Innovate UK, NIHR (i4i programme and AI in Health and Care Award) and SBRI Healthcare’s Investment Readiness Programme are seeking applicants from their portfolios

Innovate UK, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR; i4i programme and AI in Health and Care Award) and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare have joined forces to offer specialist support to companies within their portfolios, from across the UK, via their Investment Readiness Programme. The programme will support selected companies to gain additional skills and expertise to get them prepared to find and attract investment.

Delivered by Bionow, the not-for-profit membership organisation, the Investment Readiness Programme has been specifically designed for UK MedTech, Diagnostics and Digital Health companies who have previously received Innovate UK (including Biomedical Catalyst), NIHR (i4i and AI in Health and Care Award) or SBRI Healthcare funding. The programme aims to equip these companies with the skills and expertise required to enable growth and raise seed or series A investment between £100k and £2m.

Applications to the programme, twelve of which will be selected for the support, are now open and will close on 4 February 2022. A short application process allows access to the competition with application form and eligibility criteria available here:

Up to a dozen companies shortlisted for the programme will receive significant support, including 3 sessions of Pitch Preparation Training delivered by an expert team from the Alderley Park Accelerator and supported by Bionow. Companies will receive insights into all aspects of the fund-raising journey, receive one-to-one coaching, and engage with experienced investors and entrepreneurs. Those applicants who are unsuccessful will receive either free attendance at a Bionow digital event in 2022 or a significant discount to attend a Bionow face-to face event in 2022 (excluding the annual awards dinner).

The programme will culminate with an online Investment Showcase on 30 March 2022 when selected programme participants will make their pitches in front of an audience of seasoned investors. At the online event, a panel of specialist investors will question applicants following their pitch and provide feedback on their performance, giving them a launchpad for growth.

Mike Lewis, Programme Director of NIHR’s i4i programme and the SBRI Healthcare programme, said “Life Science innovation has the possibility to help people lead better, healthier lives and also provide well paid, worthwhile, secure jobs. This programme helps those with ideas and innovation meet with those with funds and expertise to de-risk their technology and increase the chance of providing tangible patient benefits through improving outcomes.”

Samana Brannigan, Head of Health Technologies at Innovate UK, said “This collaborative programme will support UK companies focusing on health innovation to get investor ready and pitch their ideas to the private investment community. It will provide an opportunity to secure the private investment needed to accelerate commercialisation delivering both economic and health benefits.”

Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow said “Previous experience has clearly shown that pitching training and expert preparation, such as that offered by the Alderley Park Accelerator, yields benefit and clearly sets those companies apart. They are more likely to raise investment of a higher quantum positioning them for rapid growth and ultimately success”.

Last year’s Investment Readiness Programme saw successes from companies such as SurePulse and Alphabiomics. SurePulse, a Nottingham University spin-out and joint venture with the Simpatica Group, has developed products to optimise the monitoring of newborn babies, while fellow i4i Connect grant recipient AlphaBiomics invented a diagnostic tool to improve the treatment of patients with chronic inflammatory disease.

James Carpenter, SurePulse Chief Executive, said: “The Investment Readiness Programme allowed us to go through our pitch in detail to work out what an investor actually wanted to see and look at it from their perspective.
“This gave us more confidence in preparing and delivering our pitch, thinking like an investor, and tailoring our pitch and presentation to answer any questions to suit.”

AlphaBiomics Chief Executive Anthony Williamson added: “We have learned so much from connecting with and listening to fellow entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and the creative solutions they find to move their businesses forward.”

The full programme content, eligibility and application criteria can be found at

About NIHR

The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

- Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
- Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
- Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
- Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
- Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
- Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

About SBRI Healthcare

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare is an NHS England funded initiative which aims to help develop solutions that address unmet health needs in order to improve patients’ lives and support NHS efficiency.
Each year SBRI Healthcare provides funding to innovative new products and services with the potential to improve patient outcomes and delivery of health services within specific health challenges.
More information on the SBRI Healthcare programme can be found on our website.

About NIHR Invention for Innovation

The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme is a translational research funding scheme aimed at de-risking early-to-late stage medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focussed digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use.
We fund projects that have demonstrated proof-of-concept and have a clear pathway towards adoption and commercialisation.

i4i has three funding streams: Product Development Awards (PDA), Connect and Challenge Awards. All i4i funding streams have a two stage application process.
More information on the i4i programmes can be found on our website.

About AI in Health and Care Award

The Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award (AI Award) supports solutions addressing the strategic aims of the NHS Long Term Plan across the whole development pathway, from initial feasibility to clinical implementation.
It is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is run in partnership across NIHR, the Accelerated Access Collaborative and NHSX. Please visit our website.

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency. They drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. They connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn these ideas into commercially successful products and services, and business growth. Since 2007, Innovate UK has invested £4.6bn in 12,000 companies, helping to create over 100,000 jobs and contribute £32.2bn in added value to the UK economy (a 7:1 return).

About the Biomedical Catalyst

The Biomedical Catalyst has supported Health and Life Sciences SMEs to develop solutions to health and healthcare challenges since it was established in 2012. The programme supports innovation in therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and digital health technologies and aims to:

• Deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector;
• Deliver innovative life sciences products and services more quickly and more effectively into healthcare; and,
• Provide support to business led R&D in a seamless, effective and efficient manner.

Media Contact Information: 

Geoff Davison, CEO, Bionow

Tel: 07968 323381