Stage 2

Feasibility & development

At this stage you are beginning to develop your innovation and explore its technical feasibility. What type of evidence should I be gathering to progress my innovation and who can help me move forward?

Below is some information about possible funding and useful checklists things to propel you into the next stage.

Progress checklist

1 You should be collecting evidence for the technical feasibility of the innovation and its potential market.
2 It is important to gather and document evidence on the testing of the individual components of the innovation – do they work together, what are the areas that need development? This will probably involve working with prototypes which are able to demonstrate feasibility.
3 Thought should be given to the needs of customers and demand for the innovation. You should be able to clearly describe this and identify a possible market for the product.
4 As your development work proceeds, you should have approached some potential lead customers. This should help you create an outline business case (?) for the product.

Business case refers to the costs and benefits of the product – if a purchaser invests money in purchasing your innovation and time in implementing it, where and how will they see the benefits? Can you put a monetary value on this or do the benefits to purchasers come in the form or improved services, processes or better quality of life, for example?

Potential sources of support and funding

These sources of support and funding are most relevant to your innovation from the answers given.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust a an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. Iyts funding ranges from basic scientific research, including social science, to supporting proof-of-concept research and development for new healthcare products. Its innovation funding stream aims to help bridge the gap between fundamental research and commercial application by funding applied research and development projects to a stage where they are attractive to a follow-on funder, such as venture capital firms, industry and public-private partnerships. There are a number of funding schemes, including Health Innovation Challenge Fund and Pathfinder Pilots.
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South East Health Technologies Alliance (SEHTA)

"SEHTA is one of the largest healthcare technology networking organisations in the UK with 1,300 members. It offers three services: Consultancy Plus, Care Review and Cluster Development & EU Networks. SEHTA covers a range of health technology fields, including assisted living, diagnostics, and medtech and smartcare and digital companies, and assists with all stages of product / service development, from ideation to long-term business planning, from customer needs analysis to useablity trialling, and from competitor and political landscaping to partner and supply chain selection."
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Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd

Knowledge Transfer Network Ltd (KTN Ltd) is funded by Innovate UK and is an interdisciplinary UK-wide network of knowledge intensive businesses and academics designed to stimulate innovation by promoting collaboration, best practice and knowledge sharing.There are 15 individual Knowledge Transfer Networks, including a Health Tech & Medicines KTN. KTN Ltd organises sector specific missions to different countries to help connect researchers and innovators in the UK with overseas opportunities. It can help UK organisations access overseas funding schemes and it works closely with Innovate UK on major international funding programmes,such as Horizon 2020.

Open the Knowledge Transfer Network
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Nesta is an independent charity with a mission to help bring good ideas to life, Nesta is a leading innovation think tank, an investor in innovative ventures and an innovation lab testing out new approaches to supporting innovation. It has produced a useful innovation policy toolkit which describes the UK innovation ecosystem, available here:
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Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office helps businesses understand how to manage IP. This includes IP online tools.

Go to IPO
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Digital Health London

DigitalHealth London is a collaboration between MedCity and London’s three Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs): Imperial College Health Partners, UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network. It is supported by the Mayor of London and the Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs). It aims to help London pioneer the development, commercialisation and adoption of digital health innovation to improve health outcomes. It helps to create and support networks to bring together London’s existing critical mass of digital health expertise, identify digital solutions to meet the needs of patients and clinicians, and build an evidence base of the health outcomes and economic benefits of digital health. DigitalHealth London also helps businesses by tackling issues such as procurement and commissioning. A call will be going out in March 2019 for their fourth accelerator cohort. Successful companies will receive support from September 2019-August 2020.

Digital Health London
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides substantial funding for research and training for the health sector, a large proportion of which is for healthcare technologies. The portfolio covers novel therapies, implants, surgical tools, prosthetics, sensing and imaging technologies, and data handling for diagnosis. A significant proportion of research is in partnership with other funders such as MRC, CRUK, Wellcome, Innovate UK. EPSRC does not fund translational research, but it does seek to accelerate the impacts of the research it funds through take-up by industry or translational research funded by another organisation. It aims to encourage researchers to think about how to make their research impacts ‘translation ready’ so that they can more readily be picked up by other funders. EPSRC’s Impact and Translation Toolkit highlights topics for researchers to consider, to ensure that their research maximises its impact. Funding to support these elements of a research programme may be available through its Pathways to Impact initiative
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National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The NIHR funds research to generate innovative new healthcare solutions, as well as supporting infrastructure by providing facilities and people to conduct first-class research in the NHS and the systems for managing ethical research and its outputs. Its portfolio includes programmes where industry can apply for NIHR funding as lead or joint applicants, and which support translational research. The Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) is funded in partnership by the NIHR and MRC to test interventions where proof of concept has already been demonstrated, helping to allow progress from early clinical studies to larger, later-phase trials. The Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme provides funding to advance healthcare technologies and interventions in areas of existing or emerging clinical need, where there is a clear pathway to adoption and commercialisation.
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Charities such as Cancer Research UK

