You should find below the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the NIA. If the information you require is not covered, then please do contact us.
The NIA is for mature innovations with an evidence base, ready to scale in the NHS, and where there is no easy or obvious mechanism for adoption. As such, there is a clear need for a national platform like the NIA to assist in overcoming systemic barriers to adoption at scale in the NHS.
The 2017 Call for Applications is seeking innovations that address one or more of the following three challenges:
Individuals from a range of organisations are eligible to apply, including NHS, public sector, University, industry, and voluntary sectors. The employing or host organisation needs to be established and beyond start up, but also requiring support through the NIA to expand within the NHS.
The 2017 NIA challenges have been identified as the three of the main 2017/18 national service improvement priorities for the NHS in the Next Steps of the Five Year Forward View.
The challenges were agreed through national engagement with NHS stakeholders, patients, Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and NHS England, with a focus on the priorities detailed within the country’s 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
If you have read all the published documents but still have questions, there are a number of webinars and information events you can join to find out more:
These face-to-face events are designed to:
Places are limited and you must register to attend these events:
|Wednesday 28 June||TBC||Manchester||TBC|
|Monday 3 July||TBC||London||TBC|
The weekly webinars are open to anyone without prior registration. The webinars will provide detailed information about the application process and the NIA. Slides will be made available for these sessions and there will be an opportunity for Q&A.
Joining instructions for each webinar will be available shortly:
The NIA cannot offer a guaranteed route to widespread adoption across the NHS.
The ethos of the accelerator is to provide a range of support in response to the needs of each Fellow and the barriers to uptake their innovation faces within the NHS. This includes a bespoke learning programme, mentorship and networking opportunities to equip Fellows with critical knowledge, relationships and skills to scale innovation in the NHS. .
Each NIA Fellow is provided with:
At the end of the initial 12 months, each Fellow should have the following in place:
NIA opens for applications
Application form assessment
Invitation to interviews
Decision making panel
Outcomes communicated to applicants
Due diligence and contracting
Quarterly events (Fellows’ attendance mandatory)
14 June 2017
Midnight 26 July 2017
27 July - 3 August 2017
4 August - 5 September 2017
15 September 2017
Week commencing 18 September 2017
26-29 September 2017
10 October 2017
12 October 2017
12-30 October 2017
22 November 2017
25 January 2018
25 April 2018
18 July 2018
26 September 2018
The NIA focusses on the development and support of individuals, and therefore all applications must include a sole named applicant.
The NIA is for innovations that are both ready to scale across the NHS in England, and that have the necessary resources and team to scale across England over a 12-month period and beyond. Therefore the NIA is looking to recruit SMEs and larger organisations, rather than start-ups.
The NHS Innovation Accelerator is open to international applicants. We are looking for a breadth of innovations so provided you meet the criteria specified in the call to actions, please do apply.
An application does not need the support of an AHSN prior to submitting an application form. However, you may wish to engage your local AHSN to discuss your application and to seek advice on your scaling plans before submitting your application.
Furthermore, to be appointed, at least one AHSN must be willing to support the scaling of the innovation. The NIA core team will co-ordinate this process. There is likely to be value in engaging your local AHSN to discuss your application and seek advice.
All 15 AHSNs across England are official NIA partners. The role of a lead AHSN for a particular Fellow will entail providing local networking, showcasing and championing to facilitate opportunities for local adoption of NIA innovations. It will also provide feedback and constructive advice as to the Fellow’s 12-week Sprint plans (e.g. diffusion strategies/approaches) and how these could be strengthened. Furthermore, AHSNs will navigate fellows to local innovation support infrastructure and information, e.g. fellowships, training opportunities, IP and commercial expertise, etc.
It is anticipated that this will entail fortnightly meetings at the beginning of the programme, which may then move to monthly, plus email/telephone communication in between meetings. We recognise that every Fellow will have a bespoke set of needs, as will the level of support that an AHSN can provide. As such, there is a degree of flexibility as to what is provided by the lead AHSN, the mentor and the NIA core team.
NIA Fellows need to be able to commit two days per week to scaling their innovation as part of the NIA. These two days per week will include attendance at quarterly events, working up and implementing sprint plans, providing updates to the NIA team, meeting mentors and lead AHSNs, etc.
For some Fellows, this will be part of your normal jobs – where scaling their innovation is their everyday business. For others, particularly those who are based in clinical roles, it might mean a different set of tasks from the day to day. This could range from building a compelling business case for intended purchasers, developing and executing a stakeholder engagement and marketing plan, building a network, developing a health economic case, presenting to target purchasers, and so on.
We would expect the two days per week will vary for each Fellow depending on the type of innovation and your strategy for scaling.
If you are an employee of an NHS organisation, you must have the permission of your employing organisation to apply to the NIA and to commit to the time required. The application form must be signed off by an accountable member of staff at your organisation or it will not be considered.
In 2017, a bursary fund of £240k will be available. The fund will be allocated evenly across all appointed, eligible Fellows. To be eligible to access the bursary, Fellows will need to demonstrate a clear need for this funding within their application form. It will be assumed that large private companies will not seek to access the NIA bursary. .
The bursary is intended to support the scaling of your innovation and/or your own personal development to support you in your scaling efforts. You can also use your bursary for travel to NIA events.
The uses for the bursary are likely to fall into the following categories:
The bursary cannot be used to cover, for example:
The NIA year is structured around a series of four 12-week sprints, which support delivery of your overall scaling ambition. At the beginning of each 12-week sprint, you will be asked to set out a plan for the coming 12 weeks, including the type of support you need from the NIA. As part of this, you can request to use your bursary but you will need to clearly show how it supports delivery of the 12-week sprint.
The bar for NIA Fellows/innovations is high, and the requirement for full participation needs to be demonstrated by all Fellows throughout the accelerator, with a consequence of exiting the programme if requirements are not met.
The expectations placed upon Fellows is detailed within the Call for Applications and also within the contract Fellows are required to sign, along with their organisations, to formally join the NIA. As part of this commitment, Fellows agree to spend two days per week on the NIA, are required to attend the launch and four quarterly events, and submit progress reports. At the start of the NIA, they will develop and agree a scaling plan with their lead AHSN and the NIA core team. As part of this, Fellows agree a minimum set of activities they will deliver during the coming 12 months.
Fellows may be asked to leave the programme in the circumstance that they:
The Clinical Entrepreneurs programme provides specialty fellowship training for Doctors and wider health professionals who have a great idea for a commercial, social or charitable enterprise. Fellows on the Clinical Entrepreneurs programme will be supported to develop entrepreneurial skills alongside their clinical training.
In contrast, the NIA is for anyone with a mature, evidence-based innovation that is ready to scale and provides the support to both develop the individual and to scale their innovation at pace.
The Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations. There are 15 across the country and these should be your first port of call for support with your innovation.
Please visit http://www.ahsnnetwork.com/about-academic-health-science-networks/ to identify your local AHSN.
The NIA is specifically for innovations that are beyond start up i.e. they are already being used, have an evidence base and are ready to scale.
If the NIA is not suitable for your innovation, there is a variety of support available elsewhere including:
The core NIA team provides administration and co-ordination for the accelerator including:
Unlike other accelerators, the NIA is both a fellowship programme (focused on capability building for individuals, and in some cases their wider team) and an accelerator of innovation adoption (providing a ‘lit runway’ for high impact innovations).