New funding for medical technology research by companies, clinicians and academics aims to promote innovative approaches to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the NHS.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme has allocated up to £13m for research projects, and has launched a call for proposals.
The NIHR i4i programme funds projects through prototype and commercial development until a technology is ready for clinical testing, bringing together academic or clinical researchers and technical experts from industry.
The programme has been updated in two ways:
- Research projects in Wales, as well as in England, are now eligible for i4i.
- Instead of being divided between early- and late-stage product development awards, applications will all be submitted through a single route.
As well as looking for technologies that will benefit NHS patients, the NIHR i4i programme supports collaboration between researchers in industry, the NHS and the academic field. Each approved proposal will bring together researchers from at least two of these sectors.
NIHR particularly welcomes proposals from SMEs and from teams that have previously succeeded in developing and commercialising new technologies.
Martin Hunt, NIHR i4i Programme Director, said: “In the present economic climate, it is becoming increasingly difficult for medtech companies to secure funding for new, innovative technologies. The NIHR i4i programme provides a valuable funding opportunity for the medtech sector.”
This year’s i4i funding covers a “much broader” range of projects than last year’s, he noted. “The amount of funding awarded is determined by the nature and scale of the proposed research activity and we are considering projects seeking larger funding amounts than before.”
Outline research proposals must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 7 December 2011. Further details are available at www.i4i.nihr.ac.uk.