The brand new i4i FAST (Funding At the Speed of Translation) funding scheme is inviting innovators to submit applications that will answer a specific question, fund a single piece of activity or fill a specific evidence gap across all technology readiness levels. This could pivotally support by allowing for the de-risking of innovations, further exploration to justify additional research and investment, or rapid failure if they are simply not viable. Research themes can address any area of existing or emerging clinical unmet need.
This is the first round of i4i FAST Awards and will initially run as a pilot scheme. The Awards provide between £15k to £50k of funding for projects that can last between 3 to 6 months. FAST Awards are designed to have a rapid turnaround, and decisions to fund will be made within 6 to 8 weeks.
Innovation (i4i) Programme
Professor Mike Lewis, Director of NIHR’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shakeup of some research funding models and explains how the NIHR’s new, pilot FAST funding scheme, will provide accelerated, simple funding to allow innovations to be further explored for follow-on investment.
‘Before I took on the role of joint Programme Director at i4i/SBRI Healthcare, I frequently sat on research funding panels. The patience of applicants throughout the potentially lengthy application process, which can extend up to 12 months or longer, always impressed me as Chair of the grant panel. But I was also concerned that this approach may not match the pace of innovation.
Typical grant funding processes work well for complex projects that have a clear pathway to translation and commercialisation, but they don’t allow for quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers or potential ‘fail fast’ moments that are part of all innovation projects in devices, diagnostics, and digital tools such as algorithms. There had to be a better way.
In collaboration with colleagues in the UK and the US, I recognised the necessity of a straightforward, transactional funding method. This method would enable further exploration and ‘de-risking’ of innovations, facilitating the identification and resolution of potential problems, or the rapid failure of non-viable ideas.’
i4i FAST is a rolling call and there is no submission deadline. You can submit the applications from 13:00 on 04 April 2022
Renfrew Group can help with the application process as well as designing from lab to commercialisation
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