Opportunities to provide support for COVID-19

We know that many in our medtech community are eager to provide support for frontline healthcare workers in light of the challenges that they are currently experiencing.

To make it easier to find opportunities to contribute, we’ll continually update this page* with relevant calls posted by our partners so that you have them all in one place.

*Page last updated on Tuesday 30 June 2020.


UKRI GCRF/Newton Fund Agile Response call to address COVID-19

Proposals are invited for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak in Low and Middle-Income Countries.

This call is funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund which seeks to address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, and strengthen capability for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries.

There is no specific budget for this call, instead the funders are interested in supporting research of any scale that can demonstrate it will deliver impact during the lifetime of the project.

Click here to learn more.


Research projects to help improve the understanding and management of COVID-19 in people living with HIV

ViiV Healthcare has announced a Request for Research Proposals for Investigator Sponsored Studies (ISS).

This call supports basic and clinical research studies within specific areas of interest, with the goal of improving understanding and management of the COVID-19 pandemic in people living with HIV.

Click here to learn more.


Call for research on the risk factors, transmission and prevalence of COVID-19

A call for research proposals on the risk factors, transmission and prevalence of COVID-19 has been launched by UKRI and the NIHR.

The research funded will help inform policy decisions during the pandemic, including possible decisions about infection prevention strategies and relaxation of existing containment measures.

Learn more about the call here.


COVID-19 Protein Portal provides essential reagents for COVID-19 research

A new initiative, led by Wellcome and UKRI, will allow UK scientists to access protein reagents needed for critical research relating to SARS-CoV-2 free of charge from a consortium of leading protein production laboratories.

The COVID-19 Protein Portal contains a searchable database of reagents, including viral proteins, human proteins and antibodies relevant for SARS-CoV-2 biology. Each reagent is annotated with key information, including sequence, origin, and SDS-page results.

To access the reagents, researchers select the proteins they require from the database and submit their request with a short research proposal. All requests will be subject to rapid peer review, to enable the coordination and prioritisation of reagent allocation based on scientific merit and the urgency of the request.

Once approved, a request will be allocated to one of the CPPC’s expert protein production laboratories, all of whom are committed to providing high-quality reagents as quickly as possible.

Click here to learn more.


NIHR-BHF cardiovascular partnership COVID-19 research

The NIHR-BHF Cardiovascular Partnership are now welcoming proposals from the cardiovascular research community for COVID-19 flagship projects.

The flagship projects selected through this framework will be put forward for national approval and the NIHR-BHF team will look to leaders of infrastructure to support the research that is approved within their centres.

Click here to learn about the opportunity and how to submit a proposal.


Highlight notice – COVID-19 and ethnicity

There is emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes. There are also concerns that healthcare and other key workers who belong to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups may be particularly at risk.

To further understand this correlation, UKRI and NIHR welcome research proposals in two areas: 

  1. Impact of COVID-19 and association between ethnicity and COVID-19 in the general population.
  2. Impact of COVID-19 specifically on people working in health and social care from BAME backgrounds.

Research could include:

  • Studies to improve our understanding of genetic risk factors and how these manifest clinically, including in terms of immune responses to COVID-19 infection.
  • Secondary analysis of existing datasets to understand underpinning reasons for a disparity in outcomes for certain ethnic groups: underlying health conditions, multiple long-term conditions, lifestyle risk factors, deprivation, access and inequalities. The aim is, if possible, to identify modifiable risk factors.
  • Understanding and optimising behavioural responses to public health measures, including how to influence individuals and communities to make the behavioural or lifestyle changes necessary to reduce risk.
  • Mental health and how communities are responding to the crisis. This can include exacerbation of pre-existing mental health conditions and concomitant consequences, combined with support or interventions to improve health outcomes.

This highlight notice will be supported through the joint UKRI-NIHR COVID-19 rapid response rolling call. Details of this call, including eligibility and how to apply, are available on the NIHR website.

This is a rolling call so there is no set deadline for applications.


Diamond’s Rapid Access Call for Proposals

Diamond is offering researchers access to their instruments in an effort to support research which brings us closer to an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

Based on the number and nature of requests for priority rapid access, Diamond will make every effort to satisfy research priorities.

Submit a proposal for COVID-19 related research using the rapid access form here.


New solutions needed to support target of 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day

A new web platform has been set up by the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Bioindustry Association, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and the Royal College of Pathologists to support the drive to achieve 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of April.

In addition to scaling up existing technologies and channels, the government is looking for innovative solutions in specific areas. Solutions, ideas and comments can be uploaded to the platform, focusing on four key challenges:

  1. Dry swabs for use in virus detection – availability of swabs is essential to speed up testing;
  2. Transport media that inactivates the virus – increasing laboratory throughput and minimising processes including the need to handle test samples;
  3. Desktop PCR equipment for Point of Care Testing – using machines that enable fast, accurate and safe results for the operator;
  4. RNA extraction – new ‘ready to go’ methods of extracting viral RNA or enabling viral detection without an extraction step that can be integrated into PCR testing chains.

Learn more about the call here.


UKRI/NIHR COVID-19 rapid response initiative – rolling call

Building on the initial calls of their Initiative, DHSC, through the NIHR, and UKRI are jointly launching a rolling call for proposals for rapid research into COVID-19.

This call is to support UK-led academic, SME and wider industry research that will address a wide range of COVID-19 knowledge gaps/needs, and which will lead to a benefit in UK, and potentially international, public health within 12 months.

Eligibility

Academic Principal Investigators applying for this call must be hosted by a UK institution which is eligible for UKRI funding.

Applications from SMEs (including start-up or ‘spin-out’ companies), government arms-length bodies, and NHS organisations (including NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts), and equivalent UK authorities are also encouraged in alignment with NIHR funding policies, where these organisations are the lead applicant.

Awards to UK-based, non-SME commercial entities will be also considered.

Click here for all details about the call, and to apply.


Royal Academy of Engineering response to COVID-19

The Royal Academy of Engineering is keen to help identify potential solutions and facilitate useful contacts across its national and international engineering networks that could help our governments solve problems and assist the public health response.

There is an immediate need for ventilator manufacture, but they want to encourage innovation and ideas across all areas, including healthcare systems, critical infrastructure, business management and supply chain.

If you don’t feel able to respond to the specific requests below, there are still ways that you as an engineering professional can help with the effort to address the coronavirus, you can get in touch with the UK’s Royal Society via their online form.

  • If you have an academic background (PhD candidate or higher): sign up as a rapid reviewer for the UK’s Royal Society registered reports
  • If you use a computer: download Folding@home to harness your computer’s power in the fight against COVID-19

Defense and Security Accelerator open call competition

The Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) is currently seeking any idea or novel approach that could boost the Ministry of Defence’s capabilities in support of the national effort against Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Proposals should be clear as to whether they seek to address the current COVID-19 threat or future similar scenarios. Proposals addressing the current pandemic must have the ability or relevant permissions to successfully deliver the project despite current working restrictions.

Proposals for products or services that are already available on the market to solve challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic will not be considered. 

No funding limit is specified, however, proposals must demonstrate value for money. In addition, proposals for work completed on or before 31 March 2021 are in scope, but those that offer faster delivery are preferred.

Click here to learn more.


US Department of Defence offers funding for research of emerging viral diseases and respiratory health

The US Department of Defense, under its peer-reviewed medical research programme, invites applications for its investigator-initiated research award for emerging viral diseases and respiratory health.

This supports studies that will make an important contribution toward research or patient care in the areas of emerging viral diseases and respiratory health. Research must address at least one of the emerging viral diseases or respiratory health focus areas related to COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Projects may focus on any phase of research from basic laboratory research through to translational research but must have the potential to yield highly impactful data that could lead to critical discoveries or major advancements.

Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor based at any organisation anywhere in the world may apply. 

Click here to learn more.


National Institutes of Health offers administrative supplements for research on COVID-19

The National Library of Medicine invites applications for its notice of special interest – administrative supplements for research on COVID-19 funding opportunity.

Research is expected to focus on informatics and data science methods to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and should address one of the following areas of interest:

  • methods for mining clinical data that can be used to identify or predict the presence of COVID-19 in biomedical phenotype data;
  • public health surveillance methods that mine genomic, viromic, health data, environmental data or data from other pertinent sources to identify the spread and impact of SARS-Cov-2.

UK institutions are eligible to apply, but must already hold an active parent award.

Click here to learn more.


Find out how to get your study nationally supported or funded as high priority COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research

COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research is being prioritised to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested for COVID-19.

Government support is available to prioritise, coordinate and deliver these studies, regardless of sponsorship and funding source. This support includes expedited identification of sites to ensure appropriate geographical distribution of Urgent Public Health Research to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource.

Learn more about this support opportunity here.


UKRI funding call: Ideas to address COVID-19

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are inviting proposals for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

UKRI will support excellent proposals of 12-18 months duration which meet at least one of the following:

  • new research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

Applications can be submitted at any time, see the UKRI website for full details.


Government issues call for registrations to COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database

In this rapidly evolving situation, Parliament needs quick access to researchers who can provide expert insights relating to both Coronavirus and its impacts.

Parliament and Parliamentarians use these insights to help carry out their function effectively; that is to say, to represent the people, scrutinise the Government, debate important and pressing issues and pass legislation.

To speed up the process of Parliament accessing relevant research expertise, Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit (KEU) are creating a COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database.

If you feel you have any expertise relating to the COVID-19 outbreak or its impacts, the KEU would be very grateful if you would sign up to the database.

Signing up does not commit you to contribute in any way, it’s simply so that Parliament has your details to hand and can contact you very rapidly; if they contact you and you aren’t able to respond, they will fully understand.

You can find the link to the sign-up form here here.


Surgical MedTech Co-operative “PPE Challenge”

The Surgical MIC has just launched its PPE Challenge to protect front line workers from COVID-19 and keep health services functioning.

