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Criteria for Competing

Driving Medical Research & Creating Healthcare Solutions Through Effective Collaboration

Criteria for Applying

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Project Eligibility All proposals must meet the Essential Requirements of the HICF scheme and address at least one of its specific themes (a project may address either a single theme within the current call or may span several themes). Applications falling outside of the current themes will be declined.

A project may address either a single theme within the current call or may span several themes.

The HIC Fund will not fund:

  • Early stage or basic research
  • Proposals to conduct stand-alone clinical trials that are not preceded by a programme of R&D or technology development (except for re-purposing of approved medicines);
  • Health delivery research by the NHS where the focus is on the broad adoption, dissemination and uptake of products, technologies and interventions within the NHS;
  • Delivery or provision of health services by or within the NHS;
  • Projects that are already at a stage of development where funding from industry or venture capital could reasonably be secured.
  • Drug development (except for re-purposing of approved medicines)
  • Programs where the time to benefit patients exceeds those specified in the HICF scheme’s Essential Requirements.
Applicant Eligibility The lead organisation must be UK-based and carry out R&D in the UK. Overseas collaborators are permitted.

The following types of organisation are eligible for funding:

  • Publicly listed or privately owned companies;
  • SMEs (including start-up or ‘spin-out’ companies);
  • NHS organisations (including NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts), and equivalent UK authorities;
  • Universities, research institutes and not-for-profit organisations.

A collaboration between two or more of the above is eligible and is actively encouraged where it strengthens the overall proposal. Wherever there is a commercial partner in such a collaboration that will ultimately be responsible for the development and sale of the end product then that party should assume the role of lead applicant.

Preliminary Applications Applicants should submit a Preliminary Application via email at, making sure that it includes all the relevant information.

Preliminary Applications should include the following:

  • An outline of the work packages that are to be undertaken via the HIC Fund including details of specific milestones, objectives and deliverables
  • Current validation of the concept, how it addresses a medical need, position on patient management pathway or disease algorithm
  • Downstream route to launch, market introduction and adoption
  • Sensitivity or risk analysis for the major hurdles
  • An overview of IP and regulatory approval issues
  • Eventual financial sustainability of the product line
  • An approximate breakdown of costs
  • If a company, justification for requesting financial support from the HIC Fund
  • Details of all information which an applicant considers commercially sensitive or confidential
Costing the Projects The costing of the project varies depending on the kind of organisation submitting the application. Different criteria apply for Universities and Companies.


  • Universities should calculate the Full Economic Cost of their bids
  • The Department of Health will fund Universities up to 100% of FEC
  • The Wellcome Trust will fund the directly incurred costs and other allowable costs


The intention of the funders is to provide project funding, not core support or working capital. Research costs will be supported for the specific project only.

Project Assessment Criteria Assessment of preliminary applications will be through an expert Panel including representatives from the Wellcome Trust and DH but which is independent of both and whose role is advisory only.

All proposals for funding under the HIC Fund programme will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. The evidence of clinical need and healthcare relevance of the proposed technology/solution
    • What is the clinical need for the proposed technology/solution within the NHS and globally?
    • How will the proposed technology address healthcare priorities within the NHS and beyond?
    • What benefits does the proposed technology provide to both the NHS and patients? E.g. healthcare improvements and/or cost savings
    • How will clinical practice be affected by using the technology and will this lead to constraints in adoption?

  2. The strength of the project team
    • Does the project team have a strong track record in relevant areas?
    • Does the project team have the right skills and experience to deliver the identifiable benefits?

  3. The strength of the project plan
    • Are the aims and objectives realistic within the timeframe and within the resources proposed?
    • Does the project plan adequately address the aims and objectives?
    • Have the main technical barriers and key risks to successful completion of the project been identified and will the appropriate steps be taken to mitigate these?
    • Are the arrangements for managing the project adequate?
    • Are the arrangements for involving patient/user representatives appropriate?

  4. The innovative nature of the technology/solution
    • What is innovative about the proposed technology/solution and what advance is there over current science and technology?
    • Will any new intellectual property arise from this project?
    • What are the competitor clinical practices and technologies and how strong is the market competition?
    • Is there freedom to operate in this area?
    • What are the market opportunities, both domestic and global, and the expected impact of the proposed technology/solution?
    • What are the key stages and challenges on the route to market? Is the commercial strategy for the technology appropriate?

  5. The value for money provided by the proposal
    • Are the requested resources, including staffing, clearly justified? Are they essential for the work proposed?
    • Taking into account the expected benefits of the work proposed and the level of resources requested, do the proposals promise good value for money?