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NIHR Artificial Intelligence (AI) Health and Care Award


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Health and Care Award is run in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and NHSX.

It is part of the NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab announced by the Health Secretary in 2019, and will deploy £140million over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies that meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

A launch event is being held on Monday, February 3, in London. The event is free of charge, but there is limited availability of places. See here for further details.

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The NIHR will support AI technologies across the spectrum of development, from initial feasibility to evaluation within clinical pathways in the NHS and social care settings, to the point that they could be nationally commissioned.

Key areas of focus include screening, diagnosis, decision support and system efficiency. Applications may be submitted by an SME, an NHS Trust or service provider or a Higher Education Institution.

When is funding available?

Competitions will be run at least twice yearly through an open process to identify appropriate AI technologies. See the dates for funding competitions.

A launch event will be held on Monday, February 3, in London. Please see here for further details.

A series of WebEx events will be run which are open for applicants to address queries about the AI Award and application process. The dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday, February 4, 11am-12pm – join here
  • Tuesday, February 11, 11am-12pm – join here
  • Tuesday, February 18, 11am-12pm – join here
  • Tuesday, February 25, 11am-12pm – join here

Applications may fall within one of these four development phases:

  • Phase 1 is intended to show the technical and clinical feasibility of the proposed concept, product or service. Awards are for a maximum of £150,000 over a six to 12-month period.
  • Phase 2 is intended to develop and evaluate prototypes of demonstration units and generate early clinical safety and efficacy data. Award amounts are uncapped (any amount can be requested but must be reasonably justified), funding awards are per product, typically for 12-36 months.
  • Phase 3 is intended to support first real-world testing in health and social care settings to develop further evidence of efficacy and preliminary proof of effectiveness, including evidence for routes to implementation to enable more rapid adoption. Awards are uncapped (any amount can be requested but must be reasonably justified), funding awards are per product, typically for 12-24 months.
  • Phase 4 is intended to identify medium stage AI technologies that have market authorisation but insufficient evidence to merit large-scale commissioning or deployment. We will support testing and evaluation of these technologies within routine clinical or operational pathways to determine efficacy or accuracy, and clinical and economic impact. Grants are uncapped, funding awards are per technology.

Phases 1-3 aim to create a pipeline of products, interventions and services which are ready for wider testing and will be delivered through the well-established and robust mechanisms underpinning the i4i and SBRI Healthcare programmes, with an indicative budget of £2-7million in the first year.

This early stage pipeline will be managed by the NIHR Invention for Innovation and SBRI Healthcare Programme Management Office in close collaboration with the AAC Delivery Team.

Through Phase 4 the AAC Delivery Team will facilitate initial systems adoption of the AI technologies into the NHS and/or social care setting, with an indicative budget of £10million in the first year.

Phases 1-3 are run in a two stage application process. At stage 1 a simple Expression of Interest form needs to be completed, and shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal at stage 2.

Phase 4 is run in one stage.

Applicants considering submitting a proposal can submit an outline for guidance on remit and eligibility before official submission. This can be done using the pre-submission engagement form. This is non-mandatory and purely aimed at helping potential applicants to engage with the requirements of the competition.

The Artificial Intelligence Health and Care Award is a national competition with applications reviewed by a national multi-disciplinary funding panel and assessor pool comprising specialist technical, clinical and commercial experts and patient and public representatives.

Expert assessors and panel members review all stage 1 and stage 2 applications and make funding recommendations based on the quality of applications, with support from public and expert peer reviewers.

Members of NIHR Committees are required to declare any interests which conflict, or may be considered to conflict, with NIHR business, or may be perceived as influencing decisions made in the course of their work within NIHR programmes.

All members are asked to complete the Register of Interest form (annually), which is intended to capture long term predictable interests that could be perceived to lead to conflicts of interest. These and other interests are judged on a case by case basis at individual meetings.

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.