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BHP Seed Fund

Are you an early-career researcher or aspiring clinical academic with an innovative solution to a local health burden or system challenge? Do you need funding to pump-prime your research and develop your idea into a viable and impactful project?

The Birmingham Health Partners (BHP) Seed Fund is designed to support short-term, innovative projects which address common challenges across our member organisations and support our culture of research-embedded healthcare practice. It is intended to catalyse interdisciplinary research and development by bringing together healthcare professionals, academics, students and entrepreneurs, to deliver the initial steps towards implementable solutions.

Working with our NHS partners we have identified a number of broad themes that we believe are receptive to innovation. We will therefore strongly support applications for projects which directly relate to these key priority areas for our region:

  • Health data and AI
  • Engineering into health settings
  • Sustainability
  • Health inequalities
  • Health systems and evaluation

The aim of the fund is to provide early-stage support and proof of concept for projects which will have swift impact on patients outcomes and experiences, but can also be further developed or rolled out more widely.

Interdisciplinary projects and those which harness collaborative working between BHP member organisations are highly encouraged, as will those which align closely with the strategic plans of your organisation, the Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Service, and national service priorities.

About BHP Seed Fund

What does the BHP Seed Fund offer

We will provide funding of up to £100,000 per project for a maximum period of one year.

The seed fund is also underpinned by:

  • A lean application process
  • Shared decision making via the BHP Executive and supplemental expertise when required
  • Accelerated ethics/permissions process where possible.

Provision of mentorship and access to key skills and networks

Who can apply

Applications are welcomed from anyone working within BHP’s member organisations:

  • The University of Birmingham
  • Aston University
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • West Midlands Academic Health Science Network

You do not need to be a clinician – colleagues from all healthcare professional backgrounds can apply.

Awards will be actively managed with an expectation that if successful, teams will seek external funding to amplify their work.

How to apply

The application cycle is currently closed, however the application process is detailed below for future reference.

Interested individuals are invited to express their interest by email, briefly outlining what your innovation is, its current state of development/readiness, what collaborations and expertise you need to access to take it further and how you and any team that you need to assemble would make use of the seed fund if successful.


They will then be invited to a sandpit event to explore ideas and bring together individuals and organisations with complementary aims and expertise.

At the sandpit, run by experienced facilitators, we will explore attendees’ ideas in order to:

  • Connect (get to know each other)
  • Comprehend (map the territory)
  • Create (generate ideas)
  • Cultivate (form project teams)
  • Contract (agree proposals to take forward)

Sandpit sessions will adhere to the principals of best practice in patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE).

Following the sandpit event, applicants will be asked to submit a formal application form which will be reviewed by a small panel of BHP Executive members.

Indicative timeline:

  • Expressions of interest opens: June
  • Sandpit event: Aug/Sep
  • Formal application deadline: October
  • Panel decision: November
  • Applicants notified: November

Terms and conditions

PIs will need to ensure appropriate ethical approval is in place, and appropriate research governance is followed, including management of cross organisational processes and relevant collaboration agreements. Projects which require multi-organisational approvals may require a longer time frame for delivery.

The PI’s employing organisation will be the project sponsor.

PIs will draw on local R&D/R&KT support as required but may wish to ensure that the appropriate academic/professional services resource is in place as part of the bid.

PIs will be required to provide regular updates on progress, as agreed with the BHP Executive, taking into account project length and expected timelines for activity.

PIs will also be required to provide monthly finance spend to the BHP core team.

Appropriate reporting to BHP Board, including presentation of outcomes if required, will also be expected to a timeline agreed on award of funding.

Appropriate communications plans will be required to raise the profile and output of the work.

More information

Applicants are encouraged to contact Sarah Turner, BHP Operational Lead for more information: