NRF Central Gap Fund
1. Which Innovation and Enterprise Office (IEO) manages the submission of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Central Gap applications for the public healthcare institutions?
2. How do I apply for the National Research Foundation (NRF) Central Gap Fund?
All Central Gap applications from the public healthcare institutions must be endorsed by NHIC. Please speak to the respective NHIC Cluster manager if you are interested in applying for the Central Gap Fund.
|Healthcare Cluster||NHIC Cluster Manager|
|SingHealth||Dr Tan Ee Lim|
|NHG||Dr Michael Ho, Dr Chuah Yon Jin|
|NUHS||Dr Yeow Siang Lin|
1. What does a typical deployment plan include?
It should include:
- Identification of the process and relevant offices, stakeholders who are supporting implementation and their roles and responsibilities.
- Study design to measure impact and/or value of the innovation being trial-ed or implemented.
- State scope and contributions of Public Healthcare Institution (PHI) vs private sector/international partners (if any) in the test-bedding and implementation plan
2. What does a Letter of Interest (LOI) from the Healthcare Cluster typically include and who should issue it?
This is a written document typically detailing a buyer’s desire to purchase a seller’s product, assets, or services.
- It’s used to establish and indicate an understanding between the parties which provides the basis for a future or proposed agreement, typically supported by senior management eg. Head of Department/Division or C-suite management
- The letter of interest should include:
- Information about the parties
- Product, services, assets to be pilot-ed/trial-ed/ implemented
- Estimated manpower costs/roles (both industry partner & PHI)
- Estimated payment/pricing/fund distribution mutually agreed between the parties
3. Is commercialisation a critical consideration in this grant, given that it’s looking to fund mature technology?
- In order to truly enable better patient outcomes and healthcare impact, commercial partners are often required to help PHIs scale innovation beyond its own sphere of influence.
- Commercial merit can be defined in various ways
- For hospitals it can be measured in terms of healthcare economics – e.g. staff /patient benefit coupled to overall reduction in healthcare costs, thereby leading to value-based healthcare; for industry it could be defined as sales, profit and market expansion.
- It is a natural progression of the innovation journey to pilot/test-bed in a controlled clinical setting, to prepare for implementation/integration into clinical work flows that can subsequently be adopted/scaled in real-world settings.
4. If the solution involves patient data collection, what level of compliance with data security regulations is expected for the demo/test-bedding?
Projects will have to be performed in accordance to local and hospital regulations and guidelines. Depending on the solution, some projects will need to engage the local IT agency for public healthcare, which will be done with the partner hospital’s IT offices.
5. Can private sector companies apply for this grant?
Private sector companies must partner a PHI that is keen to adopt the proposed solution after the test-bedding/piloting period. The PHI partner is the lead party to apply for the I2A grant, and the Principal Lead of the proposal must hold a primary appointment within one of the PHIs.
6. What is the funding quantum, funding period, fund flow mechanism and what does the grant cover?
- Funding quantum: up to $1Mil, reviewed on a project by project basis
- Funding period: typically 12 months (extensions can be considered on a case-by-case basis with clear justifications – another 6 months’ extension, up to a maximum of 18 months’ funding period, may be considered)
- Funding will flow from NHIC to PHIs, who will in turn flow funds to industry/international partners, according to distribution amounts stated in the project proposal, via appropriate service agreements established between PHI and partner(s).
- Grant can be used to cover:
- Costs directly associated with proof-of-value/test bedding project, such as small-scale manufacturing for the purpose of the pilot, purchase of consumables, customisation, test-bedding services (such as protocol planning, test bed execution and data management), analytics and evaluation services.
- Costs incurred to engage an independent expert for the purpose of evaluating the proof-of-value/test bedding project at their discretion. Applicants are to provide an estimation for evaluation for the purposes of submission based on best knowledge.
- Outsourcing to third party vendors to perform roles that collaborating partners do not have the expertise to (provide separate justification and quotations)
- Costs incurred for project administration, test-bedding and implementation of the technology.
7. What areas of healthcare ops/plans does this grant fund?
Solutions that have currently secured an implementation partner (e.g. healthcare clusters, community hospitals and nursing homes) in one healthcare cluster, are economically sustainable, with compelling operational cost savings for PHI and/or benefit a significant population segment will have an added advantage when assessed in competition with others.
This grant focuses on implementation and eventual adoption of a technology into the healthcare system which provides patient impact, economical benefit for Singapore’s healthcare system. Thus, this grant is not suitable for proposals that are looking to seek funding for early research studies, research evaluation, productivity enhancements in regular care delivery workflows (fundable if the resulting workflows are a necessity and directly associated with the adoption of proposed technology in the application), training programmes and pedagogies not associated with the new technology.
