Funding competition Healthy Ageing Challenge - Designed for Ageing

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £14.4million for service-led innovations to support healthy ageing.

Start new application

Or sign in to continue an existing application.

Competition sections

Description

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Healthy Ageing Challenge, will work with Innovate UK, to invest up to £14.4million in innovation projects.

These will be to deliver a clear game-changing service-led innovation to help people as they age, positively, actively, independently and with dignity.

The aims of this competition are to:

  • address the under-provision of products and services which support people as they age to remain active, independent and socially connected
  • support business-led, near-to-market innovations that have potential to scale
  • enforce good people-centred design principles
  • encourage applications from businesses across the UK, by working with devolved government administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £500,000 and £2million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £500,000 and £2million
  • start by 1 May 2022
  • end by 30 April 2024
  • last between 6 months and 24 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.


Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

If collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding. Their costs will count towards the total eligible project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

We expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.


Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

A business of any size, not leading an application, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO), can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.


Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

We have allocated up to £14.4million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to:

  • address the under-provision by markets of services which support people as they age, to remain active, independent and socially connected for longer
  • support business-led, near-to-market innovations that have strong potential to scale
  • provide support through grant-funding against eligible project costs
  • enforce good people-centred design principles
  • encourage applications from businesses across the UK, by working closely with devolved government administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

To enforce the aim of good people-centred design principles, your project will be subject to a ‘design stage gate review’ at the six-month point. Your project must pass the ‘design stage gate review’ to continue to receive funding.

The review will ensure that your organisation is better placed to realise optimal market share by working with users and customers, to feed into service development and commercialisation plans.

Your project must:

  • deliver a clear game-changing service-led innovation, that has a significant impact on ageing positively in the UK
  • help people as they age, allowing them to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected for as long as possible
  • narrow the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest
  • conduct industrial research to develop new and applied knowledge leading to a solution at high technology and market readiness

Your proposal must:

  • be delivered as a 6 months to two-year, business-led project, with a strong emphasis on people-centred design, as tested by the design stage gate review, and an ambition to scale
  • identify a solution that must be sufficiently well-defined to be shaped by the initial six-month design stage gate review

The design stage gate review will be informed by your first six months’ people-centred design activity. This must be backed up by a revised commercialisation plan. You must be available at this six-month point for the review, along with your revised business and commercialisation plans.

The five review criteria for the design stage gate, must be evidenced and are based on:

  • evidence of user engagement, including the user feedback mechanisms you have deployed
  • details of adaptions you have made to your service through deploying people-centred design, including references to any risks identified
  • evidence of take-up and acceptance within your user community, which supports the anticipated demand for your service
  • evidence from your user community that your solution is scalable, for example, is there now a wider interest in your offering
  • evidence that your business and commercialisation plans have been updated to reflect this activity, and that these plans represent a fair view of the market opportunity

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of themes and regions including:

  • scope, service or regional diversity
  • investment with devolved administrations
  • targeting inequalities and under-represented groups

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following service-led innovations that:

  • enables self-care and new models of care for independent living
  • encourages sustaining physical activity for people aged 50 and over, including for instance, active travel
  • improves mental health
  • addresses the ‘common complaints’ of ageing, for example, incontinence, pain, mobility, hearing and eyesight

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that are:

  • clinical trials or academic research projects
  • not business-led
  • early-stage innovations, for example: proof of concept or pre-prototype
  • products that do not have a service wrapper or service application
  • not clearly targeted to help ageing populations
  • dependent on export performance, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example, giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

20 September 2021
Competition opens
21 September 2021
Webinar briefing event: register to attend at 2pm
21 September 2021
Collaborators club for networking: register to attend
17 November 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
22 December 2021
Invite to interview
10 January 2022
Interview panel start
14 January 2022
Interview panel end
28 January 2022
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

Interviews

If your online application is successful at this stage, you will be invited by email to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place either online or at a designated location, confirmation will be provided in your invitation.

Before the interview, by the deadline stated in the invitation email, you:

  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides
  • can send a written response to the assessors’ feedback

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 5 people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 20 minutes
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview.

Written response to assessor feedback

This is optional and is an opportunity to answer the assessors’ concerns. It can:

  • be up to 2 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document
  • include charts or diagrams

Interview

After your presentation the panel will spend 30 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on the information you provided in your application form, presentation and the response to feedback.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Subsidy Basis

Will the project, including any related activities, you want Innovate UK to fund, affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU?

All participants must complete this section.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

All participants must complete this EDI survey and the lead applicant must then select yes in the application question. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will be immediately rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers to questions 2 to 11, question 1 is not scored. You will receive feedback for each scored question.

You must answer all questions. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name of your organisation along with your full registered address.

If you are working in collaboration, you must also state the name and full registered address of all your partners.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all participants of a project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological, service challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological or service challenge
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 3. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • how you will engage users in the development of your solution to ensure that people’s needs are at the centre of your innovation focus
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies or services in new areas, the development of new technologies or services for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit one appendix summary of your business plan. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 4. Project team, resource plan and readiness

Who is in the project team, what are their roles and how will you work if COVID-19 restrictions continue?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • (if your project is collaborative) the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • the user group or groups you will work with to ensure people-centred feedback into the ongoing design process
  • any roles you will need to recruit for taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure

You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 5. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project, and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed
  • what gaps in market awareness will you address through user engagement

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 6. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example why they would use or buy your service
  • how you will include customers’ and end users’ feedback in continuous improvement
  • your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
  • how you are going to profit from the service innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the service innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 7. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe and, where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe and, where possible, measure:

  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 8. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones, taking into account the possible impact of further COVID-19 restrictions

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 9. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources including access to user groups, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this
  • how you will manage if further COVID-19 restrictions impact your project

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 10. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • whether this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as a faster route to market, more partners or reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend
  • how this project would change the nature of user-engagement and people-centred design activities undertaken by the partners

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 11. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of the project goals, describe or explain:

  • the total eligible project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The Healthy Ageing Challenge is supported by the Centre for Ageing Better’s Community of Practice

The Healthy Ageing Challenge Community of Practice is a learning community that brings together organisations with an interest in developing solutions that support people to age well. It is a space for members to collaborate, problem-solve and share their expertise, learnings and insights. The Community is run by the Centre for Ageing Better on behalf of UKRI.

The Community of Practice has been working to support projects funded through UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Challenge, providing peer-to-peer support and space for shared problem solving, in addition to learning and development opportunities, events, and resources. This includes a specially curated resource library with over 300 reports.

Co-Funding

£2.4 million from the competition’s £14.4million budget has been ringfenced to co-fund projects with the Devolved Administrations. Funding of any application would be subject to that application meeting the minimum UKRI quality standard for submissions.

Finding a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact KTN.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.
These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.
We encourage you to engage with EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.
If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Need help with this service? Contact us