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ISCF healthy ageing trailblazers: Stage 1


This is stage one of a two-stage competition. A total fund of up to £2million is on offer for stage one to conduct research and develop a business plan for a healthy ageing ‘trailblazer’. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £2million in stage one of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Healthy Ageing Trailblazers.

The aim of the Trailblazers is to encourage businesses and public sector-led collaborations, including social enterprises, to develop and demonstrate how products, services and business models which support people as they age will be adopted at scale.

This is stage one of a two-stage competition. You can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to conduct research and develop a business plan. For stage one of the competition you can apply as a single applicant. Stage two proposals must be collaborative.

In stage two, the delivery stage, Innovate UK will invest up to £38million. This is to develop and implement the products, services or business models, with individual eligible project costs up to £6million.

Only projects successful in stage one will be invited to apply for stage two.

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This section covers the aims and objectives for the Trailblazer projects at both stages one and two.

In stage one, the aim is to develop a business plan and demonstrate readiness in order to obtain funding for your stage two Trailblazer project.

The Trailblazers aim to support businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and demonstrate how innovative services, business models and products which support people as they age, will be adopted at scale.

This will be achieved by establishing a number of large, multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. These will demonstrate through research and development the viability, scalability, transferability and sustainability of disruptive innovations in services, business models and products.

The expected outcome for businesses will be the development and demonstration at scale of new business models. This should work together with the supporting supply chain of services and products that allow them to improve their market offering and secure new revenue streams, including exports.

The outcome for public sector-led collaborations will also be to achieve a positive impact on the target population by providing an ecosystem of sustainable services.

Innovate UK will fund a portfolio of projects across the seven themes drawn from the Healthy Ageing Challenge Framework. This means Innovate UK expect to fund a spread of projects across multiple areas. Innovate UK have a particular interest in projects whose principal focus covers one or more of the first three of these seven themes:

1. Sustaining physical activity

2. Maintaining health at work

3. Designing for age-friendly homes

4. Managing common complaints of ageing

5. Living well with cognitive impairment

6. Supporting social connections

7. Creating healthy and active places

You should propose which themes from the framework will be the focus for your intervention. Successful applicants will be expected to look to exploit synergies across the multiple framework themes.

Although the focus is on the seven themes, Innovate UK will consider projects that address healthy ageing challenges outside of these themes.

Your proposed approach as an applicant must:

1. Incorporate principles of user-centred design. Solution development is expected to involve co-creation through an iterative process that links to a robust plan to achieve the target scale.

2. Address the tension between innovation and implementation, and the barriers to adoption

3. Establish an evaluation method specific to the proposed scope which will need to be approved by UK Research and Innovation as part of your stage two application

4. Demonstrate commitment to contribute to a challenge-wide set of knowledge sharing and evaluation activities determined by UK Research and Innovation

Your projects must outline:

  • The intended benefits of the project
  • The populations that will be used to demonstrate those benefits
  • How that population will be accessed.
  • How significant inequalities in health-span will be targeted
  • How to reach both urban and rural populations, if appropriate depending on the target population
  • A clear commitment to achieve the overall 50% match-funding in stage 2
  • A strategy to further exploit healthy ageing related markets on completion of the Trailblazer proposed project

Your stage one project’s total eligible costs may be up to £100,000. Stage one projects can be single or collaborative.

Stage one projects must start by 1 June 2020 and end by 30 October 2020. They can last up to five months.

Stage two of this competition is expected to open in Autumn 2020. Stage two projects must be collaborative.

To lead a project or work alone at stage one your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered business of any size (including social enterprises), or a public sector organisation (including local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships)
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • Intend to apply for the stage two of the competition, if invited
  • Intend to lead a collaboration for stage two of the competition

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

To collaborate and receive the competition funding together with the lead organisation you must:

  • Be a UK-registered business, academic institution, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • Carry out your project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • Be invited to take part by the lead applicant

If successful at stage two, your collaborative project must commit to provide 50% match funding.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Any one UK-registered business or public sector organisation can lead on one application and collaborate in a further two applications.

If a UK-registered business or public sector organisation is not leading an application, they can collaborate in up to three applications.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £2million to fund innovation projects for stage one. Up to £38million is available for stage two delivery projects.

Stage one projects are defined as feasibility studies and stage two projects will be industrial research.

Each UK-registered partner can claim a percentage of grant funding. The amount you can claim depends on the size of your organisation. For stage one feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • Up to 50% if you are a large business

There will be a commitment for projects at stage two to provide 50% match funding across their project. Do not apply for stage one if you do not have this commitment agreed among the lead and collaborators.

Any research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER): Article 25 aid for research and development projects. Activity under stage one must comply with the classification of feasibility studies and proposals for stage two as industrial research. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Innovate UK are not funding:

  • Innovations that involve the introduction of novel health and care system-wide collaborative funding mechanisms, such as accountable care
  • Clinical or fundamental research
  • The development of early stage technologies
  • Projects that cannot obtain at least 50% match funding for their stage two project
  • Overseas businesses or organisations

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.