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NHS Cancer Programme - Innovation Open Call 3

Competition has now closed

View the Winners here

Competition timeline

  1. Announcement of Innovation Open Call 3
    26 January 2024
  2. Launch event (online)
    06 February 2024 3:00 pm
  3. Online Innovation matchmaking event
    12 March 2024 2:00 pm
    04 April 2024 10:00 am
  5. Applications Open
    08 April 2024
  6. Q&A
    18 April 2024 11:00 am
  7. Applications Close
    29 May 2024 1:00 pm
  8. Assessment
    June 2024
  9. Peer review (if shortlisted)
    July 2024
  10. Interview Panel
    02 October 2024
  11. Interview panel
    03 October 2024
  12. Contracts awarded
    November 2024

NHS England has launched a new round of its funding competition for innovation in the early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

Based on the Rapid Cancer Registration Dataset, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at an early stage has started to improve for the first time in a decade. However, there is recognition that this improvement needs to accelerate.

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) set ambitions for cancer; that by 2028, 75% of people will be diagnosed earlier, at stage one or two, and an extra 55,000 people will survive cancer for five years or more.

Applications are invited for innovations or new approaches that will detect cancers earlier and increase the proportion diagnosed at stage one or two.

The competition aims to fast-track high quality, proven, late-stage innovations into front-line settings, as well as address implementation evidence gaps.

The competition is open to all types of innovation, including but not limited to, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, digital health solutions, behavioural interventions, software, artificial intelligence, and new models of care.

The NHS is committed to tackling health inequalities. Applications for projects that tackle health inequalities in the early diagnosis of cancer are welcomed. All applicants are required to consider the impact of their innovation on health inequalities and to develop appropriate mitigations.

Innovations will be 100% funded up to the total value of £4M (excluding VAT) over a maximum of 24 months.

The competition is led by the NHS Cancer Programme with support from SBRI Healthcare and the Accelerated Access Collaborative. The support of Cancer Alliances and the Health Innovation Networks, plays a key role in enabling spread and adoption.

To date over £24.5m has been funded through the NHS Cancer Programme Innovation Open Call across 14 projects, impacting 30,000 patients so far. See case studies.


ONLINE Event: Innovation Matchmaking Event for the Early Detection of Cancer – Tuesday, 12 March, 2pm- 5pm
If you’d like to connect with the Cancer Alliances and Health Innovation Networks to form new partnerships, ask questions and share experiences.

ONLINE Prep Session: GET READY TO APPLY - Thursday, 4 April 2024, 10am-12pm
If you’d like to hear insights, advice and tops tips on how to draft your evaluation plan, effectively use data to outline the potential impact of your innovation on early cancer diagnosis, consider health inequalities, and prepare a competitive application.

ONLINE Q&A, Thursday 18 April 2024, 11am-12.30pm
Join us for a drop-in session with the SBRI Healthcare Programme Management Office (PMO) team and NHS Cancer Programme Innovation team to ask questions about the Call.

How to Apply:

Please ensure you are registered on the Research Management System (RMS) in order to begin your application.

We advise that you register on the RMS 7 days in advance of the competition deadline in order to have your account approved on time.

Please read the Challenge brief and competition documents below, the FAQs - Innovation Open Call 3 page, the Applicant Guidance and Portal Guidance.

Please note that all documents below that are marked with an asterisk are there to provide additional support with independent evaluation plan development.

Applications open on Monday 8 April 2024 and close on Wednesday 29 May 2024, 1pm.

Watch a recording of the Briefing Webinar.

Supporting documents


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