Funding for innovation

We are pausing our Innovate at Imperial programme for one year while we commission an external evaluation of the programme. Please keep checking back for updates.

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.

What are you looking for?

We’re looking for projects that:

  • relate to one or more of our strategic objectives:
    • to enhance patient experience throughout the care and treatment journey
    • to expand the Trust's capacity to deliver outstanding care and improve health outcomes
    • to support better health and wellbeing for patients in our surrounding communities.
  • 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, and explain how your project will be more effective than current practices or approaches
  • 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
  • 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 with a focus on equity and reducing health inequalities or variations in access, outcomes and experience of care by different patient groups 
  • projects with a focus on improving patient flow 
  • projects that replicate or repurpose existing work and systems, 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 can submit a Stage 2 application
  • 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 purely scientific and/or bench-based medical research
  • supplement a fellowship or active research, or the salary of a current/new research fellow or research nurse.


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?

Innovate at Imperial is open to all permanent clinical and non-clinical staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Lead (primary) and co-applicants with Trust honorary contracts are also eligible to apply, provided your role at the Trust includes delivering or supporting services to Trust patients (e.g. running clinics at one of the Trust’s hospitals, delivering operational functions such as ICT). Your honorary contract must not have an end date.

You will not be eligible to apply if you:
• have a fixed-term contract or any other type of Trust contract outside those mentioned above
• are employed by Imperial College London*
• and your team have previously been awarded an Innovate at Imperial grant that has yet to be completed and closed down.

*If your project is co-located at the College, we are supportive of College employees being part of the project team. If your Trust lead applicant would like to include a College employee’s salary in the project cost, they must first discuss this with us before submitting their Stage 1 application.
You may submit only one application. This includes if you’re a co-applicant on another Innovate at Imperial application. Co-applicants must also be permanent members of Trust staff.

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 Eiliazadeh,
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, high cost area supplement, and employer's pension and National Insurance contributions
  • 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 read the Guidance Notes for more information about the specific costs we can and cannot support.

In your application you’ll need to give us a detailed breakdown of all your costs, quotations for any items over £500 and a full justification for each cost. You must ensure you understand and comply with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust's procurement guidelines or Imperial College London's purchasing regulations for any purchases, especially those over £5,000. You can find more information on the intranet. Your purchasing department will also be able to support you.

When can I apply?

Applications for the current funding round are now closed. 

How do I apply?

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

Firstly, you need to complete a Stage 1 application using our online grants portal Flexigrant. If you’re shortlisted, we’ll then invite you to submit a full online application.

Applications for the current funding round are now closed.

Are resources available to help me with my application?
  • We’ve created the following resources to help you with your application:
  • For further support, please see the following key contacts at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust:

Intellectual property team

Dr Brunel Eiliazadeh,
Senior Business Planning Manager

Strategy, Research and Innovation team

Hannah Franklin, Strategy,
Research and Innovation Programme Manager

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

Philip Howard
T: 020 3675 2415

How does the funding work?

For more information, please read our Guidance Notes.

Quick links

Take a look at our infographic, Your Application Journey, to guide you through the application process step by step.

Read our Guidance Notes for lots of advice and support with your application.

Download our Sample Application Form (Stage 1) and Sample Application Form (Stage 2) for help answering the questions.

Complete our Signatures of Approval Form to finish your Stage 2 application.

You can download your Progress Report here.

On completion of your grant, download our End of Grant Report and End of Grant Report Q6a.

Online Grants Session

Join one of our drop-in sessions to find out more about our Innovate at Imperial programme.

If you have any funding queries or would like help with an application, click here to book onto one of the slots.

Top tip

Your application needs to be signed by your line manager and your relevant director. It can take time to arrange this - make sure you factor this in when you’re planning your application so you’re not caught out.

Still have questions?