Health Breakthrough Fund

In 2019 the Peter Sowerby Foundation launched the Health Breakthrough Fund. This fund is designed to provide larger scale grants to those projects that are providing innovation and transformation in health and social care.

The Fund prioritises projects in the following categories:

  • Primary medical care and research into technologies to improve the delivery of primary care;
  • Research undertaken by GPs;
  • Innovation and technology to improve primary care, particularly in rural communities;
  • Terminal care and support for those suffering terminal illnesses and research into improving delivery of care.

Funded projects have the following characteristics and potential:

  • Likely to be at an early - if not preliminary - stage of development
  • Highly innovative
  • Potentially high risk
  • Complex and/or technical
  • Run by high calibre professionals with compelling track records in this or related fields
  • Well supervised and resourced projects (potentially through additional input by the Foundation)
  • High impact, transformative in improving the quality of healthcare if proven and scaled.

Find out more about the Health Breakthrough Fund qualifying criteria for funding projects.

From time to time we hold Open Calls for our Health Breakthrough Fund. If you would like to know when the next Open Call is announced, please register your interest.

Health Breakthrough Fund


Qualifying criteria for applicants:

  • Organisation turnover: above £2 million per annum (for Consortium bids the lead partner should have a turnover of over £2 million).

  • Location: the activity should be capable of working across the UK or scaling across the UK.

  • Funding Covers: these are capital and revenue costs specifically related to the project. The Foundation expects applicants to include an acceptable contribution to project overheads and administration. However, costs should not exceed 20% of the overall budget. 

  • Organisation Types: registered charities, CICs or registered health and social care providers based in the UK. Universities are also eligible to apply. 

  • Expressions of Interest: EOIs are limited to two per organisation.

Projects must:

  • Transform care: applications need to harness new ideas and innovations that improve or transform Primary care and ‘out of hospital’ provision for patients.
  • Be committed to ‘open source’ discovery: our Trustees prioritise applications that make the work and discoveries that our funding made possible available to the public domain in an open, convenient and freely available way.
  • Be backed by considerable external evidence: organisations must clearly demonstrate the need for the project that they wish to deliver, identifying key needs in the particular patient group.
  • Have potential for wider replication across the UK: we expect the project to be delivered initially in one or two areas of the UK, but we also envisage that the project could potentially be rolled out nationally via other sources of funding or a self-sustaining business model.
  • Provide a substantial Social Return on Investment: we prioritise applications that are high impact, cost-effective and scalable and which can leverage substantial future resources. The Foundation welcomes project ideas that could also utilise match funding sourced by the applicants, in addition to its own funding.
  • Prove competence: organisations must demonstrate effective management capability and track record.
  • Avoid replication: we do not fund work that is currently being delivered elsewhere or by other organisations.
  • Be innovative: we want applications that push the boundaries of what is possible, including through the use of new IT and digital technologies and the effective use of data. 
  • Make a positive, lasting difference to people’s lives: we consider projects that provide both short and longer-term outcomes for beneficiary patient groups.
  • Collaborate: make appropriate use of partnerships to maximise engagement with target beneficiaries.
  • Time-bound: projects must be delivered over a period of no longer than three years.