Posted on: 26 May 2023

The NIHR i4i Addiction Mission: Innovation for Treatment and Recovery (AMI) Awards will be open for applications on 31 May 2023 at 1pm 

The Addiction Mission led by the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), in collaboration with the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme, is inviting applications to the Addiction Mission: Innovation for Treatment and Recovery (AMI) Awards.
The focus of the call is to support UK organisations and researchers to create valuable, innovative tools to help treat people with opioid or cocaine addictions and aid in their recovery.

Applicants are invited to apply for a share of a total award fund of £10 million. We would expect the majority of applications requesting between £500,000 and £1.5m funding, however our aim is to support innovation and so there is no upper limit for applicants.

Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes (Professor of Addiction Biology and Head of the Division of Psychiatry at Imperial College London and Consultant Psychiatrist at Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust) has been appointed as the Addiction Mission Chair.  Prof Lingford-Hughes brings a wealth of experience as a leading academic and clinician, as well as the lead for the MRC Addiction Research Clinical Training Scheme (MARC) and will spearhead the aim to make the UK a leading location for researching and deploying innovative medicines and technologies to combat drug addiction. 

Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes on becoming Chair of the Mission said: 

"I am excited and honoured to begin my role as Chair of the Addiction Mission and look forward to achieving its goal of enhancing addiction research throughout the UK to address the immense unmet need of improving treatment outcomes.  The mission will strive to incentivise the development of innovative and effective new treatments, technologies, and approaches to support recovery, and reduce the harm and deaths addictions can cause. 

"I am determined to bring together representatives from academia, NHS, 3rd Sector organisations, industry, charities, lived experience groups and government partners from across the UK to collectively address the current barriers to innovative addiction research and create a pioneering, national capability to test and trial all types of new approaches in all service providers in the UK. The Addiction Mission will work alongside the Mental Health Mission and its investment in mental health research and infrastructure to ensure our approaches can meet the needs of those with addiction and comorbid mental health conditions. 

"I want to make the UK a place where researchers and innovative companies in addiction can thrive and partner effectively with NHS and 3rd sector treatment delivery services to design, research and deploy novel treatments and technologies which effectively tackle the scourge of drug addictions, improving the lives of those affected, and reducing the harms to the individual, their family and friends and wider society." 


This call aims to:

  • Increase the number of companies and innovators developing and testing products in the UK system and supporting the sector to grow and thrive through UK based research and development.
  • Improve outcomes for people in treatment and recovery for opioid or cocaine substance misuse through accelerating development and availability of innovative digital health, MedTech and pharmaceutical interventions.

The call will be open to all organisations which are UK legal entities, regardless of size or sector, that have an innovative solution to improve patient outcomes in addiction healthcare and recovery.

Types of intervention in scope

Applications covering Digital, MedTech, and pharmaceutical interventions are all within scope.
The below list includes illustrative examples of interventions from which applications would be welcomed, but this is not an exhaustive list:

1. Digital technology supporting interactive programmes to promote behaviour change and or maintenance for use by service users. For example:
o Treatment adjuncts, structured, digitally delivered treatment, relapse prevention/sustained recovery interventions, comprehensive assessment systems,
o Digital interventions within the above categories supported by Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), virtual reality and augmented reality, gamification, data analytics, or smartphone apps and other technologies are welcomed.

2. MedTech devices and solutions providing innovative or improved treatment delivery mechanisms for existing medicines. For example:
o Automated or timed dosing approaches, Novel administration or adherence approaches, Research and development of in vitro diagnostic devices as defined by the relevant EU Directives

3. Innovative combinations of interventions or products:
o Development, testing or validation of novel combinations in addiction healthcare. For instance, combining medications with psychological interventions delivered digitally.

4. Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of drug addiction or to support in recovery including:
o Novel pharmaceuticals or licensed medicines or substances repurposed for substance misuse treatment or recovery.

Types of proposals in scope for funding through this call:

1. Product development required to enable a technology for clinical use; work packages may include prototyping and manufacturing, engineering and performance testing.
2. Feasibility studies, and/or studies to provide data relating to safety and effectiveness of an innovation, including first-in-human and pivotal clinical studies.
3. Activities associated with the design and delivery of evaluations of innovative technologies in real world settings.
4. Clinical utility studies: usability, tolerability and user acceptance of interventions.
5. Research and development of techniques and/or technologies from a different industry sector which could have a potential impact if applied in substance misuse treatment and recovery.
6. Studies exploring the repurposing of existing medicines and/or interventions which could help treat substance misuse or support recovery.

Applications are welcome from all organisations which are a UK legal entity, regardless of size or sector, that have an innovative solution to improve patient outcomes in addiction healthcare and recovery.

We are keen to encourage fresh ideas from new innovators and appropriate applications are welcomed from researchers and organisations with limited research experience, where necessary, supported by an experienced and multi-disciplinary team.

Applicant organisations can be based anywhere in the UK but the proposed research must:
• take place in the UK and
• show potential, and be appropriate, for roll out across the UK.
The lead organisation and collaborating organisations may be:
• Commercial organisations
• NHS service providers
• Third Sector service providers
• Primary care providers
• Higher education institutions
• Not-for-profit organisations
• Local Authorities.
The innovation is eligible at any stage of development beyond concept/pre-clinical/basic science stage.

Further details are available at this link and the full brief will be uploaded here imminently. A launch event to provide further details and Q&A will be held on 31 May at 1pm. To register for this event please use this link.

Support for applicants

If you are considering applying and you are new to research or are not from a research institution, please do contact the appropriate NIHR research support services for free advice and support in finding potential research partners. This support is also available for experienced researchers.

For general queries, please contact