They have a team of clinicians and academics on standby to receive your challenges and solutions. Once they receive your entries, this team will prioritise those challenges and solutions in an effort to get them to the frontline during this pandemic. 

  • If you want to be involved in evaluating challenges and solutions, then please contact the Surgical MIC by emailing surgicalmic@leeds.ac.uk.
  • If you are a company and you have technology that could be adapted quickly for the healthcare setting, then they would also like to hear from you.
  • Challenges or solutions can be submitted using this form.

They will be updating their website with the challenges they receive. If you work within the NHS and would like to lead on any of the ideas presented, then please contact them by emailing surgicalmic@leeds.ac.uk.


COVID-19 and mental health*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Mental health research is critical to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on psychological, psychiatric and social functioning, and how to effectively mitigate this impact.

This highlight notice by UKRI is to call for research proposals with potential for significant public mental health impact within 12 months and encourage proposals focussing on preventative approaches/interventions.

The aim is to reduce the emergence of new, and exacerbation of existing, mental health problems, and to improve outcomes for those whose mental health has already been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deadline for applications: Monday 22 June 2020

Click here to learn more about the call and how to apply.


£150,000 competition for Covid-19 digital solutions*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Welsh Government have announced a new funding competition for digital solutions to help fight Covid-19. The competition is being supported by Digital Health Ecosystem Wales and funding is available for between five and eight projects to rapidly pilot products and solutions.

The competition is open to any UK business who has a digital solution to fight COVID-19. The solution must be developed and ready for testing during the application process. All solutions must tackle one of four themed areas:

  • Remote diagnosis and triage of patients
  • Optimising data collection and analysis
  • Tracking, managing and reporting hospital personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory
  • Remote citizen support and treatment

The deadline for applications is Monday 8 June 2020 at 9 am. Click here to learn more.


Research to support COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Elrha is launching an urgent funding call for research proposals to support the COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings.

The call aims to fund public health research that will produce robust findings that will contribute to the effectiveness of the current humanitarian response and increase the evidence base for future responses to similar infectious disease outbreaks.

Proposals must demonstrate how findings will directly inform the response to the current COVID-19 outbreak in humanitarian settings such as refugee camps or conflict-affected countries (e.g. in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia etc.).

Applications will be reviewed in rounds with deadlines as follows:

  • Round 1: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 13 April 2020
  • Round 2: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 20 April 2020
  • Round 3: 18.00 (GMT+1) on 4 May 2020

Click here to learn more.


NIHR Product Development Awards*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Awards (PDA) support innovations at any stage of the translational research and development pathway, including the clinical development of laboratory-validated technologies or interventions.

The i4i funding programme is participating in the 2020 NIHR Themed Call: ‘Injuries, accidents and urgent and emergency care’. For more information please see the specification document on the themed calls NIHR website.

This funding stream is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research. Research proposals must include applicants from two organisation types: an NHS Trust, higher education institution or small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME). There is no upper funding limit for Product Development Awards, but costs must be fully justified. Projects can be up to three years in duration.

The deadline for applications is 3 June 2020. Click here to learn more.


Microsoft AI for Health COVID-19 Grant*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Microsoft is accepting requests for the AI for Health programme for COVID-19 grant proposals from non-profits, academia, and governments. A focused effort for COVID-19 grant requests only, Microsoft will accept grants until 15 June 2020.

This grant programme provides Azure cloud and High-Performance Computing capabilities, as well as Microsoft’s team of AI for Health data science experts, whose mission is to improve the health of people and communities worldwide for collaborations with COVID-19 researchers as they tackle this critical challenge.

Click here to learn more about the grant and to submit an application.


Patient & Public involvement in COVID-19 studies*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) is at the forefront of the national agenda in undertaking strategic research to:

  • access to new, effective treatments for patients
  • understand the nature of the virus and how it behaves
  • improve diagnosis

In the coming weeks and months LTHT anticipate that they will be asked to send out a number of Patient Involvement Opportunities (PIO) relating to COVID -19.

This is likely to include surveys, patient information sheets to read and give feedback on, proposals for research studies to review etc. The timescales for feedback will most likely differ with what they would usually ask due to the speed that they are currently trying to establish new studies.

If you would like to hear about opportunities to get involved with PIO, complete the Patient and Public Involvement in COVID-19 Research details at the very bottom of this page on their website, and submit your details by Wednesday 22nd April.


Business-led innovation in response to global disruption (de minimise)*

*the application deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications must demonstrate both realistic and significant benefits for society (including communities, families and individuals) or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You must have the ability to deliver the project during the working restrictions of COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this grant, you can claim 100% of project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. These will be paid in advance of the project start date.

Projects will be monitored and evaluated by Innovate UK during implementation with a view to providing follow-on funding and support for those with the most potential for impact.

To learn more about the call, and for detailed guidance on how to submit an application, visit the funding page by clicking here.

The competition closes at midday 12 noon, 17 April 2020.