New funding opportunities with £4.2m Challenge Fund

The Government’s Work and Health Unit, a joint unit funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, has launched the Challenge Fund, a new time-limited source of funding aimed at testing new or promising approaches to helping people experiencing mental health or musculoskeletal (MSK) issues to stay in work.  The Challenge Fund is run by Rocket Science on behalf of the government.

The Unit does not have pre-conceived ideas about what works or could work.  However, they do know that the existing evidence base is not sufficiently strong and they have drawn their parameters broadly, with applications welcomed for projects that operate within one or more of the following areas:

  • Helping people stay in work by increasing their ability to self-manage their mental health and/or MSK conditions. 
  • Helping people access advice and support about what sort of work they might be capable of doing given their wider needs and circumstances. 
  • Developing new approaches to help employers and individuals develop workplace solutions, or ways of working that facilitate greater work participation of those with MSK and mental health conditions.
  • Improving systems by joining up services to strengthen communication, liaison or joint action to help those with mental health and MSK conditions to remain in work.

Projects are due to run in the period between October 2018 and February 2020 and could be completely new ideas, projects in development or those which could benefit from investment to scale up. The Fund cannot be used to support business as usual.

The Fund is squarely aimed at encouraging innovation and ideas with an emerging evidence base.  To that end, the Unit is looking to fund small to medium scale initiatives, with £4.2 million available. Applications are welcome from organisations in any sector, including employers, charities, social enterprises, local authorities, health bodies and others, with applications from smaller organisations particularly welcome. 

Market engagement events are scheduled for:

Registration for each of the events can be accessed by clicking on each of the links above. Places are limited. 

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 August at 17.00For more information, visit: