Funding for innovation

We’re committed to supporting innovation in our hospitals – with a focus on better patient care. Through our Innovate at Imperial programme, you can apply for funding to explore new ways of working to accelerate progress, strengthen hospital processes, support staff wellbeing or improve patient care and safety.

You can find out more about the programme and how to apply for funding below. 

Please note, we're not currently accepting applications for the Innovate at Imperial programme. However,  information about the 2022/23 funding round will be available in spring 2022.

What are you looking for?

We’re looking for projects that:

  • relate to one or more of Imperial Health Charity’s strategic objectives:
    • to improve patient experience and help to deliver true patient-centred care
    • to develop the careers and enhance the wellbeing of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
    • to enable innovation in healthcare within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the wider health system.
  • develop and test innovative approaches to improve health and social care (this includes hospital processes, staff wellbeing, patient safety or patient care)
  • address a problem that is concise, defined and measurable
  • describe fully the evidence underpinning the problem
  • identify and describe the most appropriate methodology for delivery and include a robust evaluation plan (for an example of methodology, see the Trust’s QI resources)
  • accelerate progress (rather than supplement funding for established work)
  • be delivered within a realistic budget and timescale, including set-up and evaluation phases
  • can be delivered within an 18-month period
  • provide a rationale for disseminating results or plans to scale the innovation
  • be team-led.

To help you with your application, here are some other key considerations that we’ll use when reviewing project proposals:

  • projects that are outward-looking, community-centric and inter-sectoral will be highly valued (i.e. working across Trust departments and/or with local health and care partners). For example, your partner(s) could be CCGs, other primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare providers, and/or community providers
  • projects that replicate or repurpose existing work and systems will be considered, provided they benefit a different group of patients, speciality or industry
  • projects that focus on a new app, device or platform technology must have the approval of the Trust's ICT team before applicants are invited to submit a full application (Stage 2)
  • projects that include a new role must include evidenced justification (a full job description is required for Stage 2).

We will not consider applications:

  • that are scientific and/or medical bench-based research
  • that supplement a fellowship or active research
  • if you and your team have previously been awarded an Innovate at Imperial grant.

This is not exhaustive, which is why Stage 1 is to submit an Expression of Interest on our online grants portal Flexigrant. If your project idea meets our criteria, we’ll then formally invite you to apply.


What have you funded previously?

To find out more about the projects we've previously supported through the Innovate at Imperial programme, click here.


Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from any permanent member of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Unfortunately, you won't be eligible if you hold only an honorary contract with the Trust.

If you're submitting an application in partnership with other colleagues, all co-applicants must also be permanent members of staff at the Trust.

You can only be involved in one application – whether you’re the lead applicant or a co-applicant. If you’ve already been awarded an Innovate at Imperial grant, you can’t apply again until you’ve completed your current project.

What support do I need?

Your project needs the support of your line manager, and your relevant director - this may be your Divisional Director, Divisional Director of Operations, Divisional Director of Nursing, Clinical Director, or Divisonal Director of Research. This ensures that your project and its potential impact are well understood within the clinical service in which it is based.

You must also have consulted Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s intellectual property team before you apply:

Dr Brunel Eilizadeh,
Senior Business Planning Manager,

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for between £1,000 and £85,000.

The funding can cover:

  • a new role, including salary and superannuation, London weighting and employer's NIC
  • focus group costs, including room hire and refreshments (provided these are not excessive)
  • reasonable travel within Greater London for the project team members to attend meetings with north west London partners
  • reasonable volunteer expenses and/or consumable costs for PPI studies
  • reasonable open access publication costs.

Please see the Guidance Notes in the Resources section below for a detailed table of costs that can and cannot be supported.

In your application you’ll need to give us a justified breakdown of all your costs, with quotations for any items over £250. You must ensure you understand and comply with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust's procurement strategy or Imperial College London's purchasing regulations for any purchases, especially those over £5,000. More information can be found on the relevant intranet, and your Trust/College purchasing department will be able to support you.


When can I apply?

The timeline for the 22/23 round of Innovate at Imperial grants will be announced later this year.

However, for guidance, below is the timeline of the 21/22 round:

  • The call for Expression of Interest forms opened on Wednesday 21 April 2021
  • The deadline to submit Expression of Interest forms was noon on Friday 11 June 2021
  • Shortlisted applicants were notified on Wednesday 14 July 2021
  • Stage 2 applications opened on Flexigrant on 14 July 2021
  • Stage 2 applications close dat 12 noon on Sunday 26 September 2021.
  • Applicants were informed of the outcome in November 2021.
How do I apply?

There is one call for applications each year, and two stages to the application process.

Firstly, you need to complete our Expression of Interest form via our online grants portal Flexigrant. This helps us determine whether your proposal is suitable for the Innovate at Imperial programme or alternative sources of funding. 

If you’re shortlisted, we’ll then invite you to submit a full online application.

Are resources available to help me with my application?
  • We’ve created the following resources to help you with your application:
    • Click here to see the detailed Innovate at Imperial Guidance Notes
    • Click here to see the Innovate at Imperial Sample Application Form
  • For further support, please see the following key contacts at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust:

Intellectual property team

Dr Brunel Eilizadeh,
Senior Business Planning Manager

Strategy, Research and Innovation team

Dr Fran Cleugh,
Deputy Director of Improvement

Hannah Fontana, Strategy,
Research and Innovation Programme Manager

  • For any other enquiries or additional support, please contact our Grants Manager:

Hani Ahmad
T: 020 3857 9844

How does the funding work?

If you’re successful, you'll have six months to activate your grant and start your project. You must submit a Grant Start Certificate confirming your Grant Start Date and Grant End Date - you can only spend your grant within these dates.

Your grant will be paid as a reimbursement to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust or Imperial College London. You’ll need to pay for approved costs upfront, through the Trust or the College. Then you’ll need to ask them to invoice us and we’ll repay them. For more details, see our FAQs.

After your project is complete, you’ll have six months to submit an End of Grant Report, and to make sure we’ve been invoiced for all of your spending. We may also require a Progress Report and an annual update report for at least three years after your grant has ended.

We’ve created this handy workflow, to show how these grants work from application to completion. For more in-depth detail, please read our standard Terms and Conditions.

Quick links

Complete the Expression of Interest form on our online grants portal Flexigrant

Click here to download our Guidance Notes

Click here to download our Sample Application Form

Click here to see our workflow showing how these grants work, from application to payment.

Top tip

Your application needs to be signed by your line manager and your relevant director. It can take time to arrange this, so make sure you factor this in when you’re planning your application.

Still have questions?

Read our Innovate at Imperial FAQs