and partnerships to develop new biomedical technologies supporting projects from the proof-of-concept stage to being ready for the commercial market.
  • Funding range: £500k – £5million
  • Award length: No defined length to award
  • Contact:

The Innovation arm of NHS England supports innovation to enable the commissioning system to deliver better outcomes for patients and improve productivity (visit website). 

NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes ES

  • Themed calls, sponsored by NHS England with corporate partner. Focus is on adoption and diffusion of a proven innovation. Total prize money for 2014/15 was £650k. Early stage innovations.
  • Funding range: £50k – £100k (based on previous awards).
  • Award length: typically 12 months
  • Contact:

Regional Innovation Funding (RIF)  MS LS 

  • An annual awards scheme which provides resources to support and promote the adoption and diffusion of innovation across the NHS.
  • Funding range: £50k – £250k (£50k for individual projects, up to £250k in partnership).
  • Award length: Not defined
  • Contact:

NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) LS

  • Fellowship programme for those with developed technologies that need support in the adoption and systematic uptake through the NHS. Late stage innovations.
  • Funding range: £30k bursary. Not direct funding per se but access to further funding through programme.
  • Award length: 1-year programme
  • Contact:

The NIHR offers around 20 different schemes across the NHS research landscape (many of which are relevant to the development/adoption/diffusion of new innovations). The NIHR funds research to generate innovative new healthcare solutions, as well as supporting infrastructure by providing facilities and people to conduct first-class research in the NHS and the systems for managing ethical research and its outputs (view research programmes on the website). 

i4i Product Development Awards ES MS

  • Programme supports research and development of medical devices, active implantable devices and in vitro diagnostic devices in any area of existing or emerging clinical need. Early- and mid- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: no upper or lower limit set (typically up to £1million)
  • Award length: up to three years
  • Contact:

i4i Challenge Award MS LS 

  • Themed calls in areas of existing or emerging healthcare need. These late stage awards must comprise the clinical development of laboratory-validated technologies or interventions, requiring minimal preclinical development. Mid- to late- stage innovation.
  • Competition runs twice yearly.
  • Funding range: no upper or lower limit set
  • Award length: up to five years
  • Contact:

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) LS

  • Funds and delivers research information about the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments (including drugs, devices, procedures, settings of care and screening) and tests for those who plan, provide and receive care in the NHS. Researcher-led and commissioned calls.
  • Funds late stage research (typically clinical trials) that is immediately useful to patients, clinical practice, and policy or decision makers.
  • Calls are normally advertised three times per year.
  • Funding range: no upper or lower limit set
  • Award length: not determined
  • Contact: +44 (0)23 8059 5586.

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) MS LS

  • Bridges the gap between preclinical studies and evidence of clinical efficacy. The aim is to secure the progress of new technologies and interventions through their early clinical trials and onto larger, later clinical trials. The programme supports translational research evaluating a wide range of novel or re-purposed interventions. The interventions may include diagnostic or prognostic tests and decision-making tools, drugs or biological compounds, psychological treatments, medical devices, and public health initiatives delivered within the NHS. Researcher-led and commissioned calls.
  • Calls are three times per year (March, July, November)
  • Funding range: no upper or lower limitAward length: not determined
  • Contact: +44 (0)23 8059 4303.

Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) ES

  • Funds a broad range of research to produce rigorous and relevant evidence on the quality, access and organisation of health services, including costs and outcomes, to improve health services. Researcher-led and commissioned calls. Funding for service focused innovations with a research focus.
  • There are three competition calls per year.
  • Funding range: no upper or lower limit
  • Award length: not determined
  • Contact:  +44 (0)23 8059 4304.

Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) ES

  • Funds regionally derived applied research projects in health services and social care. The main purpose for the programme is to realise, through evidence, the huge potential for improving, expanding and strengthening the way that healthcare is delivered for patients, the public and the NHS.
  • There are three competition calls per year.
  • Funding range: up to £350k
  • Award length: projects to last up to 36 months
  • Contact:

Programme Development Grants (following on to Programme Grants for Applied Research) ES

  • Funds applied health research with the potential to make significant improvements in healthcare in the NHS (which are flexible on funding amount and duration but typically in excess of £1million). Programme Development Grants improve the chances of success for suitably qualified research teams and their academic partners in preparing a high-quality Programme Grant proposal. Early stage innovation.
  • There are three competition calls per year.
  • Funding range: £20k – £100k
  • Award length: 6-18 months
  • Contact:  +44 (0)23 8059 9697.

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. Fund new companies & SMEs. Therefore, looking for opportunities that have already been spun out of the NHS into limited companies or are in the process of doing so to access Innovate UK funding (visit website).

Biomedical Catalyst (see MRC funding section 1, above)

Health & Life Science Competition ES MS LS 

  • £15million to invest in innovation projects addressing technical or commercial challenges relevant to the health and life sciences sector that will lead to increased UK SME competitiveness, growth and productivity. A project may focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development depending on the challenge identified.
  • Competition runs twice yearly.
  • Funding range: £50k – £2million.
  • Award length: 6-36 months.
  • Contact:

Open Competition ES MS LS

  • A £15million fund to invest in innovative R&D projects. These projects are designed to help businesses develop new products, processes and services with commercial potential across any sector. Early, Mid- & Late- stage innovation.
  • Competition runs twice yearly.
  • Funding range: £25k – £1million.
  • Award length: 6-36 months.
  • Contact:

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England initiative, championed by the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) which aims to support the development of technologies that meet unmet clinical needs within the NHS (view website). 

SBRI Healthcare Competition ES MS

  • Themed competition funded by NHS England, and delivered by The AHSN Network, offering business contracts to SMEs (primarily) aimed at addressing unmet clinical needs within the NHS. Split into two funding tranches (Phase I and Phase II). Phase I to demonstrate feasibility and Phase II for product development and clinical evaluation.
  • Competition runs twice yearly.
  • Funding range: Phase I (feasibility) up to £100k and Phase II (development to market) up to £1million.
  • Award length: Phase I up to 6 months, Phase II up to 12 months.
  • Contact:

NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts that is an innovation charity to support people and organisations. It is the largest single endowment devoted exclusively to supporting talent, innovation and creativity in the UK. Does not have a sector focus but use resources – money, people, convening power – to promote new ideas that serve the common good. Its mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. NESTA invest in early stage companies, informs innovation policy and encourages a culture that helps innovation to flourish (view website).

Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) Grants MS

  • Funds randomised controlled trials that provide evidence on the best approaches to increase innovation, support high-growth entrepreneurship and accelerate business growth.
  • Funding range: $10k – $100k.

Longitude Prize MS 

  • Themed competition specific to antimicrobial resistance. A £10 million prize fund to reward a diagnostic test that helps to solve the problem of antimicrobial resistance (£8 million to the winner and £2 million to support other promising entries).
  • Application deadlines every 4 months, up until 31st December 2019.
  • Must have prototype that is ready for clinical trials.

Inclusive Technology Prize ES

  • Challenge prize for innovation in products, technologies and systems that enable disabled people equal access to life’s opportunities. Early- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: £15k – £50k
  • Award length: not defined
  • Contact:

NESTA Impact Investments MS LS

  • A £17.6m Impact Investment Fund investing in life-changing innovations that help tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children and communities in the UK. Mid- to late- stage innovation.
  • Seeking high impact, scalable innovations with the potential to make a return on investment. Contact team for further information over eligibility.
  • Contact: 020 7438 2500

The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult that specialises in manufacturing technologies and processes that are particularly important to the high value manufacturing sector (view website).

Horizontal Innovation Programme ES 

  • Joint programme with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Aimed at SMEs to gain access to the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)’s flexible factory capabilities and use some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, as well as receiving support in business planning, product design, IP protection and engineering expertise. Looking for technology solutions that solve an NHS challenge.
  • Funding range: up to £35k
  • Award length: 6 months
  • Contact:

Creative England is a not-for-profit organisation that mobilises public and private resources to garner as much support and investment for the creative industries (view website). 

