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How It Works

The Health Innovation Challenge Fund has three key steps:

1. Theme Selection The HIC Fund operates a succession of thematic calls for proposals. Theme topics are selected by the two funders in conjunction with experts and have been identified as areas where there is an unmet, or poorly met, healthcare need.

The Joint Secretariat would also be pleased to receive suggestions from clinicians, academics and industry for future theme topics. Suggestions should be sent by email to

2. Submission of Applications The health research community will be invited to submit applications addressing the identified unmet need. Applications will be assessed by an appointed Joint Funding Panel (JFP).

The Application Process:

  1. Applicants should download and complete a Preliminary Application Form, which is available at and
  2. Applicants should send completed application forms in MS Word 2007 document format (.docx) only by e-mail to before 1pm on the closing date.
  3. A Joint Funding Panel (JFP) will assess preliminary applications and short-list those applicants who are to be invited to submit a Full Application Form. Details on the full application process will be provided at that time. The JFP is an expert committee and includes representatives from both the Wellcome Trust and Department of Health but is independent of both.
  4. Full applications will be peer reviewed by independent experts whose written opinions will be considered by the JFP in arriving at a funding decision.
  5. Short-listed applicants must present their proposals at a JFP meeting, which is held twice per year.
  6. The Joint Secretariat will notify applicants of the JFP’s decision within 7 days of the meeting.
  7. Successful applicants will be expected to enter into a Funding Agreement that will govern matters such as:
    a. Scope of project and usage of fund
    b. Project management, oversight and reporting requirements
    c. Developmental milestones
    d. Confidentiality
    e. Intellectual property
    f. Dissemination of results
    g. Revenue and equity sharing

Contracts relating to the provision of funds must be fully negotiated and concluded prior to attendance at the JFP meeting.

3. Portfolio ManagementSuccessful proposals will become part of the HIC Fund Portfolio and their management will be overseen by the Joint Secretariat, which represents the Wellcome Trust and Department of Health.

The Wellcome Trust and Department of Health will oversee the ongoing management and monitoring of funding recipients, including the monitoring of progress against milestones and resulting funding releases. Key elements of the programme management are listed below:

  1. Tranches of funding will be released to award holders on the achievement of pre-determined milestones.
  2. Progress reports and site visits may be used to evaluate the attainment of defined objectives.
  3. Applicants who are short-listed for submission of a full proposal may be required to engage with independent advisor(s) during the detailed planning of the project, and beyond if the project is funded.
  4. The Lead Applicant/Principal Investigator, or alternate, may be required to organise a Research Steering Group to oversee the project. The purpose of the Research Steering Group is to provide a focus for the team and bring together internal and external project functions.
  5. Intellectual property and translation strategy may be managed via an Intellectual Property Management Group that will meet on an ‘as-needed’ basis
  6. Funded projects may be subject to periodic review by a WT and DH convened Project Advisory Group.
  7. The applicants are required to appoint a Project Manager to assist in the management of the project.