“Innovation is not something that is just ‘nice to have,’ it’s a must-have. It’s something that everyone in the NHS needs to be thinking about in the same way as they think about quality improvement, research and teaching. It needs to be a key principle. The NHS Innovation Accelerator is a key initiative to delivering this cultural change. As staff become more engaged, enthusiastic and passionate, we hope to see doors opening to innovation. Not only will people try to innovate themselves, they’ll be more open to the adoption and utilisation of these life-changing innovations.”

Mahiben Maruthappu, Senior Fellow and Advisor to the CEO of NHS England, and Co-Founder of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)

What was the problem?

As the Five Year Forward View highlighted, the NHS faces many pressures, including an ageing population, more long-term conditions, rising costs and constrained budgets. State-of-the-art development, cost-effective solutions and new ways of delivering care are essential to improving patient outcomes.

What we did and why

Following the publication of the Five Year Forward View, the NIA was formed with the aim of creating the conditions and cultural change needed for proven innovations to be adopted faster and more systematically through the NHS. It also generates system-wide learnings as to how to spread innovation at pace for greater patient and population benefit. The NIA is hosted by UCLPartners, in partnership with NHS England and supported by all fifteen AHSNs.

Which national priorities does this work address?

  • Evidence-based innovations to help improve health outcomesNIA 17million
  • Latest products, services and technology for patients at lower cost
  • Prevention
  • Earlier intervention
  • Long term condition management


Outcomes to date include:

  • 17 fellows with tried and tested innovations are participating in the programme, which involves mentorship from seasoned healthcare innovators
  • Generation of almost £17m in funding
  • 345 additional NHS providers and commissioners now using the NIA innovations

Find out more about the individual innovations the NIA has facilitated here:

“The NIA offers an ideal opportunity for innovators seeking support to scale evidence-based innovations for greater patient benefit. The programme offers some fantastic benefits to successful applicants, including access to expert mentorship; pairing with an Academic Health Science Network; peer-to-peer learning and access to a bursary.”

Laura Boyd, NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme Manager

Tips for implementation

Innovators looking to apply for the NIA should keep an eye on the website for further updates and information, or follow us on Twitter @NHSAccelerator for new opportunities.

Next steps and spread

Applications for the 2016 NIA closed on 16 August 2016. Further to an extensive shortlisting and interview process, successful applicants will be notified at the beginning of October. This will be followed by an official launch event on 9 November 2016. All applications to the NIA are additionally being considered for the new Innovation and Technology Tariff.

Find out more

Visit the NHS Innovation Accelerator website for more information.

Find out more about the case studies.

Frequently asked questions.

Contact for help and advice



Programme duration: January 2015 – present