Interactive Healthcare Fund LS 

  • Looking for applications from SMEs who are in an advanced stage of developing and commercialising digital products for the healthcare sector. Collaboration between Creative England and Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, Greater Manchester AHSN, West Midlands AHSN, the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, South West AHSN, West of England AHSN and SETsquared. Late stage innovation.
  • Funding range: £50k – £200k (50% matched funding to be provided by company).
  • Award length: not defined.
  • Contact:

Nominet Trust was established as a charitable foundation in 2008 by Nominet. Nominet is an international internet company delivering public benefit and to date, Nominet has donated £39 million to Nominet Trust. It is the UK’s leading social tech funder (view website).

Social Tech Seed MS

  • Provides funding and support that enables entrepreneurial organisations with a basic, but functional, digital prototype to develop it into a more robust product or service and demonstrate its value to intended users and other stakeholders. Mid- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: £15k – £50k
  • Award length: 9-12 months
  • Contact:

The European Commission (EC) invests in research, education, new product development and technology validation. Part of its mission is to provide funding to promote innovation and back it in delivering high quality and cost-effective public services, in creating jobs and in strengthening the European economy. The quantity and depth of EC funding is enormous and its scale is matched by the number of different agencies and bodies involved, which is both confusing and ever-changing (view website for grants and EU funding).

Horizon 2020 ES MS LS

  • Horizon 2020 is the EU’s programme for funding innovation in products, technologies and processes. It will run from 2014 to 2020 (with €80billion of funding across this period). The relevant programme of Horizon 2020 for NHS innovation is likely to be via the “Health, demographic change and wellbeing programme”. Early-, mid- and late- stage innovation.
  • Relevant schemes to be aware of:
    • Research and innovation action
    • SME Instrument
    • Fast track to innovation
    • Eurostars
    • Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
    • Active and Assisted Living (AAL)
  • Multiple active calls. For further information on current open calls
  • Funding range: variable
  • Award length: variable
  • Contact: Enterprise Europe Network for the East of England can offer free advice and support about applying for European funding: 0300 123 3066.

EIT Health Headstart Proof of Concept Awards ES MS

  • Provides ‘one-off’ funding of up to €50 000 for emerging companies and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop new products and services for areas of interest to EIT Health and its members. The purpose of the funding is to accelerate market entry and create new economic activity. Based in Munich, Germany. Early- to Mid- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: up to €50k
  • Contact: via website (

Health Horizon Prize

  • Themed competition (across healthcare and other sectors).
  • Prize money is variable but recent awards have been €1-2 million.

Funding available that is specific or targeted at individuals, SMEs, companies in the East of England.

Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF)  MS

  • Equity finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East of England that are contributing to the low carbon economy. Mid- stage innovation.
  • Open call (so no deadlines)
  • Funding range: smaller investments (between £25k and £75k) and larger investments (between £75k and £750k) available
  • Award length: not defined
  • Contact: Saffron Myhill-Hunt (

Medtech Accelerator ES 

  • A proof of concept awards scheme for the early stage development of innovations originated from within the NHS with the potential to go on establish new companies in the Eastern region. Focus for medical technologies (devices, diagnostics, software, eHealth). Supported by Eastern AHSN and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP/New Anglia Capital Group. Early stage innovations.
  • Open competition call (applications welcome at any time). Applications to be reviewed quarterly.
  • Funding range: £15k – £125k
  • Funding length: maximum of 12 months
  • Contact:

Health Enterprise East Innovation Awards ES

  • Competition call to recognise and reward the very best ideas in health and care innovation within the NHS from across the East of England region, funded by Health Enterprise East for its NHS member Trusts. Early stage innovations.
  • Competition call run annually.
  • Funding range: typically up to £2,500
  • Funding length: flexible
  • Contact:

Funding available that is specific or targeted at individuals, SMEs, companies in other areas of the UK.

