Small businesses are invited to submit proposals that could cover: preventing kidney disease, allowing earlier diagnosis, giving patients with kidney failure greater independence, and enabling treatment closer to home.
The Department of Health is funding the competition through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which helps small, innovative businesses win government contracts, promoting economic growth at the same time as addressing public sector needs.
It is expected that the money will be shared among 8 to 12 small businesses.
Around 5,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure every year and there are currently 41,000 patients receiving treatment for kidney failure. Health Minister Norman Lamb said:
Innovation can play a vital role in helping to address healthcare challenges. This £3.6 million competition will help small businesses come up with creative solutions that make a real difference to kidney patients' lives.
These competitions represent vital investment in health research, which is good news for patients, for the research sector and for the economy, creating jobs and growth so the UK can compete in the global race.
The Department is managing the competition in partnership with Devices for Dignity Health Technology Cooperative (D4D), which is hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Application forms can be downloaded at from the Devices for Dignity website. The deadline for entries is midday 25 November 2013. Winning proposals will be announced in January 2014.
The competition is part of the government's commitment to making the UK the best place to start and grow a business. The government will soon launch a new strategy for how the whole of government will back small businesses. It will set out a range of measures to continue helping budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses succeed.