i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway.


The funding stream aims to help SMEs get to a point where they can apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. It also aims to de-risk projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway to support follow-on investment.

i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

i4i Connect will support:

  • Research and development of medical devices, active implantable devices, and in vitro diagnostic devices as defined by the relevant EU directives, across all areas of existing or emerging healthcare needs.
  • Product or technology development required to enable a technology for clinical use, which may include manufacturing, intellectual property protection, freedom to operate, and market analysis or business case development.
  • Research and development of techniques or technologies from a different industry sector that could have a potential impact if applied in a healthcare setting.
  • Feasibility studies, if a technology from a sector other than health is being developed.
  • Studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of a device, including first-in-man and pivotal studies.
  • Health economic analyses and clinical utility studies looking at a device’s real-life implementation and use.
  • Research to support CE mark applications and other regulatory requirements, including any associated safety trials.
  • Activities associated with the adoption of new technology.
  • Training associated with the implementation of new technology.

Funding Costs

  • Projects must be £50,000-£150,000 in value.
  • Projects must be 6-12 months in duration.
  • NIHR cover 100% costs for SME and NHS trusts and 80% FEC for academic partners


  • Lead applicants must be from an SME.
  • Lead applicants must be based in England.


This funding stream will not support:

  • Animal studies or work on animal tissues. If animal studies are required as part of the project, NIHR expect applicants to seek parallel funding to cover such studies.
  • Basic research.

Interested in applying for this competition?

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