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SME support to evaluate innovative medical technologies: Round 5


UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5million to support the evaluation of innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital health products.

The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £1.5million in innovation projects. These will support developers of innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital technology to evaluate their product in a real world clinical setting.

All projects must be led by a UK-based SME. You can choose from two options:

  1. Planning and preparation for a study, for which total eligible project costs can be up to £100,000.
  2. A study to collect clinical performance and cost-effectiveness data, for which total project costs can be up to £500,000.

This competition provides support for micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop an evidence base for products that address NHS priorities. Innovate UK’s support will allow companies to collect and analyse clinical performance and cost effectiveness data in an NHS setting.

Applications are highly encouraged from SMEs from across all regions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Open Date:


Close Date:


This competition is aimed at SMEs that have developed and manufactured innovative medical devices, diagnostics or regulated digital healthcare products.

The competition will support the development or design of plans for the collection of clinical data in a real-world setting, and also support the running of these studies.

Your proposal must:

  • Describe the innovative or CE-marked device
  • Show how your product is likely to have a significant impact, including increasing patient access to innovative technologies where appropriate
  • Demonstrate how the product meets the priority needs, such as those reviewed in the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Provide evidence that you are working with appropriate stakeholders including NICE, NHS, NIHR and AHSNs
  • Outline how your study will allow NICE to evaluate the data you collect

Your project must:

  • Focus on understanding evidence gaps and testing product performance to explain the operational impact of your product on the NHS
  • Add data to the evidence base that can contribute to the health technology appraisal process, for instance by comparing the use of the new product with the current standard of care
  • Involve potential breakthrough technologies
  • Help improve methods and systems

Priority will be given to projects that are related to:

  • Ageing well
  • Cancer
  • Digital transformation
  • Learning disabilities and autism
  • Mental health
  • Personalised care
  • Prevention
  • Primary care
  • Starting well
  • Stroke
  • Workforce

The total eligible project costs can be up to £100,000 for option one and up to £500,000 for option two.

You can apply for funding of up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. Therefore, option one applications can claim a grant of up to £50,000. Option two applications can claim a grant of up to £250,000.

Projects must start by 1 May 2020 and must be completed by the end of April 2021.

Projects must have a total duration of between three and 12 months.

To lead a project or work alone you must:

  • Be a UK-registered SME
  • Carry out your project within the NHS
  • Have a product that is aligned with at least one of the NHS’s priority healthcare areas, such as those reviewed in the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Have a product that is already available for the NHS to purchase, but that has been marketed in the UK for less than five years
  • Outline relevant discussions you have had with the main stakeholders, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), to demonstrate the feasibility of your proposal
  • Have gained a CE marking for your product

SMEs can work alone or in collaboration with other businesses or research organisations as non-grant claiming partners or subcontractors. Only the project lead will be eligible to claim grant funding.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £1.5million to fund projects in this competition. You can apply for funding of up to 50% of your total eligible project costs.

This competition provides state aid funding under article 28 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), ‘Innovation aid for SMEs’. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid. Further information, including eligible costs, can be found on page 42 of the state aid manual.

Material and capital usage costs are ineligible. If these costs are included your application will be ruled as ineligible and will not be funded.

It is important that you review these rules before you apply as they are different to other Innovate UK run competitions, in particular the percentage of funding available.

Projects will not be eligible for funding if they involve:

  • CE marked products that are not currently available to the NHS or have been marketed in the UK for more than five years
  • Medical devices and diagnostics that do not focus on priority areas for the NHS
  • Digital health products not regulated as a medical device
  • Projects containing any cost for materials or capital usage as part of the application

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.