Here you will find current external funding opportunities available for innovation and research projects.

If you are aware of funding oportunities that are not listed please email the detail to and they will be added to the website.


20/54 NIHR Local Authority Research System call

Many of the currently advertised PHR Programme funding opportunities may be impacted by and can be related to the COVID-19 situation. For research proposals focused primarily on COVID-19 interventions please apply via the NIHR COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research process.

The Public Health Research Programme are accepting Stage 2 applications to this funding opportunity.

The NIHR is looking to explore how it can strengthen its support to research in the local government environment. The NIHR recognises that innovation is happening in some local authorities and wants to explore how current, or new, systems could be developed, at a local level, to support sustainable and influential research activity.

This call provides specific funding (up to £50,000 per site) for up to 10 sites across the UK. This second round of funding will be available between September and December 2020 and is to fund the exploration of how a local authority might form the basis of a research system that will enable that authority to become research active.

We would like to highlight that this funding call is open to the Devolved Administrations and is not limited to England. Applications may be from an individual or group.

Deadline: Thursday 6th August 2020 at 1300hrs

Further information can be found here.


Competition for Develeopment Contracts - Urgent and Emergency Care - NHS England and NHS Improvement - SBRI Healthcare

The ever increasing pressures on hospital emergency departments (EDs) are well documented globally and not just in the NHS and, despite many years of innovation, growth in numbers arriving at the doors of the ED continues. The reasons for this growth are multifactorial and some demographics show particular issues: children and young people have a significantly higher inappropriate/non-urgent attendance at ED than adults and the proportion of those of all ages with respiratory conditions has grown rapidly over the past few years.

There are some signs of ability to reduce this growth significantly from the work done in the Vanguards, which recognise the need to address the wider system and not simply provide point solutions. This is referenced in the NHS Long Term Plan that has very ambitious targets for reducing hospital admissions.

This competition seeks to address two primary issues, taking into account the systemic complexity and recognising some of the key demographic differences. So the request is for solutions that will:

  • Reduce demand
    • Recognising differences for adults vs children and young people.
    • Recognising that respiratory conditions in all ages account for a rapidly growing proportion of attendances.
  • Reduce the length of stay in the Emergency Department
    • By more efficient triage, streaming and treatment
    • By more efficient discharge or admission to the hospital

Applicants are asked to consider the impact of their innovation on the whole system and to be aware of the competitive environment, even considering working together with other companies to bring forward solutions that can make a real difference.The COVID-19 emergency has forced changes already and there are some innovations being implemented and tested.

Applicants should consider that the baseline they need to innovate from may be different already from that in January 2020. This competition is open to supporting the further development and evaluation of technologies already used experimentally to help in this crisis

Deadline: Thursday 27th August 2020 at 1300hrs

Further information can be found here.


COVID19 Research Programme

The Health Foundation has launched a new research programme, which seeks to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in two distinct areas. This programme aligns with our strategic priorities and complements the existing research funding landscape.  

We’re prioritising funding for UK-focused projects that explore:  

  • how health and social care service delivery has changed in light of COVID-19 
  • the impact of COVID-19 on health inequalities and the wider determinants of health.  

We are inviting projects to apply for funding of between £100k–£200k per project for a duration of up to 12 months (including set-up time).   

We will fund highly applied research that has direct relevance to policy and practice and we welcome applications from multidisciplinary teams combining expertise from a broad range of disciplines. 

We want the findings of this research to inform policy and/or service delivery decisions about the future of health and care services, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Applications involving patients, the public and people with lived experience are strongly encouraged.   

Deadline: Wednesday 30th September 

Further information can be found here.


Travel and subsistence funding to support LMIC engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak

The awards will provide travel and subsistence funding to appropriately qualified public health professionals, clinicians and academics who wish to offer science and technical advice to support the immediate response to COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries.
The awards are open to applicants who have a substantive position at a UK higher education institution or research organisation.
Applicants are required to ensure appropriate duty of care, insurance, safeguarding and all other liabilities are in place and that they have the support of their institution for any travel, as well as appropriate institutional support in the destination country.
Applications are open until further notice, on a rolling basis. Applications should ideally be submitted at least 2 weeks before the planned travel. 
Queries should be directed to

Deadline: Thursday 31st December 2020 

Further information can be found here.


UKRI open call for research and innovation ideas to address Covid-19

UKRI will support excellent proposals of up to 18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Proposals will be accepted from anyone who is normally eligible to apply for UKRI funding. This includes any company or SME that would normally be eligible for Innovate UK grant support. You will need to show that you can start work within 4 weeks of the funding being confirmed. Proposals should be sent through this route for any research or innovation relevant to the above regardless of funding Council or whether relevant to multiple Councils.

Proposals with potential to directly deliver a public health impact in the next twelve months, and which have not already been submitted to the Initiative’s earlier calls, are asked to apply to the joint DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative’s rolling call via the NIHR single portal site.

Deadline: Thursday 1st April 2021 at 0000hrs

Further information can be found here.


NESTA - Impact Investment Fund

The Fund invests between £150k and £1m in social ventures developing innovations that tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children and communities in the UK. An experienced team of sector experts, venture capitalists, impact investors and evaluators backed by Nesta, provide expertise and guidance, helping companies to grow their reach, demonstrate their impact and become financially sustainable.

Deadline: Ongoing

Further information can be found here.


Wellcome Trust - Innovator Award

Up to £500,000 available for up to 24 months to support researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health. The current focus areas are mental health, neurological disorders and neglected tropical diseases (although applications from other areas may be considered).

Deadline: Ongoing

Further information can be found here.


UKRI Research Grants

If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the best way to seek funding for it is through our Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100% full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development.

There is considerable flexibility when it comes to subject area, too. As long as you always make sure that your suggested topic falls within ESRC's remit, you are free to concentrate on any research area. Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent more than 50 per cent of the research focus and effort. Please see the Call Specification and scheme specific Je-S Guidance below for more details of what can be applied for under this call.

You can submit proposals to this call at any time - there are no fixed closing dates. We aim to announce the majority of decisions within 26 weeks of receiving the proposal although we cannot guarantee this, since it is dependent on receiving sufficient good quality peer review comments within the necessary timescale. Please see the FAQs for further details. You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission System (Je-S).

The content and quality of the application you submit will determine whether or not you are successful. Therefore it is vital that you have a full understanding of what is required, as well as knowing the various stages of the application process, so that you maximise your chances of gaining an award. We offer guidance on how to write a good application.

Deadline: Open Call


Further information can be found here.