InnoScot Health urges partnerships to apply for share of £7.5m regulatory innovation funding

InnoScot Health Head of Regulatory Affairs Elaine Gemmell

INNOSCOT Health is urging Scottish innovation and science collaborators to take advantage of a £7.5m pot of grant funding available from Innovate UK. 

Funding applications for up to £50,000 are now being welcomed from organisations who are looking to link up and support the development of new tools, data sets, and approaches that enhance regulatory decision making. 

While applications are encouraged from all sectors, specific priority areas in the health and life sciences sector have been set out. 

The competition from Innovate UK – part of UK Research and Innovation – aims to “support the development of proposals for virtual networks of expertise in regulation that generate research-based evidence and insights.” 

It further aims to support policymaking that “enables agile and proportionate regulation in response to innovation.”  

Collaborative networks are expected to: 

  • Build evidence bases 
  • Strengthen partnerships and knowledge transfer, including plans for working with other networks on cross-cutting themes and challenges 
  • Influence policy through research insights that translate evidence into best practice 
  • Enhance business capacity to exploit commercial opportunities 

The organisation’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Elaine Gemmell said: “We fully support the aims of this competition from Innovate UK’s Regulatory Science and Innovation Networks programme. 

“Indeed, we are currently in the process of gauging interest from other parties.  

“By funding up to 30 collaborations, initiatives like these are vital to encouraging collaborative working and serving to ultimately foster better regulatory decision making. 

“The programme contributes to the creation of a pro-innovation regulatory environment that benefits society and this competition could be the start of some exciting new ideas which inform future regulatory policy and practice and contribute to better healthcare outcomes for Scottish patients. 

“It is important therefore that interested partnerships apply before the end of January in order to be considered. 

“Innovate UK believes that by building on existing regulatory science activity, this investment will contribute to securing the UK’s position as a global leader in regulatory science. 

“If successful in the Discovery phase, they will have the opportunity of developing their proposals with a package of support including workshops and events that will assist in honing their applications for the Implementation phase while encouraging networking between collaborations.” 

Network collaborations awarded funding at the Discovery phase will be invited to apply for the Implementation phase competition, which will open on or after August 2024. 

Primarily, Innovate UK wants the competition’s collaborative drive for improvement to be targeted across product lifecycles – particularly areas such as approvals, ongoing safety, and performance monitoring – while supporting policymaking. 

Elaine added: “It is also great to see the focus here on equality, diversity, and inclusion, including the recognition that diversity contributes to enhanced innovation and ultimately, commercial success.” 

Total grant funding requests for the Discovery phase must be no more than £50,000. The competition closes on Wednesday 31 January 2024 at 11am. 

The InnoScot Health team offers skilled regulatory experts, dispensing advice and support to healthcare innovators across Scotland, while facilitating and underlining the country’s reputation as a centre of excellence for medical device innovation. The organisation also operates an ISO 13485:2016 quality management system harmonised to the Medical Device Directive. 

With more than 20 years’ experience in medical device development, Elaine Gemmell – recently awarded the title of Honorary Professor in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University – is a certified ISO 13485/ISO 9001 Lead Auditor and has experience of regulatory approval and CE marking for medical devices. 

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