EIT Health partners Oxford University, Imperial College London, Coimbra University and University of Lisbon are collaborating on an exciting 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 the research. From now until 16 June, we are seeking applications from suitable DPhil/PhD candidates (based at these academic partners only), whose innovative work would benefit from such a pre-seed (spark) award.


The aim of the DPhil/PhD Transition Fellowship Program is to address the innovation-funding gap between completion of the doctoral thesis and obtaining further seed funding. Applicants should be in their final year of submission and close to the award of their doctoral thesis. The funding is for the period post-thesis submission and pre-thesis defence. The most innovative propositions (pitches) presented will be selected and the respective DPhil/PhD candidates’ host departments will be provided with a pre-seed fellowship award to fund accelerated development of discovery research in the applicantsfirst 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 must clearly meet the EIT Health objectives outlined on their website (https://eit.europa.eu/eit-community/eit-health).


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, thus obtaining valuable feedback on their innovative proposition. The inital pitch will be in the form of a 5-minute presentation followed by 5-minute discussion at the applicant’s home university on 7th July for Oxford and Imperial students and 10th July for Coimbra and Lisbon. Shortlisted f inalists will have a 1 in 2 chance of an award following the final stage 30 minute interview on 22nd/29th September 2017. This final stage will entail a longer application for completion in conjunction with the applicable Technology Transfer Office, a 15 minute pitch and 15 minutes questions. Applicants are directed to the following useful websites to prepare for the initial and (if applicable) also the subsequent second stage pitch:

Successful applicants will receive EUR 10,000-EUR 25,000 towards the cost of accelerated development of their idea in their first post-doctoral year, to be used before the end of 2017. For example, funding can be used to further evaluate or translate research ideas, part-fund a salary or prepare a 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).

Awards will be made at three (3) levels:

  • Gold: EUR 25,000
  • Silver: EUR 15,000
  • Bronze: EUR 10,000

In addition to the monetary award, sucessful candidates will be supported in obtaining transferable skills during an EIT Health-organised bootcamp for entrepreneurship training, which includes professional pitch training by a highly-skilled pitch coach. Recipients of fellowships will be further supported by the technology transfer and intellectual property o ff ices of the universities involved for the duration of their fellowship. This will include help to assess the commercial potential of their results, to protect and manage the associated intellectual property, to identify the optimal route to commercialisation (e.g. license to an existing company versus spinning out a new company), to def ine what potential commercial partners expect in terms of proof of concept for a given technology, to secure follow on translational funding where needed to achieve proof of concept, and to identify, attract and secure potential partners/investors to further develop and commercialise new healthcare technologies.

Eligibility and Submission of Applications

Eligible applicants must be DPhil/PhD students enrolled at Oxford University, Imperial College, University of Coimbra or University of Lisbon who are in their 3rd or 4th year of doctoral training in a field relevant to EIT Health (see www.eithealth.eu). 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 (CET) on 16 June 2017.

Eligible proposals comprised of 3 parts:

  • 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 2017, date of completion of doctoral funding, strong support for the applicant, the proposal objectives and (if applicable) confirming approval from the head of department (The applicant must remain with the PhD group or team).
  • a copy of the certificate obtained after completion of the quick, fun and easy on-line (UK government) training course on intellectual property (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/blogs/iptutor/).

Please note: Missing components will result in the application being rejected.

Evaluation and Timelines

Upon submission of the online application, all eligible applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session in July 2017 to present their innovative propositions in front of a selection panel in the form of a 5min pitch followed by a 5min discussion time. The panel will comprise of university faculty members, university intellectual property services, technology transfer offices, EIT Health and local funding partners and angel investors. Confidentiality agreements will be in place. The panel will shortlist up to 12 applicants in each location, who will be invited for a second and final pitch (22nd September 2017 for Oxford and Imperial candidates at EIT Health UK-Ireland headquarters in London and on the 29th September 2017 for Lisbon and Portugal candidates, Venue tbc).
At the final pitch session, candidates will be asked to re-pitch their 15min proposal followed by a 15min interview. The chance to be successful at this stage will be at least 1 in 2, and awards will be made available to the host departments of successful applicants as a lump sum beginning in October 2017.

To register, use the form here.

Contact Information

Questions relating to this call for proposals only should be directed to: