Closing date: 30th June 2016, 12:00 noon (BST)


Call document

Online application


EIT Health partners Imperial College London and Oxford University are piloting an exciting new competitive funding scheme focused on closing the gap between completion of the doctoral thesis and obtaining seed funding for innovative ideas, products and services based on said DPhil/PhD research. We are now seeking applications from suitable DPhil/PhD candidates (based at these two academic partners), whose innovative work would benefit from such a pre-seed (spark) award.


Background & Purpose

Barriers to innovation in the context of academic and research institutions include the lack of transferable entrepreneurship training, lack of real world commercial experience for doctoral level candidates and, importantly, funding to enable transition of ideas and innovative discoveries into commercially linked programs and ultimately new products and services. Oxford University and Imperial College have well-developed commercialization infrastructure, but recognize a growing unmet need in terms of appropriate mechanisms to support entrepreneurial activities amongst students and early career researchers, and particularly in developing very early stage commercial concepts – including commercial hypotheses without any initial data – to a point at which they can benefit from existing funding sources.

The aim of the DPhil/PhD transition fellowship program is to address the funding gap between completion of the doctoral thesis and obtaining further seed funding. Applicants should be typically in their final year of submission and close to the award of their doctoral thesis. The most innovative propositions (pitches) presented will be selected and the respective DPhil/PhD candidates’ host departments will be provided with a pre-seed (spark) award to fund accelerated development of discovery research in the applicants first post-doctoral year. The funding is not to be used for the continuation of DPhil/PhD doctoral programs or for conventional post-doctoral funding.



The application process is quick and simple, all eligible applicants will benefit from the opportunity to pitch and subsequently discuss their proposal with the selection panel and thus obtain valuable feedback on their innovative proposition. This inital pitch will be in the form of a 5 minute presentation followed by 10 minute discussion in either Oxford (7th July 2016) or London (8th July 2016). Shortlisted finalists will have at least a 1 in 2 chance of an award following a 30 minute interview in September.

Successful applicants will receive EUR 5,000-EUR30,000 towards the cost of accelerated development of their idea in their first post-doctoral year. For example, funding can be used to further evaluate or translate research ideas, part-fund a salary or prepare the case for seed funding. The funding is not meant for the continuation of DPhil/PhD programs or for conventional postdoctoral funding (applicants requiring such funding are encouraged to explore other sources).

Non-monetary benefits include access to an EIT Health-organised bootcamp in innovation and entrepreneurship (incl. pitch training by a highly-skilled pitch coach) as well as on-going support from the technology transfer and intellectual property offices of Oxford University and Imperial College. Further details thereof can be found in the call document.


Eligibility & Submission of Applications

Eligible applicants must be DPhil/PhD students enrolled at Oxford University or Imperial College, who are in their 3rd or 4th year of doctoral training in a field relevant to EIT Health (see This can include any medical, social, IT or technical research which is applicable to the objectives of EIT Health in promoting healthy living and active ageing.


Proposals must be submitted using the online application form and must be received by no later than 12:00 noon on 30th June 2016. Eligible proposals comprise:


  • a brief summary of the candidates innovative research idea or discovery (max 250 words)
  • a supporting letter or email from the DPhil/PhD supervisor detailing excellent progress towards thesis submission in 2016 and date of completion of doctoral funding, strong support for the applicant, the proposal objectives and (if applicable) confirming approval from the head of department
  • a copy of the certificate obtained after completion of the quick and easy on-line UK government training course on intellectual property (


Detailed information regarding the evaluation process (incl. timelines) is provided in the call document.


Contact Information

Questions relating to this call for proposals only should be directed to (Oxford University) or (Imperial College London).
For more information on EIT Health please refer to the website ( Any general questions regarding the EIT Health UK-Ireland CLC should be directed to