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Support for developers

Our partners provide a range of services, some free of charge, offering guidance to developers of AI and digital health technologies.

NHS Innovation Service

A free platform which gives developers the support they need to increase the chances of NHS product adoption.

The NHS Innovation Service offers the following benefits:

  • Practical support for all types of healthcare innovators, from start-up to established.
  • Free advice and guidance from experts in the industry
  • A centralised record of your innovation, reducing the need to fill out multiple forms.
  • A free review to establish your current needs and match you with organisations that can help.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

NICE has merged their Scientific Advice team with the Office for Market Access team to create one point of contact for life sciences industry: NICE Advice.

To help you succeed the first time and get your technologies to patients in the NHS, NICE Advice offers support with:

  • Value proposition development
  • NICE evaluation preparations
  • NHS payers or commissioner engagement
  • Evidence generation
  • Market access insights
  • Accurate and reliable scientific and strategic insights

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

The MHRA regulates medical devices in the UK.

The MHRA can:

  • Help you determine whether your product is classified as a medical device, or an accessory to a medical device. Before contacting the MHRA, read our guidance and the MHRA's medical device flowchart to help you make the distinction.

Email the software MHRA at for support.

Health Research Authority (HRA)

Protects and promotes the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research.

The HRA is responsible for a wide range of committees and services to streamline research, such as:

  • Research Ethics Committee (REC) Service: Our Research Ethics Committees (RECs) review research applications and give an opinion about whether the research is ethical. They look at areas such as the proposed participant involvement and are entirely independent of research sponsors (that is, the organisations which are responsible for the management and conduct of the research), funders and investigators.
  • The Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG): The Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) is an independent body which provides expert advice on the use of confidential patient information for purposes beyond direct patient care. It also provides advice to the Secretary of State for Health for non-research uses.
  • HRA and HCRW Approval: HRA Approval and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) Approval brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance. It applies where the NHS organisation has a duty of care to research participants or NHS staff/volunteers. HRA and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) Approval applies to all project-based research taking place in the NHS in England and Wales.

Email the HRA Queries Line at for support.

Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC)

The Digital Technology Assessment Criteria for health and social care (DTAC) gives staff, patients and citizens confidence that the digital health tools they use meet our clinical safety, data protection, technical security, interoperability and usability and accessibility standards.

The DTAC team can support you in understanding your requirements and answer any queries you may have.

Contact for more support.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

Whether you are a developer or adopter of AI and digital technologies using personal data, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has a range of free services to assist you as well as detailed guidance on our website.

If you are organising or taking part in a Tech Sprint, Challenge or Catapult project, the Innovation Hub will support innovators directly with one to one data protection advice and mentoring specific to each innovation. We also work with regulators and organisations to support their sandboxes and projects.

For in-depth support, the Regulatory Sandbox accepts applications where the innovation is pre-market, has complex data protection challenges, and there is demonstrable public benefit. These projects typically last around 6 months. You will receive ongoing advice as your innovation develops, which will help you to design your product in a privacy-friendly way.

For quick answers to your innovation questions, the Innovation Advice Service promises a response in 15 days for most queries.

For general inquiries about information governance and other topics, the Advice Services team can help. The ICO also have a range of resources to support small organisations including small start-ups.