Seed Funding

MIME Seed Funding

MIME Seed Funding accelerates the development of new medical technologies that address significant unmet clinicals needs. Clinicians of all disciplines work in partnership with IT/digital health, engineering and art/design researchers to discover new medical technologies.

In the 2022 funding round applicants are able to request up to $50,000 per project. The funding will be directed to projects that can achieve a meaningful outcome within 12-18 months, e.g. proof-of-concept data or initial prototype. The seed funding is aimed at progressing a project to the point that the research team is well positioned to then secure external funding from industry or grants to progress to the next phase of the R&D.

The application process is a two-phased approach: an initial call to clinicians to define areas of unmet clinical need, followed by an invitation to all Monash staff who hold a primary appointment through the Monash Faculties of either MNHS, FIT, FE or MADA to respond with proposed solutions. All Monash staff are eligible to participate in the multidisciplinary ‘solution' teams. Researchers from MIME partner institutions are also invited to participate as members of the collaborative teams.

MIME welcomes the support and funding contribution of Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre.

Objectives

Excellence: To foster high quality multidisciplinary research targeted at driving major innovations in the development of new medical technologies.

Relevance: To promote early engagement of clinicians in defining areas of significant unmet clinical need, particularly those in which leading-edge engineering, IT and human-centred Art/Design expertise is required to tackle the challenge.

Interdisciplinary research: To build stronger links between Monash STEM researchers and clinicians in our partner hospitals, to foster new research collaborations, new areas/applications of research, or accelerate the translation of our research through to clinical evaluation.

Leverage: To serve as ‘seed’ funding for projects with potential to attract substantial external research funding (immediate co-investment or clear path to grant, government or industry funding) beyond the life of the original project.

Strategic alignment: To build critical mass in MIME themes likely to be nationally and internationally competitive.

Impact: To support activities that substantially progress the translation of the research/technology, including partnerships with organisations that will contribute to the translation of the technology, e.g. industry, hospitals, CSIRO, medical research institutes.

Key dates and process

Friday 18 MarchCall to clinicians for unmet needs opens
Friday 1 April, 12pm to 2pmVirtual Affinity Meeting
Monday 9 May, 5pm Call to clinicians for unmet needs closes
Monday 6 June Selected proposals announced on MIME website
Monday 6 June Call for solutions opens
Monday 25 July, 5pm Call for solutions closes
Monday 22 August Panel review completed
Week of 12 September Shortlisted interviews
Early-mid November 2022 Announcement of successful candidates

The process for application and selection will entail:

  1. Invitation to Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences clinicians (staff and adjuncts) in Monash partner hospitals to submit a proposal identifying a specific challenge in patient care that is amenable to an innovative engineering, IT and Art/Design solution.
  2. Review of project ideas by the MIME Seed Fund Review Panel which will include representation from the MIME Research Working Group, which is represented by all partner faculties plus other senior Monash leadership and MIME industry advisors. The panel will select suitable project topics based on the selection criteria of the scheme.
  3. Invitation to all Monash staff and adjuncts who hold a primary appointment through the Monash Faculties of either MNHS, FIT, FE or MADA to submit a proposed research program in response to the advertised clinician statements of need. The program should aim to develop a tangible outcome addressing the clinical need within a 12-18-month period. Staff are highly encouraged to discuss their proposed solution with the Clinician PI prior to submission. Project proposals to meet unmet clinical need may be put forward by any Monash staff member (i.e. open to staff from all Faculties), but the proposed research team must include a researcher from the Faculties of Engineering or IT or Art/Design, and the initiating clinician PI.
  4. Researchers are invited to include collaborators from MIME and Monash Partners partner organisations (e.g. Baker Institute, Hudson Institute, CSIRO) or external partner organisations, (e.g. industry, government departments and community groups) in the proposed team. In these cases, strong preference will be given to projects in which co-funding is provided by the collaborating external partner organisation.
  5. Selected exciting and highly prospective projects will then be supported with further development to make the proposal as competitive as possible relative to funding criteria. This will include suggestions as to relevant complementary expertise that could be included as collaborators to enhance project delivery.
  6. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their proposal to the Seed Fund Review Panel.
  7. The Seed Fund Review Panel will make a final decision on prioritisation of proposals and allocation of funds.
  8. Recipients of MIME Seed Funding will be required to present the outcomes of their research project as required by MIME management (e.g. 1-2 occasions at select meetings and events throughout the ~18-month project duration and potentially to external representatives).

