As part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Healthy Ageing Challenge asks industry and researchers to develop products and services to support an ageing society.

The number of people over 75 in the UK today is one in 12. By 2040, it will rise to one in seven. We’re also living for longer and a third of children born now are expected to live to 100.

This presents a challenge to health services, but it is also an opportunity for businesses and researchers who can help people to stay active and productive as they age.

The Healthy Ageing Challenge will support UK government’s mission to ensure people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, and will support people to stay in their homes for longer, tackle loneliness, and increase independence and wellbeing.

Funded projects will need to show how they will tackle one or more of the following challenges of older life:

  • Sustaining physical activity
  • Maintaining health at work
  • Design for age-friendly homes
  • Creating healthy, active places
  • Supporting social connections
  • Living well with cognitive impairment
  • Managing common complaints of ageing.


Up to £98 million will be invested in research and innovation that supports people as they age.

Over the coming years, there will be a series of opportunities for UK-based businesses and researchers. This includes:

Healthy Ageing Catalyst 2020

This funding is aimed at researchers with early-stage innovative ideas that align with the Healthy Ageing Challenge. Awards will provide £50,000 at 80% fEC and must be led by an academic who is based at an eligible UK research organisation. Awards can support staff time and resources needed to meet a key milestone that demonstrates the potential of the innovation. Closing date for outline stage is 13 February 2020. Find out more >>

Trailblazers (£40m)

This programme focuses on supporting the development of near to market propositions with potential to be adopted at scale. It will stimulate new ideas from a wide range of businesses and social enterprises to develop and deliver products, services and business models at a large scale to support people as they age.

Investment Accelerator (£29m)

This programme will catalyse private investment in business-led research and development, to grow and take to market innovations for healthy ageing that have clear potential to be adopted at scale. These will focus on product and service innovations, not larger-scale infrastructure.

A total of £29 million in government grants, together with matched funding from private investors, will be available over the next four years for projects up to £1.5 million in eligible costs.

Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme

This programme will deliver evidence on key challenges facing the older population and ways in which support and care can be delivered effectively. Insights from the latest social and behavioural sciences and cutting-edge design research will feed into other activities in the healthy ageing challenge, enhance the competitive position of UK-based companies, and inform a wider group of stakeholders.

Developing the pipeline: Early stage support

UKRI will provide financial support to academic researchers and small, medium, enterprises working together to develop new products and services. This is early stage innovation activity and it will attract match funding from existing funding streams that focus on digital healthcare and older adults.

A total of up to £12 million will be available through a range of opportunities which will be announced starting in 2020 and run for up to four years.

Community of Practice

This programme will facilitate collaboration across the investment portfolio to maximise impact, facilitate international collaboration, support knowledge exchange and foster a pipeline of early stage innovations.

Find out more

Visit the UK Research and Innovation website to find out more and keep up to date with funding opportunities.