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Major Challenges Ahead - Solutions Needed Now


Surgical technologies

The Health Innovation Challenge Fund (HIC Fund) is seeking proposals for surgical solutions that will translate into safe and cost-effective practice in the NHS. Applications are invited which:

  • Technology that improves upon current devices or instruments to demonstrably and significantly improve patient outcomes, e.g. by increasing the accuracy and/or precision of a procedure
  • Instruments and methods that reduce the invasiveness of current surgical procedures
  • Computer-aided and computer-guided surgical methods and tools that improve decision support in the operating room

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Innovative diagnostics

Whether it’s for the early detection of chronic diseases, or the targeted treatment of acute illnesses, advances in diagnostics can bring significant patient and economic benefit. Applications are invited which:

  • Provide novel diagnostic tests or procedures which are more accurate, faster or more cost effective than their existing equivalents
  • Permit timely diagnosis of conditions where no test currently exists or where the present turnaround time is protracted
  • Enable both diagnosis and monitoring of the patient’s response to treatment
  • Offer solutions that can be readily integrated into and deployed widely across UK healthcare systems and beyond

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Trauma and critical care medicine

The HIC Fund is seeking early interventions and solutions that will tangibly improve the care and long-term outcomes of patients who experience acute illness or who have sustained severe injury or trauma:

  • Focus on care given in either pre-hospital settings, emergency departments, trauma centres, intensive care units or high dependency units
  • Provide improved monitoring devices, innovative analytical or imaging modalities or rapid diagnostics
  • Develop non-invasive, point-of-care diagnostic devices to support early treatment intervention

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Repurposing of technologies and medicines

It is not always commercially attractive to repurpose devices or drugs even though important medical benefits could be gained. This HICF theme is intended to support and facilitate projects aiming to repurpose products in the wider pursuit of enhanced, affordable healthcare and which can result in early adoption by the NHS and other healthcare systems. Applications are invited which:

  • will repurpose approved medicinal products, medical devices, diagnostic tests or materials for use in new therapeutic indications or disease states
  • recombine or reuse pre-existing drugs or devices for various diseases, including rare or orphan ones
  • are anticipated to encounter a low regulatory hurdle and rapid progression to clinical use and adoption
  • undertake validation or safety studies and early or small pilot scale efficacy trials


  • repurpose technologies developed within other sectors (for example, the automotive, aerospace, military or computer gaming sectors) for medical use

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Biological therapeutics

Biological medicinal products (biologics) can be carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids or combinations of these substances, or they can be cell or tissue based products. The HICF is seeking proposals for ground breaking biological therapies. For example, these could include:

  • Therapeutic proteins for treating immune disorders, infections and other diseases. This may include, but is not limited to, bi-specific monoclonal antibodies, multi-specific fusion proteins, peptides, antibody conjugates, synthetic antibodies, peptide aptamers.
  • DNA, RNA or microRNA based technology including gene therapies and antisense therapies.
  • Cell based therapies
  • Immunotherapies

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