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Application criteria

This year, to combat the devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases, we've launched the Big Beat Challenge - a single research funding award of up to £30m.

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The Big Beat Challenge will bring together world-leading researchers and innovators to identify and solve any of the biggest problems in heart and circulatory disease. This initiative will push the international research community to identify a real-world challenge, significant unmet need, or opportunity for game-changing innovation in heart and circulatory science or medicine. A problem or opportunity, which if solved or seized at scale, would mean major progress towards real patient benefit.


Outline applications are being assessed against the following criteria



The Big Beat Challenge is intended to transform the research landscape in any heart or circulatory disease, and applications should reflect this ambition. We are seeking proposals for innovative solutions that move beyond incremental gains and work towards a tangible change that would not otherwise be possible. While scientific and technical rigour will always be paramount, applicants are encouraged to submit bold ideas that are extraordinary, even radical. 


Innovative collaboration which is borderless with no boundaries

Teams must be highly collaborative, mobilising knowledge, skills and resources from multiple disciplines and sectors. We want to see evidence that applicants have actively sought out a synergistic team of collaborators and partners worldwide that will bring fresh thinking to the field of research, and combine expertise in a way that is not already happening.


Solid foundations for success

The collective expertise, resources and track record of the team must indicate that it has the ability to tackle the targeted transformational advance with confidence, while recognising that the Challenge deliberately encourages a high-risk approach to yield high gain and that there will be opportunity to expand the team if selected to progress to a full application. Proposals should have a structured project plan, with a clear indication of how progress against goals and milestones will be measured. 


Clear patient relevance 

Proposals must seek to address a specific area of unmet need. The end point does not need to be clinical impact within the proposed time frame, but we want to see a clear route to patient benefit that is as comprehensible to the general public as it is to patients, healthcare professionals and researchers.


A need for Big Beat Challenge funding

Teams must demonstrate that delivery of their project would not be possible without the proposed scale of funding, including any complementary funding they are able to secure.


Robust management and governance

The management and governance structures must be appropriate for the project’s scope and scale, providing an innovative framework towards successful delivery.


Applicants shortlisted to progress to a full application will be expected to work with the BHF to engage public interest and support through activity such as media work, events, meetings and site visits. Your idea could change the world and we think people will want to know about it.

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