8. What stage of technology will I2Adopt support?
We are seeking for solutions at a stage of conducting an implementation trial within the healthcare system i.e. likelihood Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 and above, to translate said technology to adoption/implementation at nesting institution with eventual aim to scale to another cluster (TRL 7 and above preferred but TRL 6 can be considered if there are strong merits and clear healthcare/economic benefits to Singapore). Those that have attained regulatory approvals from globally recognised regulatory authorities would have an advantage. Earlier-stage projects will be redirected to other suitable grants such as I2D/I2I or other sources.
9. What would be the expected outcomes of the grant?
The test-bedded/piloted solution should bring about both health and economic outcomes to the Singapore healthcare system. Ideally, at the end of the grant period, the solution would be able to demonstrate compelling evidence to support eventual adoption across at least 2 public healthcare clusters (for e.g. SingHealth or National Healthcare Group). Thus, the proposal should be designed to provide stakeholders with adequate information to enable adoption. This could potentially include a proof-of value study to unequivocally convince stakeholders of the costs invested in the development, or projected total ownership costs. In short, results should be clear for partnering healthcare clusters to make a decision on whether to procure and adopt the solution.
10. Are there any specific disease areas the grant is looking to fund?
There will be 3 grant call themes centred around:-
- Diagnosis and Monitoring
Applicants are invited to submit proposals for the above themes (there is no further categorisation of sub-specialty or disease areas). The grant aims to support disease areas with high-prevalence in Singapore, and also areas for which participating/partnering PHIs deem as critical and would procure/adopt the proposed solution after the test-bedding/piloting period.
11. How will background IP and foreground IP ownership be managed?
As the I2Adopt is focusing on providing an opportunity for technology in translation/mature stage we understand that it is unlikely for new foreground IP to be created. If there are new FIPs created, we encourage that t the industry partner and PHI to discuss and agree on mutually amicable IP management and commercial terms.
12. What types of healthcare/ healthtech/ medtech innovations are included in this grant? For example, does this grant only refer to clinical lab based solutions (e.g. drug development, diagnostic devices etc.) or other health-tech solutions (e.g. iOT and AI enabled remote patient monitoring programmes that can deliver measurable health outcomes)?
The I2Adopt thematic grant call is based on healthcare needs and not specific technology types (i.e. the grant is technology agnostic). For example, for the first grant call we are looking for proposals focusing on screening, regardless of disease areas or health-tech solution.
Upcoming I2Adopt Grant Calls
I2Adopt Cycle 2 on Diagnostics and Monitoring: Opens 3 April 2023, closes 2 May 2023
I2Adopt Cycle 3 on Intervention: Opens 4 Aug 2023, closes 4 Sept 2023
1. What types of Grant Schemes does NHIC provide?
There are three types of Grant Schemes available from NHIC.
|Innovation to Develop (I2D)||Innovation to Protect (I2P)||Innovation to Industry (I2I)|
|This scheme supports the development of a healthcare innovation towards commercialisation.||This scheme funds healthcare-related patentable innovations with a commercialisation potential.||This scheme, by NHIC invitation only, funds healthcare-related projects which have successfully completed I2D funding.|
2. Who is eligible to apply for NHIC grants?
I2D Grant: The Principal Investigator must hold a primary appointment and be salaried by one of the following local institutions:
I2P Grant: One of the Inventors must hold a primary appointment and be salaried by one of the below local institutions:
|Public Hospital||Singapore General Hospital, Changi General Hospital, National University Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, KK Woman’s and Children’s Hospital, Seng Kang Health, Alexandra Hospital|
|Public Health Institution||Singapore Eye Research Institution, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, Institute of Mental Health|
|National Speciality Centre||National Skin Centre Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore, National Cancer Centre Singapore, National Neuroscience Institute Singapore, National Dental Centre Singapore, National University Cancer Institute Singapore, National University Heart Centre Singapore, Singapore National Eye Centre|
|Academic Medical Centre/Medical School||Duke-NUS Medical School, NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine|
3. How do I apply for a grant?
I2D Grant: Interested applicants must submit a NHIC I2D Grant Application Form (NHIC-I2D-FORM-1) through your Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office to NHIC. Consult your respective Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office for their internal deadline submission date.
I2P Scheme: Interested applicant must submit a NHIC I2P Patent Support Scheme Application Form (NHIC-I2P-FORM-1) and Invention Disclosure Form (NHIC-I2P-FORM-2) through your Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office to NHIC. Kindly consult your respective Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office for more details.
I2I Grant: By invitation only. Interested applicants must speak with your NHIC Innovation Manager for more details.
4. When are the deadlines for application submission?
I2D Grant: The due date for grant application submission falls on the first Friday, 5pm of each April, August, and December. If the due date falls on a public holiday, the submission deadline is next business day. For confirmation of dates and application forms, see nhic.sg.
I2Start Program: There is no deadline for the submission of I2S Letter of Intent. The Letter of Intent (LOI) will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and will be batch processed by the I2S Program Team.