Greater Manchester AHSN Ignite Fund ES 

  • Designed to support early stage development of innovative solutions to identify unmet need within the Greater Manchester AHSN area. Early- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: up to £30,000
  • Funding length: 6-12 month projects
  • Contact: email at or by phone on: 0161 276 2697 or 0161 701 2509.

Greater Manchester AHSN Energise Fund ES MS

  • Designed to support proof of concept or prototyping projects for a defined application. Early- to mid- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: TBC
  • Funding length: TBC
  • Contact: email at or by phone on: 0161 276 2697 or 0161 701 2509.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity Fund Health Innovation Fund ES 

  • Funding supports and brings to life ideas for radical innovation that improve health and healthcare in Lambeth and Southwark. Early- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: Funding to most projects is below £250,000, with around a dozen funded up to £2,000,000 and a handful greater than that in any given year.
  • Funding length: 6 months to 3 years.
  • Contact:

Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. Has programmes to put ideas into practice in the NHS (view website). 

Evidence into Practice LS

  • Funds the development of tools and resources, based on completed research studies, to support the implementation of findings in practice. Successful proposals will be those that appear most creative, innovative and likely to have impact. Late- stage innovation.
  • Funding range: £50,000 – £1,000,000
  • Funding length: various
  • Contact:

Non-for-profit providing access to  virtual space to inspire and enable nurses to lead innovation and change in nursing and healthcare (view website).

Patients First

  • Supporting nurse-led innovation in practice.
  • Funding range: £5,000 bursary with additional support/benefits.
  • Funding length: Annual program lasting over 18 months.
  • Contact: Debbie Warren (

UK charity that helps people and organisations in business, education, public services and government understand design and use it effectively as part of their strategy (view website).

Spark Product Innovation Fund ES

  • Innovation fund and support programme designed to fast-track products to market. With support from expert mentors and a possible share of up to £165k available, Spark is looking for brilliant ideas at prototype stage. No design or invention experience is necessary. Latest competition call partnered with Arthritis Research UK.
  • Yearly programme.
  • Funding Range: up to £165k
  • Funding Length: 20-week programme
  • Contact:

The AMRC has member charities, who spend over £1.4bn a year on research in the UK. Several of these charities support innovation development through competitions and schemes relevant to their medical area. Some examples are shown below (view website).

British Heart Foundation Translational Awards ES 

  • Support the pre-clinical development of new cardiovascular medicines and technologies so that they are attractive for follow-on funding. The development can be for therapeutics (novel/repurposed), devices, imaging technologies, diagnostics, computer models and algorithms.
  • Call is twice yearly.
  • Funding Range: up to £250k.
  • Funding length: Flexible (dependent on route to market).
  • Contact:

Asthma UK Innovation Grants ES 

  • Small grants to explore original ideas in novel research fields, aimed at principal investigators based at UK research institutes. Early- stage innovation.
  • Annual call.
  • Funding Range: up to £50k
  • Funding length: Up to 18 months
  • Contact:

Arthritis Research UK Medical technology proof of concept award ES

  • Last themed funding call was intended to develop or evaluate innovative technologies that help support individuals suffering with musculoskeletal conditions; in particular projects that develop the following: medical devices, orthotics, implantable therapeutic delivery, imaging. Early- stage innovation.
  • Funding Range: up to £100k
  • Funding Length: up to 2 years
  • Contact: Sarah Odoi (

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Pioneer Award ES 

  • Themed call in cancer to encourage innovative ideas from any discipline that could be ground-breaking in tackling cancer. The Award backs higher risk, truly novel ideas that have the potential for high reward in understanding, preventing, diagnosing or treating cancer. Early- stage innovation.
  • Yearly programme
  • Funding Range: up to £200k
  • Funding Length: up to 2 years
  • Contact:

An alternative means for raising finance to fund innovation projects and growing in popularity. Shown below are a section of the most successful and established crowdfunding platforms that have a focus for healthcare and technology enterprises. ES MS LS

