NHS Innovation Accelerator launches search for medtech innovators

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) has officially launched its call for applications to the 2024 intake. It is chaired by Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, and applications close 22 October 2023.

Health and social care innovators with proven solutions are invited to apply to join the accelerator programme, which has been designed to support entrepreneurs in scaling their solutions into and across NHS England.

NIA alumni include the founder of healthcare staffing solution Locum's Nest, the creator of skin cancer melanoma tracking app SkinVision, the Founder and CEO of patient-controlled records system Patients Know Best, and the chief executive of The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA).


Launched in 2015, the NIA is the official, national-level NHS accelerator programme and is supported by the Accelerated Access Collaborative and the Academic Health Science Network. The programme is designed to support exceptional individuals to scale and adopt mature innovations across NHS England for enhanced patient outcomes, staff benefit and to grow employment in the UK.

Working with NICE, NHS England, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), the MHRA and industry organisations, the accelerator offers a bespoke programme of support to help innovators develop a partnership-led roadmap to scaling across the health and social care ecosystem.

Through access to an unrivalled group of mentors with extensive understanding of key health and social care challenges, the NIA offers an unparalleled depth of understanding and a uniquely mature approach to supporting growth.

The NIA currently supports 34 NIA Fellows representing 34 innovations, with an additional 63 alumni. To date, members have collectively launched their solutions across 3,171 NHS sites, have helped to create 1,244 jobs, and have won over 221 awards. Revenue in the UK from NIA innovations in the last year alone has surpassed over £18 million.

The programme

Successful applicants to the NIA will benefit from three years of support, followed by life-long access to the prestigious alumni network and peer community.

Accelerator Fellows participate in a focused education programme to gain insight into topics such as the NHS procurement process and pathway needs. The support offered is tailored to the Fellow’s requirements and knowledge gaps, focusing both on the innovator and on the innovation.

They also benefit from support and advice provided by experienced mentors, including Hassan Chaudhury, Adrian Downing, Archna Sharma and Pam Garside.

2024 Intake Themes

The recruitment call is focused on innovations that can address a health inequalities challenge within the themes highlighted in the NHS England Core20PLUS5, – an approach to reducing health inequalities for adults, children and young people.

Additionally, the call is open to all therapy areas with innovations that specifically support NHS England centred Carbon Reduction solutions.

The themes for the 2024 intake are:

  • Maternity (Adults)
  • Mental Health/ Severe Mental Illness (Adults, and Children and Young People)
  • Cancer (Adults)
  • Respiratory Disease / Asthma (Adults, and Children and Young People)
  • Hypertension/ Cardiovascular Disease (Adults)
  • Diabetes (Children and Young People)
  • Epilepsy (Children and Young People)
  • Oral Health (Children and Young People)
  • Carbon Reduction/Net Zero

Konrad Dobschuetz, NHS Innovation Accelerator National Director, said: “At the NIA, our core belief is that no one can solve health and social care’s biggest challenges alone. That’s why we champion a collaborative and mutually supportive approach to innovation that makes an impact. We’re looking forward to receiving another strong set of applications this year, and to meeting our new cohort of innovators who are committed to creating an NHS that is fit for the future.”

Professor Bola Owolabi, Director - Healthcare Inequalities, NHS England, said: “The NIA is a world-leading programme that I would strongly encourage innovators to apply to. Its offering is uniquely positioned in several important ways and on account of the expertise in the team and amongst the mentors, the reach it has into and across the NHS, and the access it has to the health and healthtech industry.”

Tom Whicher, Founder at DrDoctor and NIA Alumni, said: “I joined the NIA to understand how to scale my organisation successfully and to learn what it means to be a leader in a larger organisation. During my time as a Fellow, I was able to build my NHS network, build credibility and build contacts, all whilst being upskilled and mentored throughout DrDoctor’s journey from startup into scaleup phase.”

The NIA team is running virtual information and application support sessions in September and October (interested persons can register to attend.)