Nesta - the UK’s innovation foundation for social good - and UK Research and Investment (UKRI) have announced a new two-year partnership to provide up to £6 million in combined investment and grant funding for companies working to improve health outcomes in later life.

This funding partnership is a significant step towards increasing healthy life expectancy in the UK, which has slowed dramatically as health inequalities have widened. Research shows that on average the poorest in society die around nine years before their more affluent peers, and experience ill health almost two decades earlier [1].

The new Nesta and UKRI fund aims to support companies between Seed stage and Series A offering products or services to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities. Nesta is particularly looking to invest in start-ups that are focused on reducing loneliness - for instance for those transitioning to living in care - or supporting people to remain in work in later life, which is crucial to quality of life.

Potential investees can apply for between £250k and £1M of investment capital from Nesta Impact Investments. Nesta is making up to £3 million of funding available. Qualifying companies will then be eligible to apply for further match grant funding from UKRI.

Manish Miglani, Investment Director, Nesta Impact Investments, said:

“Nesta is committed to increasing the average number of healthy years lived in the UK, whilst narrowing health inequalities. This £6 million partnership with UKRI will enable us to invest in innovative approaches and solutions that can overcome an issue that is central to Nesta’s mission through Impact Investments. We are particularly interested in companies between Seed stage and Series A that are reskilling older people to reduce later years unemployment - further perpetuated by the ongoing pandemic - as well as solutions that can keep people healthy and independent for longer.”

George MacGinnis, Healthy Ageing Challenge Director, UK Research and Innovation said:

“UKRI’s new partnership with Nesta will deliver meaningful investment in helping people live longer, high-quality lives with dignity. The Healthy Ageing Challenge sits at the heart of healthy ageing research and development in the UK and is an engine driving economic and social development. The issue of inequality in health and the effect it has on later years has yet to be solved. We can’t expect that just providing more of the same old products and services will address this. As a nation we need to encourage, support and nurture radical, disruptive approaches that change the game for people at risk of poor health outcomes, investing in prevention and supporting life choices that enable us to get ahead of the curve of health inequality later in life.”

The new £3m fund from Nesta is open for applications now, through to 31 March 2023. Nesta Impact Investment will invest between £250k and £1 million in successful applicant businesses. Successful applicants will then be able to apply for match funding from UKRI up to the same value as Nesta’s investment.

Nesta is a champion of diversity, equality and inclusion - it encourages applications from founders of all backgrounds and, likewise, diverse teams.

Visit Nesta Impact Investments for more details, eligibility criteria and to apply:

‘Health state life expectancies by national deprivation deciles, England: 2017 to 2019’, Office of National Statistics, March 2021

About Nesta

We are Nesta, the UK's innovation agency for social good.

We design, test and scale solutions to society's biggest problems. Our three missions are to give every child a fair start, help people live healthy lives, and create a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet.

For over 20 years, we have worked to support, encourage, and inspire innovation. We work in three roles: as an innovation partner working with frontline organisations to design and test new solutions, as a venture builder supporting new and early-stage businesses, and as a system shaper creating the conditions for innovation.

Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to change millions of lives for the better. Find out more at

About Nesta Impact Investments

Nesta Impact Investments make long term equity investments in organisations creating innovative products and services that aim to deliver social or environmental impact, improving outcomes for people and planet.

We support enterprises that are seeking to make an evidenced positive change in the world and to deliver a financial return on capital for investors.

Our initial investments are typically between £500k and £1m in Seed or Series A rounds, to support the growth of impact tech ventures which are aligned to Nesta’s missions and have a clear vision to deliver significant positive social change.

We like to see alignment between business models and impact delivery, and support inclusive impact, ensuring that either immediately or ultimately the company’s impact will reach people with need irrespective of means.