Section: Digital

Once you’ve developed a project to meet people’s needs, you may require external funding to make it happen.

There are many potential funders of innovation (including digital) in health and care, which the third sector can apply to.

Some of these require you to collaborate with others e.g. an SME. Also some will only be relevant if you are a social enterprise or have a social enterprise spin-out from your organisation. Direct weblinks to these are located in the ‘Resources’ section at the end of this article.

Potentially relevant to third sector (including social enterprises)

Potentially relevant to social enterprises only


Innovate UK – Open Innovation Challenges

They provide funding to projects which reduce demand by preventing ill health and increasing individual citizens’ ability to better manage their health or increase capacity by improving the quality of care provided within existing or reduced funding baselines.

  • Funding programme: Open Innovation Challenges
  • Organisation providing the funding: Innovate UK
  • Period the funding runs for: 10 funded challenges at different stages. Ongoing.
  • Funding range: up to £30,000 for Phase 1 (feasibility studies); up to £150,000 for Phase 2 (prototype development and testing).

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Tech for Good

This forth round of Tech for Good grants will seek to fund projects that address one of Comic Relief’s four core issue areas: Children Survive and Thrive, Global Mental Health Matters, Fighting for Gender Justice, or A Safe Place to Be. Comic Relief will also welcome applications addressing challenges related to disability and inclusion.

  • Funding programme: Tech for Good
  • Organisation providing the funding: Comic Relief
  • Period the funding runs for: Applications close on 25th March 2019. 12pm
  • Funding range: This round will fund up to 13 digital projects with grants of up to £48,000 over a period of nine months.

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By Design

Scottish Enterprise can offer funding to small to medium-sized businesses or social enterprises based in Scotland to support the design of a new product or service.

  • Funding programme: By Design
  • Organisation providing the funding: Scottish Enterprise
  • Period the funding runs for: ongoing
  • Funding range: £2,000 – £5,000

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SMART: Scotland

This grant is appropriate for SMEs looking at technological innovation in general. It funds technical feasibility studies and research and development (R&D) projects that have a commercial endpoint.

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R&D Grant

Through this grant, Scottish Enterprise can fund the Research & Development stage for Scottish businesses and social enterprises looking at developing new products, processes and services to improve company competitiveness and to benefit the Scottish economy.

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Innovation Vouchers scheme

The Innovation Vouchers Scheme finances the academic component of projects only, with social enterprises being required to contribute equivalent in an equal value in cash or in kind (such as staff time, materials or equipment) or a combination of both. The Scheme aims to aid and encourage businesses collaborating with Scotland’s universities or further education colleges to develop new products, services and processes through R&D projects.

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Horizon 2020 SME Engagement Scheme

This fund aims to encourage Scottish SMEs and academics to engage more effectively with European Funding by scoping and defining an opportunity for applications for the €70 billion Horizon 2020 European Funding programme. As above, it finances academic component only. Social enterprise must contribute equivalent in an equal value in cash or in kind (such as staff time, materials or equipment) or a combination of both.

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