EPSRC in collaboration with MRC is currently launching the second stage (phase two) of the transformative healthcare technologies opportunity. Through this competitive process, we aim to support up to six of the existing feasibility (phase one) projects in delivering risky, ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas underpinned by science, engineering and emerging technologies in the healthcare space.
You should seek to design your research to minimise the barriers to the future implementation of its outputs in a healthcare context. You will need to provide a comparison of the vision for the project in phase two to what was outlined in phase one (the feasibility stage).
You should also outline how outputs and findings from phase one have informed the development plans for phase two.
This opportunity will only support preclinical and pre-competitive research projects that are predominantly within EPSRC’s remit. This funding opportunity is focused on stimulating healthcare research that delivers the aims and priority objectives of the healthcare technologies theme. We expect proposals to be agile, being able to exploit emerging opportunities where relevant to the proposed research project.
These projects should be developed in the context of EPSRC priorities, including the healthcare technology grand challenges and ambitions identified in the EPSRC delivery plan due to be published in the autumn.
The healthcare technology grand challenges are currently defined as:
- developing new therapies: focusing on the need to produce safer, more targeted treatments fit for the demands of the decades up to 2050 and beyond
- expanding the frontiers of physical intervention: the potential to enhance established techniques and develop pioneering new approaches to such intervention that deliver high precision, minimal invasiveness and maximum impact
- transforming health and care beyond the hospital: meeting the need for novel technologies that enable timely interventions beyond hospital settings and help people manage their own physical and mental health
- optimising disease prediction, diagnosis and intervention: addressing both physical and mental health with techniques that optimise patient-specific illness prediction, accurate diagnosis and effective intervention.
Co-creation and impact strategy
EPSRC wishes to ensure that the research it supports through its healthcare technologies theme has the greatest chance of achieving a positive impact in human health. Researchers must incorporate how they will undertake their work in a manner that maximises the opportunity to generate real-world impact.
You will be required to develop and execute a strategy for engaging with potential users of the research funded in the project.
We are committed to investing in a diverse and connected portfolio of projects and welcome applications that support regional and national research and innovation agendas.
We expect any EPSRC funding to leverage appropriate expertise and co-investment from industrial partners as well as other project partners.
You should include plans for ongoing engagement with stakeholders throughout the project as they will be essential to achieving an impact in healthcare within 30 years’ time. You should consider both the immediate and long-term impact needs of your research and be dynamic in the range of stakeholders considered.
You should consider the skills, knowledge and expertise required for achieving impact and how these will be brought to the project through collaboration, training, consultation or other means. For tips on successful innovation, explore our impact and translation toolkit. It provides an overview of some of the barriers you may face when applying your research to solve challenges in human health and wellbeing.
The full economic cost available is up to £20 million, with the possibility of additional funding from EPSRC for projects to transition the feasibility studies to phase two of the opportunity.
This budget is indicative and subject to final budgetary allocations.
We expect to support up to six delivery projects. EPSRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
Where possible, researchers are asked to make use of existing facilities and equipment, including those hosted at other universities. If equipment is needed as part of the research proposal, you must follow EPSRC’s rules for requesting equipment over £10,000 in value.
Individual items of equipment between £10,000 and £400,000 can be included on proposals if the equipment is essential to the proposed research and if no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed. Research organisations will be expected to make a 20% contribution to the cost.
Any items of equipment with a value in excess of £138,000 that are funded on research grants will need to be reported on annually as part of the university’s equipment account annual reports. This will be communicated through an additional grant condition on the research grant.
Smaller items of equipment (individually under £10,000) should be in the ‘directly incurred – other costs’ heading.
For more information, see EPSRC’s approach to equipment funding.
You are expected to work within the EPSRC framework for responsible innovation.
Applicants planning to include international collaborators on their proposal should visit Trusted Research for guidance on getting the most out of international collaboration whilst protecting intellectual property, sensitive research and personal information.