Funding competition Digital health technology catalyst round 3: collaborative R&D

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £8 million to speed up development of commercial digital health solutions.

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Competition sections

Description

The Digital Health Technology Catalyst (DHTC) is a £35 million fund, being run over 4 years. It is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The DHTC is a core element of the government’s plans to implement the

Accelerated Access Review (AAR). It aims to address some of the challenges that the review identified around the development of digital health innovations, and to help grow the digital health sector.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £8 million in industrial research and experimental development projects that develop new digital technology solutions to healthcare challenges. We are running another competition in parallel focusing on feasibility studies.

Projects must be led by an SME and must develop new commercial digital technology solutions to address significant healthcare challenges.

Projects must be collaborative and work with at least one other grant-claiming partner (NHS, other healthcare providers, other businesses, research technology organisations, research base or third sector). We recommend that you collaborate with the NHS where appropriate.

You must show how your project will improve the competitiveness and productivity of at least one UK SME involved in the project.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email support@innovateuk.gov.uk at least 10 days before the competition closes.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Industrial research and experimental development projects’ total eligible costs can be between £300,000 and £1 million. All projects must start by 1 April 2019 and can last up to 24 months.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding your project must:

  • be led by a UK based SME
  • include at least one of the following: another business (of any size), NHS organisation, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK

The lead organisation and at least one other organisation in the project must claim funding through this competition.

If you need help to find suitable consortium partners, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network or your local Academic Health Science Network.

Any one business can be involved in up to 3 applications to this competition, however may only be the lead partner in one application.

A UK business must be eligible to receive state aid. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information please see our general guidance.

Resubmissions

If Innovate UK judges that your proposal is not materially different from your previous proposal, it will be classed as a resubmission.

If your application is unsuccessful, you can reapply with the same proposal once more, taking into account the feedback received from the assessors. You can reapply into another round of this competition or another competition. In other words, you can make a maximum of 2 applications in total with any proposal.

Funding

We have allocated up to £8 million to fund projects in this competition.

If you are successful, you can get grant funding towards your eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies. This depends on the type of organisation you are and the type of research you are carrying out.

For industrial research projects, 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

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

For all research organisations, the total level of project participation is set at a maximum of 50% of total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, they must share this maximum between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under the General Block Exemption Regulation. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term vision for how the UK can:

  • build on its economic strengths
  • address its productivity performance
  • embrace technological change
  • boost the earning power of people across the UK

Aligned with both the Industrial Strategy and the Accelerated Access Review, the aims of this competition are to:

  • address major healthcare challenges
  • grow the UK digital healthcare industry through the innovative use of digital technologies

You can develop solutions for either clinical or non-clinical use.

Projects must be innovative, collaborative and clearly demonstrate how they will have the potential to improve the health and care system. We recommend collaboration with healthcare providers if beneficial to the project.

We have set out the following areas of importance as a guide to what we are looking for. This should not limit the scope of any potential projects.

1. Improving health, and closing the health and wellbeing gap with:

  • cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • mental health early stage intervention and treatment
  • diabetes risk and incidence reduction

2. Transforming care, and closing the care and quality gap with:

  • urgent and emergency care provision
  • management of primary care workload
  • enabling patient choice in elective care

3. Controlling costs, enabling change. and closing the finance and efficiency gap. This will be through the use of technology to maintain or improve levels of care with reduced spending.

We will select and fund a portfolio of projects showing the potential for significant innovation. Proposals must improve business growth, improve productivity or create opportunities for at least one UK SME involved in the project.

State clearly what unmet healthcare need you are addressing, which technologies you are using and, if applicable, which stage of the patient experience it relates to.

Specific themes

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and healthcare needs.

Specific technologies include (but are not limited to):

  • immersive: virtual and augmented reality
  • intelligent: artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • connected: use of sensors, internet of things (IoT), networks
  • data driven: informatics, data analytics and process

The types of digital health projects we will fund include (but are not limited to):

  • clinical decision-making support
  • technologies that improve access to healthcare or help treatment compliance or provide patient led management
  • digital technologies and products which help overcome privacy challenges of managing, sharing and exploiting data
  • projects addressing the patient-led experience from prevention, through diagnosis, treatment and recovery, to long-term care
  • applications of technology to health challenges where digital solutions offer and can demonstrate significant improvements in quality, speed, cost, outcomes and learning

Project types

The competition will fund industrial research and experimental development projects. Make sure that you apply for the relevant research category.

We are running a separate competition for feasibility studies.

Projects we will not fund

In this competition we will not fund projects that:

  • do not have digital technology as the main provider of transformation
  • discover or develop medicines
  • seek only to develop data or record-keeping systems
  • do not demonstrate strong awareness of the underlying unmet need
  • are not collaborative
  • are not game-changing or disruptive innovative ideas leading to new solutions
  • do not explain how you will gather and demonstrate relevant economic, safety and clinical evidence

3 September 2018
Competition opens
10 September 2018
Briefing event recording.
31 October 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
7 December 2018
Invite to interview
7 January 2019
Interview panel
8 January 2019
Interview panel
9 January 2019
Interview panel
10 January 2019
Interview panel
11 January 2019
Interview panel
18 January 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to participate in the project as collaborators if your application is successful

Partner organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Interviews

If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview.

Presentations should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length, using Microsoft PowerPoint. Do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers.

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email we will send inviting you to an interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date.

Up to 5 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on all of the interview dates (7 to 11 January 2019). We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

You will be expected to answer questions based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

You will have the opportunity to provide a supplementary written response to the assessor feedback, answering any concerns raised by the assessors. This can be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document. It can include charts or diagrams. This must be submitted to Innovate UK by the date stated in the invitation email.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions
  3. Finances

1. Project details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it doesn’t, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

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

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. List any partner organisations you have named as collaborators.

Public description

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

Project 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 give you feedback on why.

2. Application questions

In this section, answers to these questions are scored by the assessors. Following assessment, you will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long.

Question 1: Need or challenge

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

You should describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the healthcare and/or business need, technological challenge and market opportunity
  • 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 is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural and/or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this.

Question 2: Approach and innovation

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

You should 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
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies 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 may submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages in size to support your answer.

Question 3: Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

You should 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
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You may submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer.

Question 4: Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

You should 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

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

Question 5: Outcomes and route to market

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

You should describe or explain:

  • your current position in the market and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers and/or end users, and the value to them, for example, why would they use or buy it?
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • how the 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

Question 6: Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

You should describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • 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

Question 7: Project management

You should describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for 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

You may upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long.

Question 8: Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

You should describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You may upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long.

Question 9: Additionality

Describe the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.

You should describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the business 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

Question 10: 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?

You should describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise?
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at support@innovateuk.gov.uk.

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