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 provide pivotal support by allowing innovations to be de-risked, further explored to justify further research and investment or to fail fast if 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.
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. As grant panel Chair, I was always impressed by the patience of applicants on what can be a lengthy application process of up to 12 months or longer. 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.
Working with some colleagues in the UK and the US, I believed there was a need for a simple transactional piece of funding to allow innovations to be further explored and ‘de-risked’ – where potential problems are identified and ironed out – or to fail fast if they are simply not viable.’
i4i FAST is a rolling call and there is no submission deadline. Applications can be submitted 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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