Eligibility, selection criteria and expectations

Eligibility

  • The clinician apply at phase 1 must be an active clinician who is employed within the Monash Partners network of health services. They must also have an affiliate appointment with Monash University FMNHS.
  • Phase 2 applicants must hold a primary appointment through Monash Faculties of either MNHS, FIT, FE or MADA.
  • A Phase 1 and Phase  2 applicant cannot be the same person. Core to MIME's vision is to foster collaboration through bringing together cross faculty/health service researchers and clinicians.
  • The Project must be translational in nature - the proposed solutions needs to be ready to take the next step to a commercial and/or clinical development pathway during or immediately after the work proposed in the application. If basic fundamental research is proposed, researchers must clearly justify how the proposed work meets the necessary ‘translational’ requirements.

Selection criteria

  1. Is the project aligned with the goals of MIME and the stated objectives of the MIME Seed Fund? Specifically, does it:
    • Target a significant unmet clinical need, involve a clinician researcher from MNHS (staff or adjunct, based in one of Monash’s partner hospitals), and a researcher from either Faculties of Engineering, IT or Art, Design and Architecture?
    • Involve high quality collaborative multidisciplinary research?
    • Aim to make a major impact – specifically a major innovation in the development of medical technology that will result in substantial improvements for patients and/or efficiencies in the overall healthcare system?
    • Require leading edge STEM research expertise in order to tackle the challenge?
  2. Does it build on existing capability within MIME/Monash, or readily recruitable capability?
  3. Are the academic leaders clearly identified?
  4. Will the project build critical mass in areas of distinctive strength for MIME? Is it well aligned to existing themes, or does it have the capacity to establish a new distinctive strength?

Expectations

Expectations and responsibilities if funded – the basic terms of a binding Agreement with MIME are as follows:

  1. A Project Leader shall be identified by the research team and responsible for all communication and project reporting to MIME. This person will be the main contact to receive funds and be from the Faculty of MNHS, IT, Engineering or Art/Design.
  2. If required, a Collaboration Agreement, facilitated by MIME, will be completed between the Monash University project lead and clinical champions and/or additional lead researchers based externally to Monash University.
  3. Emergent IP will be monitored by the MIME Executive with a view to IP protection if and when necessary.
  4. Publications (including presentations such as conference talks/posters) of results arising from MIME funding are subject to protection of IP and approval from the MIME Executive. Publication rights will not be unduly or unnecessarily restricted.
  5. Project teams and the MIME Executive may ask for agreement on a Schedule of milestones, expected outcomes and a reporting schedule prior to funding commencing.
  6. A final budget for the project will be negotiated with, and approved by the MIME Executive prior to project commencement.
  7. Progress reports will be submitted to MIME by the project lead as requested by MIME (no more than on a quarterly basis).
  8. Progress and expenditure updates may be requested at any time or for specific industry engagement activities by MIME.
  9. IP and commercialisation rights and activities will be negotiated in good faith if and when necessary as the project progresses.
  10. Expenditure of funds will only be approved for Scheduled activities. Any unanticipated variation must be agreed by the MIME Executive.

Past projects

MIME Seed Funding funded the following 10 projects in 2021.

In the News

For further information about MIME Seed Funding contact Andrew Carey, MIME Program Manager on andrew.carey@monash.edu