UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


IHE Healthy Ageing Challenge Award

20 June 2022

Call for proposals for 2022. Deadline 20 July.

IHE Healthy Ageing Challenge Award

Continuing IHE’s work on Healthy Ageing and building on our activities with the Tomorrow’s Home project (read our short report here), the Age Innovation Hub and Healthy Ageing Policy workshop, this award will support projects that can show great potential in addressing pressing challenges in healthy ageing through the development of innovative technology and digital solutions co-produced with end users and their communities.

IHE’s Healthy Ageing Challenge Award aims to stimulate innovation through the principles of Responsible Innovations and genuine Co-Production. This reflects IHE’s core belief that for healthcare engineering to achieve meaningful impact, it must address real needs and co-created through interdisciplinary collaborations.

Defining the need and therefore the solution must be done in partnership with a multi-disciplinary team of end-users, researchers, technology designers, service designers from both specialist and generalist communities whose perspectives and experience will inform the design of impactful solutions.

Inspired by the NESTA Challenge Prize, we believe that “the best solutions will be generated by opening up the problem to a wider pool of innovators” and we welcome cross-sector collaborations between academia, the public and private sectors, charity, lay experts, health experts and community groups.

The award package

An award of £10,000 each will be given to seven projects addressing any one of the following Healthy Ageing Challenges with a healthcare engineering solution.

  1. Creating/supporting healthy active places
  2. Design for age friendly homes
  3. Living with cognitive impairment
  4. Managing common complaints of ageing
  5. Maintaining health at work
  6. Supporting social connections
  7. Sustaining physical activity

To help develop their project and co-create innovative solutions with their intended communities and the end-users of their technology, successful teams will also receive the following training and development support:

At the end of the award period, all seven projects will be entered into a Dragon’s Den competition, where one successful project will receive an additional £50,000 to continue their work into the next stage of the translation pathway. Further details about the Dragon’s Den process and selection criteria will be released nearer the time.

Award timeframe

The award period will consist of the following activities:

Part 1: mid-JulyAward allocation
Part 2: mid-July – AugustSet up of training programmes for each project group
Part 3: August – DecemberProject development/project activities
Part 4: January 2023Dragon's Den competition

 IHE support

IHE’s Research and Development (R&D) Manager will support each project team by coordinating their support and training programme with each of the providers. Project management support and advice will also be available, where required and requested.

The IHE Communications and Impact Manager, and Content, Marketing and Community Manager will be available for support as and when required.

IHE’s Research and Infrastructure Delivery Group will be available for advice as required, through support from IHE’s R&D Manager.


Applications are open to UCL staff members with the following roles

  • Professor/Professorial Teaching Fellow or equivalent
  • Reader or equivalent
  • Senior Lecturer/Principal Researcher/Principal Research Associate/Senior Teaching Fellow or equivalent
  • Lecturer/Senior Research Associate/Teaching Fellow or equivalent
  • Post Doc/Researcher/Post Doc Fellow/Research Associate or equivalent are eligible provided the contract covers the spend and activity period

Proposals must:

  • be UCL led (i.e. the main applicant must be from UCL);
  • address at least one of the seven Health Ageing Challenges with an innovative technological/digital solutions to be developed and/or piloted;
  • give careful consideration to how they will leverage both the monetary and non-monetary support provided by the award; 
  • give careful consideration to the end-user and community engagement, and the nature of the partnership they wish to develop as part of their project delivery;
  • be from an interdisciplinary team.

Additional requirements

  • Project teams must submit a standalone worktribe costings as part of their proposal. 
  • Expenditure of the £10,000 award must be made within the first 6 months and used within 1 year from being awarded.
  • Project key milestones must be set to include preparedness for the Dragon’s Den competition, but project delivery and completeness must be independent of this additional award. (This means, for example, having a piloted scheme/end-user tested prototype with sufficient (quantitative and qualitative) data to show it could be a SMART and very pertinent solution to the Healthy Challenge being addressed).

Projects who are unsuccessful in the Dragon’s Den competition, but have delivered innovative potentials will receive support from IHE R&D Manager to seek additional funds.  

Download the application form

Submission deadline: 10am, Wednesday 20 July 2022

To submit your application or for further information please contact: Marilyn Aviles, IHE R&D Manager, marilyn.aviles@ucl.ac.uk