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Health & Life Sciences
Project Size:
up to £150,000


i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and Tier C digital health technologies with direct patient benefits, looking to ultimately integrate into the NHS. The funding stream aims to help SMEs reach the next stage in the development pathway to apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.


  • Lead applicants must be from an SME.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.
  • Projects must be £50,000-£150,000 in value.
  • Projects must be 6-12 months in duration.
  • Projects need to have proof-of-concept evidence.
  • Projects need to address a clearly defined unmet clinical need.
  • Project start dates must be between 01 January 2021 and 01 March 2021.
  • Upon acceptance of i4i Connect funding, applicants agree to be bound by the terms of the NIHR standard research contract and are expected to sign the contract within 4 weeks of the award notice or the award may be withdrawn.


i4i Connect is aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway. As long as the requirement for proof-of-concept evidence is met, innovations can be at any stage of the translational research and development pathway prior to implementation in the NHS. Offering between £50,000-£150,000 over a 6-12 month period, the primary aim of Connect is to help SMEs get to a point where they can apply for further funding, in particular for a full i4i Product Development Award (PDA), or to further de-risk projects for follow on investment. This will enable accelerated development of promising medical technologies, in line with recommendations from the Government’s Accelerated Access Review.

i4i Connect will fund:

  • Research and development of medical devices and in vitro diagnostics as defined by the relevant EU regulations, and some non-regulated digital health technologies (i.e some Tier 3a) with a clear patient benefit and for intended NHS use.
  • Generation of data to support an application to i4i Product Development Awards or any other funding stream.
  • All areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs at any stage of the translational research pathway, including but not limited to:
  • Product design - Manufacturing and scale up - User requirement assessment
  • Intellectual property strategy, including freedom to operate analysis - Development of a commercialisation strategy and market analysis - Business case development
  • Small safety and efficacy studies including clinical validation/utility studies
  • Health economic model development or analyses
  • CE marking and other regulatory requirements, including any associated preparation for a future clinical investigation application
  • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology and any training associated with the implementation of new technology

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