Visit the Association of Medical Research Charities website
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Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s programme for funding innovation in products, technologies and processes. It brings together and replaces all existing EU Framework Programmes and simplifies EU funding through a single set of rules. It combines all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The health programme includes actions on personalising health and care, effective health promotion, disease prevention, preparedness and screening, improving diagnosis, innovative treatments and technologies, advancing active and healthy ageing, integrated, sustainable, citizen-centred care (personalised medicine, advanced ICT for personalised care, etc.), and improving health information, data exploitation and providing an evidence base for health policies and regulation.
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The Medical Research Council (MRC)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a publicly funded government agency responsible for coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom. The MRC focuses on high-impact research and has provided the financial support and scientific expertise behind a number of medical breakthroughs, including the development of penicillin and the discovery of the structure of DNA. The MRC's Biomedical Catalyst: Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) funds the pre-clinical development and early clinical testing of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including “repurposing” of existing therapies. DPFS is an ongoing scheme, with outline deadlines every 4 months. The next deadline is 4pm on 29 March 2017.
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Devices for Dignity Health Technology Cooperative (D4D)

Devices for Dignity (D4D) Healthcare Technology Co-operative is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help people living with long term conditions. It aims to make a difference to the well-being of patients, the effectiveness of the NHS, and the wealth of the nation. Working with inventors, clinical and healthcare staff, industry, academics, charities, the public and patients, it addresses areas of unmet clinical and patient need in renal technologies, assistive and rehabilitative technologies, urinary continence management, and paediatric technologies.
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Wellcome Trust Innovator Awards

These awards support researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health.

Innovator Award
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Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)

ABHI is the industry association for the medical technology sector in the UK. Its mission is to champion the benefits and use of safe and effective medical technologies to deliver high quality patient outcomes. ABHI engages with the NHS, government, regulators and other key stakeholders in the UK and abroad, in order to represent the industry. Its work focuses on UK market, economic growth, regulatory and ethics and compliance issues.
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Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

The ABPI represents large, medium and small research-based biopharmaceutical companies in the UK. It is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.
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British Healthcare Trade Association (BHTA)

The BHTA represents almost 500 companies making or selling healthcare and assistive technology products that help people live more independently.
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MedilinkUK is a national health technology business suppport service. It helps companies from concept to commercialisation and nurtures collaborations between academics, clinicians and industry. Medilink UK can provide bespoke market research for companies diversifying into the sector, or investing in research and development. Internationally platform, Medilink UK supports companies investing in the UK market as well as promoting the export of products and services to the US, Middle East and Asia.
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British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA)

BIVDA is the UK industry association for companies involved in the in vitro diagnostics industry. It represents both manufacturers and distributors. As well as providing a range of support services for its members, BIVDA aims to raisies awareness of the clinical and cost utility of diagnostics in the provision of effective healthcare.
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Catapults' have been set up by Innovate UK to drive future UK industry sectors by tackling the translational gap and bridge research and commercialisation, catalyse industry development, and focus on start-ups, incubators, and scaling-up SMEs. Amongst other fields, a 'Precision Medicine Catapult' has been established. Precision medicine combines accurate diagnosis with rules-based therapies and effective service delivery. The PMC is tackling the bottlenecks to product delivery, working with the precision medicine community and seeking to build a thriving industry.

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Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Complete these useful quick checks on innovation risk and potential for adoption

Evidence needs and ease of adoption

Try to position yourself in the graphic below by asking yourself: What will organisations gain and what they will lose by buying your innovation.

Opportunistic sells A ‘smash hit’ Sure failures! Long hauls Edit your position

Assessment of project delivery risks

These questions will help you think about the likelihood of successfully bringing your project to the market. Please look at these categories and consider where your project sits on the sliding scale from 1 to 5 (1 = low)

Edit your innovation risk

Your level progress

It is important to identify where your innovation sits in relation to the typical stages of development. Sometimes these are called ‘technology readiness levels’ (TRL). These stages are a systematic way of identifying the maturity of a particular technology. There are variations, but broadly innovation stages are divided into the categories shown.

The "innovation stages" section goes into more detail about each stage

View the innovation stages
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Stage 0 Preliminary research
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Stage 1 Basic technology research
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Stage 2 Feasibility & development
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Stage 3 Demonstration
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Stage 4 Testing & Launch
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Stage 5 Adoption & Spread