I2P Scheme: There is no deadline for I2P applications; the application should be lodged before the respective patent action is undertaken.
5. Do you allow Indirect Research Costs?
Yes, a maximum of 30% Indirect Research Costs are allowable under the I2D and I2I grants.
A maximum of 30% Indirect Research Cost is allowable during NHIC Phase in the I2Start Program.
6. How can I check the outcome of my I2D grant application?
You will receive an email notification on the outcome of your I2D grant application from the NHIC Grant Secretariat within six (6) weeks of the submission date.
1. How do I request a budget Variation? (applicable only to the I2D/I2I Grant)
The Grant Variation request and justification must be submitted to NHIC at least three (3) months prior to the grant completion date. Refer to Guidelines for Management of NMRC Funding Programmes (Updated January 2020) for more details of fundable and non-fundable direct costs and virement within or between votes.
Download the Grant Variation Form (NHIC-GEN-FORM-17) and submit the completed form to NHIC for approval.
2. How do I request a Grant Extension?
The Principal Investigator can request a grant extension of up to six (6) months. The Grant Extension Form and justification must be submitted to NHIC at least three (3) months prior to the grant completion date.
Download the Grant Extension Form (NHIC-GEN-FORM-18 or NHIC-I2P-FORM-7) and submit the completed form to NHIC for approval.
3. How do I request a change of Principal Investigator/Research Team member?
For changes of Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, Collaborator, download the Request for Changes to Team form (NHIC-GEN-FORM-11) and submit completed form through your Research/Innovation Office to NHIC for approval.
You will receive an email notification on the approval outcome of your request by NHIC Grant Secretariat. Please note that a revised of the Letter of Award to a new Principal Investigator will not be issued.
4. How do I request a variation of the project?
Project variation may encompass a variety of changes, including, but not limited to the following changes:
- Project Commencement Date
- Project Scope of Work
- Project Title
- Project/Grant Termination
- Host Institution
For changes to research scopes, milestones/deliverables, equipment relocation and grant deferral/suspension/termination of your project, download the Grant Amendment Form (NHIC-GEN-FORM-27) and submit the completed form through your Research/Innovation Office to NHIC for approval.
5. When and how do I submit my Progress Report?
The Principal Investigator of the awarded I2D project is required to submit a Quarterly Progress Report (NHIC-GEN-FORM-20) to NHIC Grant Secretariat. The Progress Report is due on a quarterly basis, within thirty (30) days after the close of the quarter.
The submission of a Quarterly Progress Report is waived if the project commencement date is less than three (3) months from the progress report reporting period. For example, if the project commencement date is 01 July 2017, the first progress report reporting period will be Oct – Dec 2017. A Quarterly Progress Report is not required for the final quarter.
Submit the Progress Report to your Host Institution Research Office or Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office. Your Research/Innovation Office will collate the report and submit to NHIC Grant Secretariat.
6. When and how do I submit my Final Project Report?
The Principal Investigator of the awarded I2D project is required to submit a Final Project Report (NHIC-GEN-FORM-21) to NHIC Grant Secretariat after grant completion date. The final report is due two (2) months from the grant completion date.
Submit the Final Project Report to your Host Institution Research Office or Healthcare Cluster Research/Innovation Office. Your Research Office will collate the report and submit to NHIC Grant Secretariat.
7. When and how do I submit a Reimbursement Claim?
The Principal Investigator (PI) may utilize the approved budget after the project commencement date and expenditure should be incurred before the grant completion date.
Download the Reimbursement Claim Form (NHIC-GEN-FORM-19) and submit completed form to NHIC Grant Secretariat by 15th calendar day of each Feb, May, Aug and Nov.
Please note that the Final Claim must be submitted to NHIC within three (3) months of the grant completion date.
8. What is the claim submission timeline?
The reimbursement to the Host Institutions will be made three (3) months from the submission deadline upon receiving a completed I2D or I2P Reimbursement Claim Form. Kindly note that this process may take longer if we need to request further verification from you and late submissions will be processed in the next quarter.
|Submission Deadline||Payment to Host Institution|
9. How do I check the status of the Project Claim?
An email notification will be sent by the bank (eg: DBS eadvice) to your Finance-in-charge’s email address stated in your reimbursement claim form to confirm the disbursement of your Project claim. For more information or any clarifications, you may contact NHIC Grant Administrator directly.
10. How do I know if my Grant has closed?
I2D Grant: The I2D grant is officially closed once the Final Progress Report, Final Statement of Accounts and Final Claim have been submitted to NHIC and the Host Institution has received the final reimbursement.
I2P Scheme: The I2P grant is officially closed once the Final Claim and Filed Patent Application has been submitted to NHIC and the Host Institution has received the final reimbursement. No further notification will be sent by NHIC.
11. May I know the Terms and Conditions that governs NHIC grants?
NHIC adheres closely to NMRC Terms & Conditions.