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Accessing funding for Healthtech Research and Innovation

Introduction to the UK funding landscape

There are many different sources of funding for healthtech businesses (and other organisations) and the HealthTech and Medicines KTN has attempted to provide some structure to this using Technology Readiness Levels[1] as a framework. The diagram below (Figure 1) shows sources of funding ranging from blue skies research - TRL-1 (basic research) through to final commercialisation (company led) - TRL-9.

 finance for innovation

Figure 1 Finance for innovation along technology readiness levels of innovation projects
(© HTM KTN, 2012)

Businesses can generally access grant funding from TRL-3 to TRL-7/8. Both large and small companies can access such grants, often with more favourable terms for SMEs. Typically at TRL-8/9 private funding sources will need to be sought.

During 2011-2013, the UK government is establishing a number of Catapult Centres which follow a structure approaching that of the German Fraunhofers, to enable the UK to better accelerate the exploitation of good research into commercial success. These centres will operate in the TRL from nominally 3 to 6, with grant funding, collaborative funding and contract research as the main income streams. From a health technologies point of view, the key Catapult Centres of relevance are the Cell Therapy Catapult and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, with a further Catapult recently announced on Digital Economy which may have some further relevance. Further information is available at:

The Electronics Knowledge Transfer Network (E-KTN) produced a Fundmap which provides an easy navigation of the complex landscape of grants and funding available to businesses in the UK technology sector (it is not Healthtech-specific). The Fundmap is available at:

This Fundmap provides an extensive listing of available funding resources, sorted out within four main categories of Research, Product development, Commercialisation and Company growth.