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Reminder: £5m Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge – apply by 21 April!

By March 17, 2023No Comments

We have now reached the mid-way point in the application window for the £5m Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge, launched in January by the Addiction Healthcare Mission, led by the UK Office for Life Sciences (OLS) in partnership with the Scottish Health Industry Partnership (SHIP), part of the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO).

Applicants can bid for funding to develop innovative MedTech and Digital Health solutions that focus on detection of, response to, and intervention in potentially fatal drug overdose episodes.

The challenge is open for applications until 11am Friday 21st April. It is advised that applicants engage with test bed research partners by Monday 27th March to ensure there is enough time to develop the proposal.

This Innovation Challenge supports the aims of the Addiction Healthcare Mission, which is to reduce drug related deaths and harm. Therefore, this could be of interest to member companies in the genomic or companion diagnostic spaces who have products which can help with reducing adverse drug reactions (as 16% of all admissions are caused by ADRs).

Two Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competitions are open to applicants based on their existing stage of product development.

feasibility studies competition for products that require support at the prototype development stage where applicants can receive an initial £100,000 for a 4-month project. Successful projects at this phase will be invited bid for up to a further £500,000 for a 12-month product demonstration and patient testing project.

demonstration competition for applicants who have technology already at an advanced stage of development, near ready to be deployed in a real-world environment, where applicants can bid immediately for up to £500,000 for a 12-month project.

Potential areas of focus  

  • Priority areas for projects include technologies with the following applications:

o   Discrete digital technology solutions with intuitive and simple patient and responder centric design,

o   Simple alert or responder pathways that create effective responses to potentially fatal overdose events,

o   Enhance the ability to self-monitor by people who use drugs,

o   Improved equity of access, detection, and response in this vulnerable population through connected and safe digitalised platforms,

o   Enhance simple live intelligent data gathering processes, surveillance, and remote monitoring,


  • Possible innovative mechanisms and technologies could include:

o   Wearable devices or patches

o   Remote monitoring

o   Smartphone apps

o   Decentralised application environments

o   AI and machine learning

o   Gamification

o   Data analytics


  • The fund is open to applications from any type of organisation of any size, registered in the UK, European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) that can demonstrate a credible and practical route to market.
  • Applicants must work in conjunction with a suitable UK based test bed research partner to develop their solution.
  • Projects should set out to acquire evidence which will support future product approval and use of innovations across all the UK health systems (Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England).

Further information

  • The competition briefs and application forms with full details are available at the following links

o   SBRI: Overdose detection, response and intervention – feasibility

o   SBRI: Overdose detection, response and intervention demonstration

  • Supplementary information and background is available at:

o   SBRI Reducing Drug Deaths – Supplementary Information for Applicants


The Healthcare Missions team in the OLS can be contacted at:


Natalie Creaney