The Access to Innovation Fund is a new grant fund focussed on supporting people with early stage innovative ideas with the aim of enhancing patient care and supporting the NHS. Although applications regarding the management of long term conditions are encouraged, other areas will also be considered.

The fund is a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd but will be independently administered and distributed by the Apperta Foundation. Successful applications must be through social enterprises and applications from profit making companies will not be considered.

Apperta are seeking projects which already have a prototype of their product, approach or innovation but require a bridging investment to develop further prior to a pilot.

In order to maximise the dissemination and benefit to the NHS, any software produced as part of this funding, and any documents or other materials that are produced, must be released under a open source or creative commons licence.

Individual awards are likely to be in the region of £10,000 to £25,000. Proposals exceeding this range should make an exceptional case based on value and impact of the proposed project.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 13 December 13:00 GMT.

Further details and answers to frequently asked questions may be found below, while applicants may contact should they have further questions.

Applications are now closed

Frequently Asked Questions

What costs can be included? Can you give any examples of the kinds of things you might fund?

Funding can be used to support direct expenditure required to develop the proposed project. Examples may include:

We won’t fund:

How will the application process work?

After the initial application form above, we will shortlist selected projects and conduct phone interviews with the applicants between the January 24 - 31. At this stage we are likely to request some additional information from applicants, which we will use to make a final decision by February 15th 2018.

Who owns IP for materials produced by funding from the Access to Innovation Fund?

The IP remains with you as an applicant, although we expect materials directly funded by this fund to be released under a free software license.

What is Boehringer Ingelheim’s involvement in the fund?

The Access to Innovation Fund brings the Boehringer Ingelheim vision of Value Through Innovation to life, by supporting social enterprises which are working to improve health outcomes, enhance patient care and wellbeing, and make the healthcare system more efficient.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation Fund is independently administered by the Apperta Foundation CIC.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Innovation Fund was launched in November 2017, with a £100,000 grant to the Apperta Foundation from Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd.

The Fund will support social enterprises which are working to improve health outcomes, enhance patient care and wellbeing, as well as releasing clinicians’ time for patient care by creating more efficiencies in the healthcare system.

Projects supported by the Fund will use innovative ways to address unmet needs of patients with long term conditions.

Grants are awarded in an open and transparent process, led by an independent panel appointed by the Apperta Foundation CIC. Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd has no influence whatsoever, directly or indirectly, on this process.

All outcomes from Projects supported by the Fund will be published, in line with the Fund’s principle of openness and transparency. Any software developed with support from the Fund will be shared with an open source or creative commons licence.

I don’t have a social enterprise and I’m not sure I want to start a new one for this funding - what should I do?

We understand. Setting up a new social enterprise brings its own administrative and legal obligations, and takes you away from actually developing your ideas and project. If you’re not sure you’re ready yet to have a dedicated social enterprise just for your project, that’s OK.

Although the governance of the fund means we have to award money to social enterprises and we can’t award it to individuals directly, we may be able to help find a social enterprise with appropriate governance willing to hold the cash for your project on your behalf.

If this sounds like you, then do get in touch to discuss further at

I don’t have a prototype yet, what should I do?

If you don’t have a prototype yet that’s fine - it just means you have a little further to go along your journey ! This programme is specifically seeking projects that have spent some time exploring their problem domain and validating their ideas. That’s one of the reasons we’re launching this fund to coincide with NHS Ideas Lab. Hackathons are a great way to spend some time working with a small multidisciplinary team and perhaps develop an initial prototype of your idea.

If you’d like to know more about how to get your idea to the point where you have a prototype, as well as other things that you can learn and do related to clinical innovation we’d love to talk to you anyway - part of what we do at Apperta is helping people along that journey. Drop us a line at

How long is the project expected to take and when is the earliest funds would be made available?

We expect most projects to be completed within six months, although if you have a particular reason to extend this we will consider extending this time frame. We would expect that projects commenced within the first quarter of 2018, and we should be in a position to release funds from January.

What do you mean by social enterprise as opposed to profit making company?

The institution applying must be a registered charity, community interest company, or non-dividend paying company limited by guarantee. This is a red-line condition for all applications.

Other forms of nonprofit institution are not eligible for this particular call.

Would you be prepared to part-fund a project?

In principle, yes. You should be prepared to provide details of the additional funding and we would be unlikely to fund projects where your additional funding had not yet been secured.

Will I be able to get feedback on my application if it has been unsuccessful?

We will be able to provide feedback on applications to those applicants who make the shortlist, however we are unable to provide feedback to all applications.

What expectation do you have of me as an applicant ?

As well as developing your project:

How do I handle VAT?

The amount of funding you ask for should be the total amount you require including an VAT. Feel free you get in touch with us if you have any further questions about this.

Can I apply from outside the UK

For this round, applications are limited to organizations based within the UK.

Do you have a preferable referencing style?