Digital health technology catalyst 2017 round 1


Innovate UK is to invest up to £8 million in projects that develop new digital technology solutions to healthcare challenges.

  • Feasibility projects must range in size from total project costs of £50,000 to £75,000 and you must complete your project within one year.
  • Industrial research and experimental development projects must range in size from total project costs of £500,000 to £1 million and you must complete your project within 3 years.

Innovate UK may consider projects outside this range, but you should contact them at least 10 days before the submission deadline to discuss further.

You must start your projects by 1 February 2018.


Projects should focus on the feasibility or development of digital health or digitally-enabled medical technologies. They must demonstrate the potential to achieve one or more of the following:

  • improve patient outcomes, for example, by supporting self-care management
  • transform healthcare delivery
  • enable more efficient delivery of healthcare, for example, by reducing demands on parts of the health system

You may design these technologies for use in both clinical or non-clinical everyday settings. Projects must be innovative, collaborative (unless a feasibility project), and demonstrate how they will address needs of the healthcare system.

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects. These may include technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development. Projects must show significant innovation in one of the priority areas described in the specific competition themes section. Proposals must also improve business growth, productivity and/or create export opportunities for at least one UK SME involved in the project.

(Please check full details at the Innovate UK website, via the link below, to confirm eligibility.)



Digital health is evolving at a rapid pace and this is having a profound impact on healthcare delivery. Digital health uses data and technology to:

  • improve patient outcomes
  • improve access to healthcare
  • make more targeted and personalised health interventions
  • transform service delivery
  • deliver new treatments and translational medicine

The aim of this competition is to speed up the development of new digital solutions to healthcare challenges and grow the industry.

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

  • informatics
  • data analytics and advanced visualisation
  • clinical decision-making support
  • technologies that, for example, improve access to healthcare or help treatment compliance
  • emerging digital health technologies with a demonstrated healthcare benefit, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, blockchain and the Internet of Things
  • digital technologies and products which help overcome privacy challenges of managing data
  • digitally-enabled medical technologies

For feasibility projects, the grant enables the exploration and evaluation of the commercial potential of an early-stage digital health concept, through (but not limited to):

  • assessment of the business opportunity
  • validation of the initial concept
  • potential conceptualisation
  • scoping for further development

For industrial research and experimental development, the grant enables the development of new and innovative digital health solutions, through (but not limited to):

  • technology development
  • design and prototyping
  • demonstration of effectiveness
  • market testing
  • evaluation

Specific competition themes:

Proposals must offer innovative digital approaches to healthcare delivery.

For feasibility study projects, proposals must demonstrate the potential to:

  • offer new, novel and breakthrough approaches to healthcare delivery
  • improve patient outcomes by, for example, supporting self-care management
  • reduce demand on the health system and deliver efficiency and financial savings
  • provide healthcare benefits in either primary or secondary healthcare
  • improve clinical decision-making

For industrial research and experimental development projects, proposal must demonstrate:

  • the value proposition
  • a clear understanding of the market potential, routes to market and commercialisation strategies
  • alignment with the Catalyst’s core aims to grow the digital health industry and help get transformative, cost-effective technologies to patients more quickly
  • increased business / clinical / academic engagement on digital health innovation to deliver the products the NHS needs
  • how they include user-centred / validated design

Key Dates:

Competition opens – 31 July 2017

Briefing webinar – watch the recording

Competition closes – 11 October 2017 12:00pm

Applicants notified – 17 November 2017

If you are interested in this competition?

Please email the Innovation SuperNetwork team at or complete the form below so we can help you and guide you through the application process.

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Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BIC, and Reece Innovation with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.