This competition aims to accelerate development of innovative diagnostic tools and technologies by multi-disciplinary and cross-sector consortia.


Your application must aim to integrate across technologies, data, care pathways and systems to deliver new diagnostic systems for the early detection and diagnosis of diseases. Your consortium must work with the UK’s health and care infrastructure to advance the development of integrated diagnostic solutions.

It is encouraged that you be ambitious in your integration of multiple detection or diagnostic technologies and approaches, potentially arising from multiple commercial or academic settings.

Innovate UK want to build on investments that have been made to date. This can include those made:

  • within this challenge (such as the digital pathology, radiology and AI centres of excellence)
  • by UK Research and Innovation more broadly
  • by other funders such as the National Institute for Health Research, Cancer Research UK and other charities

You can choose to create new products, processes and services that integrate across technologies, data, care pathways and systems to deliver new diagnostic solutions for early detection and diagnosis of diseases. You must consider how your solution will fit into existing or feasible care pathways and generate evidence that will support the adoption of your proposed new products, processes and/or services.

You can use the following approaches:

1.Integrating technological approaches to improve early detection and diagnostic accuracy, including:

  • applications ranging from early stage ‘first-in-type’ integration of data streams with potentially broad applicability to refinements of more established tools or technological innovations for a specific application
  • technologies in development and/or solutions already on the market that have not previously been used together in the same way
  • innovative technology development to enable new insights from biological samples or patient data
  • the development of algorithms to maximise diagnostic accuracy from multiple sources of information
  • the development of clinical decision support tools
  • treatment selection

2.Integrating new diagnostic solutions into care pathways

3.Evaluating new integrated diagnostic solutions (such as performance characteristics, clinical impact, health economic evaluations and the collection of real-world evidence) as part of the wider programme of work, to provide information that will aid adoption

Disease areas in scope include but are not limited to:

  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease, including stroke
  • inflammatory disorders, including autoimmune disease
  • metabolic diseases
  • neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia
  • paediatric and maternal-foetal
  • co-morbidities

Your project can build on the capabilities of existing infrastructure but we are not looking to fund the development of new infrastructure.

Early detection and diagnosis must be the focus of your proposal. You can also include work packages on monitoring, treatment selection and patient management.

Innovate UK are especially looking for projects that focus on one or more of the following:

  • build on strengths in digital imaging or pathology, genomics and other technologies
  • improve data integration, analysis, interpretation and visualisation for early diagnosis and precision medicine
  • accelerate industry R&D in integrated diagnostics
  • include work packages that will design and evaluate solutions in context
  • build and grow lasting collaborations across business, NHS and academic researchers for UK benefit
  • address the specific challenges of co-morbidities
  • support industry and the NHS in developing and planning for future, comprehensive, diagnosis systems and pathways
  • are disruptive and go beyond incremental change to deliver significant healthcare impact and/or economic impact
  • consider the opinions of the patient and public, including the acceptability of the diagnostic solution to the user


To lead a project your organisation must be:

  • a UK registered business of any size
  • a UK registered research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • a UK registered academic institution
  • a UK registered hospital
  • an NHS or National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) organisation, for example an Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) or Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operative (MIC), or equivalent in the devolved administrations

Each organisation can lead on up to 2 applications. You must collaborate with other organisations as outlined in the Project team section. We encourage you to include more than one business.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, or a UK registered RTO, academic institution, hospital, charity, public sector organisation, or medical research entity supported by UK Research and Innovation
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the project result for the benefit of the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant

Your consortium must have at least 3 partners (including the lead) and involve:

  • a micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • an NHS organisation or academic partner

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs as part of the application.

There is no limit to the number of applications that an eligible organisation can collaborate on.

Funding Costs

There is  up to £17 million allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Up to £3 million is also being invested by Cancer Research UK for oncology-focused projects only.

Your project’s total eligible costs, including industry contributions and any other co-funding, must not exceed £10 million. Your consortium can apply for a maximum grant of £3.5 million.

Projects must start by 1 January 2020 and can last for up to 36 months.

For industrial research projects, you could receive funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business
  • up to 80% of full economic costs (classed as 100% in calculations) if you are an academic institution
  • up to 100% if you are an NHS organisation that is only NHS funded, other public sector organisation or charity

For experimental development projects and work packages within these, which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business
  • up to 80% of full economic costs (classed as 100% in calculations) if you are an academic institution
  • up to 100% if you are an NHS organisation that is only NHS funded, other public sector organisation or charity

The research organisations collaborating as part of a consortium may share up to 50% of the eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.


Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects that focus predominantly on behavioural monitoring
  • projects that include data from wearables that have not been prescribed by a health professional
  • the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases or mental health on their own
  • basic research, such as biomarker discovery or new detection technologies for which there is no proof of concept
  • the development of new infrastructure
  • the development of therapies

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