Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Sandpit on digital technologies for health and care

Update 24 August: Please note that due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the Sandpit on digital technologies for health and care will now be held virtually over three weeks in November 2020.

Participants will need to be available for three to five sessions (each session will be up to two hours in length) per week plus additional time for offline working. EPSRC will confirm the sandpit schedule as soon as possible.

The Smart Survey online form for completing an expression of interest to apply to the sandpit remains open with a deadline of 8 September 2020.

UKRI are pleased to invite participants to apply to attend a sandpit on Digital technologies for health and care.

The research councils within UKRI (MRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, STFC, AHRC, Innovate UK and NERC) have been working together to strengthen co-ordination around digital technologies for health and care and to identify opportunities in this area.

In 2019, UKRI with input from the community, mapped the digital health portfolio, produced a definition for digital health and highlighted opportunities for the research councils to take forward.

One of the areas which has been highlighted for strengthening is building coordinated and well-informed research and innovation communities, with the appropriate multidisciplinary and cross-sector skills and expertise in digital health.

As a result, UKRI would like to run a sandpit to bring the different communities in this area together. This is the first sandpit in a series of three which will be advertised over the next three years.

The theme for this sandpit is novel digital technologies for improved self-monitoring and health management.

Successful projects from the sandpit should either have a new approach to self-monitoring of conditions (especially conditions which are harder to manage and where there are fewer tools available for interventions) or that seek to identify novel digital technologies that will ultimately enable the public to better manage their health in their own homes and in the community.

These smarter interventions should reduce the time that the public spends engaged with the traditional healthcare delivery system and enable a faster recovery or better management of their health.

It is expected that up to £1.2 million of UKRI funding will be made available to fund research projects arising from this sandpit. Each project funded is expected to be in the region of £400,000.

The concept of the sandpit is an interactive workshop on a topic, involving 25-30 participants. The focus for this sandpit is ‘Novel digital technologies for improved self-monitoring and health management’.

Please note that businesses are not eligible to apply for funding through this scheme, so please refer to research council eligibility criteria.

The sandpit will run virtually over three weeks in November 2020.

As the sandpit progresses, participants will build up thoughts on how the identified ‘challenges’ may be addressed and develop their innovative ideas and activities into research projects.

Projects will contain genuinely novel and speculative research. The sandpit will include inputs from a variety of sources.

Key dates

Call launched February 2020
Call close (expressions of interest) 8 September 2020 at 16.00
Participant selection panel: October 2020
Sandpit: November 2020
Funding application deadline: w/c 18 January 2021
Funding announcement: February 2021

Contact details

For further information, please contact:


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