Crowdcube ES MS LS

  • Entrepreneur-led rewards- or equity-based UK crowdfunding platform. Minimal restrictions on amount to be raised.
  • No upper of lower limit of funding amount.
  • Contact:

Syndicate Room ES MS LS 

  • Investor-led equity UK crowdfunding platform with a technology focus (particularly towards the life sciences) – based in Cambridge. Requires lead investor to contribute 25% of a company’s funding prior to listing on the site. Minimum equity funding round of £150,000.
  • Contact:

Seedrs ES MS LS

  • Entrepreneur-led equity-based UK crowdfunding platform.
  • Minimal restrictions on amount to be raised.
  • Contact:

Kickstarter ES MS LS

US-based crowdfunding platform that has been used by others to fundraise for medical technologies.

Indiegogo ES MS LS

US-based crowdfunding platform that has been used by others to fundraise for medical technologies.

Rocket Hub ES MS LS

US-based crowdfunding platform that has been used by others to fundraise for medical technologies.

FundRazr ES MS LS

Canada-based crowdfunding platform that has been used by others to fundraise for medical technologies.

OurCrowd ES MS LS

Israeli-based crowdfunding platform that has been used by others to fundraise for medical technologies.

UK business accelerator programmes offer start-ups and spin-out companies access to small financial bursaries and mentorship/support services in exchange for equity within the company.

Biostars MS LS

  • Based in Oxford
  • £30k in non-dilutive funding.

Ignite MS LS 

  • Based in London, Manchester and Edinburgh
  • £17k per team in return for 8% of founder shares.

Oxygen MS LS

  • Based in London and Birmingham
  • €21k per team in exchange for 8% equity.

Bethnal Green Ventures MS LS

  • Based in London
  • £20k investment in exchange for 6% equity.

Tech Stars MS LS

  • Based in London
  • $20k in exchange for 6% common stock. Option for a $100k convertible note.

Seed Camp MS LS

  • Based in London
  • €75k per team in return for 7% equity.

Dotforge MS LS

  • Based in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield
  • Social as oppose to a tech accelerator.

Accelerate Cambridge MS LS

  • Based in Cambridge
  • Accelerator programme for start-ups with a “Cambridge connection” (student, alumni, faculty, staff of the University or resident of the town)
  • Contact:

Y Combinator MS LS

  • Based in Silicon Valley, USA based Accelerator (UK start-ups are eligible)
  • $120k in return for 7% of the company’s equity.

Brandery MS LS

  • Based in Cincinnati, USA
  • $50,000 in return for 6% of company’s equity.

Angel investment is a great solution for entrepreneurs looking for business investment because alongside venture funding, they can also receive expertise and contacts from their business investors (view website). 

Anglia Capital Group MS LS

Anglia Capital Group is a leading group of business angel investors in Norfolk and Suffolk formed in 2014.

Cambridge Capital Group MS LS

Cambridge Capital Group is a leading business angel group of over 80 investors and private venture funds who have been active since 2000.

Cambridge Angels MS LS

Cambridge Angels are a group of high-net worth investors who have proven experience as successful entrepreneurs in internet, software, technology and bio-technology. Members invest in and mentor high quality start-up and early-stage companies in these sectors in the Cambridge (UK) area and throughout the UK.

Venture capital (VC) is a type of private equity, a form of financing that is provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging firms that are deemed to have high growth potential (view website). 

Mercia Technologies LS

Based in Henley-In-Arden and Edinburgh.

Balderton Capital LS

Based in London.

Index Ventures LS

International, based in London, Geneva, San Francisco and Jersey.

Imperial Innovations LS

Based in London.

Apposite Capital LS

Based in London.

Sequoia Capital LS

International, based in California, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore and Tel Aviv.

Sapphire Ventures LS

Based in London, UK and Palo Alto, USA.

Benchmark Capital LS

Based in San Francisco, USA.

First Round Capital LS

Based in San Francisco, USA.

© Eastern AHSN