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Project information

The Sparks Innovation Fund

The Sparks Innovation Fund has been set up to fund new, innovative research to prevent unnecessary deaths and improve quality of life for babies and children.

The Sparks Innovation Fund is an ongoing project

Charity information: Sparks The Children's Medical Research Charity

Sparks The Children's Medical Research Charity logo
  • Need


    Every day 1 in 30 babies are born in the UK with a condition which may affect them for life. Each year, less than £10 per child in the UK is spent on research into child health. Sparks funds pioneering children’s medical research to get this to change.


    The Sparks Innovation Fund has been set up to fund new, innovative research to prevent unnecessary deaths and improve quality of life for babies and children.

    We do this by offering seed-funding to help the best and brightest researchers get their pioneering work off the ground.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support the most innovative and cutting-edge child health research in the UK.


    » Relatively small grants of £100,000 will fund important pilot studies, get new projects off the ground or take existing research to the next stage.

    What success will look like

    We will see success through advances in treatments and technology and our researchers achieving proof of concept to take their projects to the next stage.

  • Impact


    The Sparks Innovation Fund supports the most innovative research to find new treatments and cures for childhood illness and disability. Our success will be demonstrated through medical breakthroughs which have the potential to improve children's health across the UK and around the world.


    A lack of funding for The Sparks Innovation Fund will result in Sparks investing in fewer innovative research projects each year. This reduces our ability to achieve medical breakthroughs which ultimately improve children's lives.

    We are proactive in seeking donations from individuals, trusts and businesses for the Innovation Fund. The Big Give Christmas Challenge forms part of this approach.


    We provide regular progress updates to our donors on the projects within the Innovation Fund. Where possible we invite donors to attend medical visits where they will meet our researchers.

    We also produce an Annual Review which highlights recent projects and breakthroughs.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £500,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £500,000 The Innovation Fund Funding a portfolio of innovative, paediatric medical research projects

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Annonymous £1,250 Guaranteed
    Annonymous £2,500 Guaranteed
    Annonymous £10,000 Guaranteed
    Annonymous £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The majority of Sparks' research is carried out in hospitals, universities and research institutions across the UK.

    All of our research is peer reviewed by independent external reviewers who are experts in the proposed area of research. They are based both in the UK and internationally.

    A small number of our research projects into rare diseases are taking place at international institutions,where the expertise for a particular condition is outside of the UK.


    The Sparks Innovation Fund funds research into conditions affecting babies, children and pregnant women. Our breakthroughs will improve the quality of life for children and their families across the UK and around the world.

    By funding the UK's most innovative paediatric research we are also:
    - Supporting the UK's brightest minds in paediatric medical research
    - Helping to inform UK best clinical practice

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    All research applications being considered by Sparks undergo an independent and rigorous scientific assessment. This ensures that we only fund the best science that has been internationally peer reviewed and is not being duplicated elsewhere. Sparks is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and has been awarded a certificate of Best Practice for Scientific Peer Review.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sparks Funded Researchers

    Our researchers are at the helm of our projects, leading scientific breakthroughs through their work. They are dedicated to improving children's lives

    The Sparks Medical Advisory Committee

    Leading medical Professors & Doctors who volunteer their time & paediatric expertise. They help determine which research projects Sparks will fund.

    The Sparks Parent Advisory Committee

    Parents who have experienced the benefits of Sparks research. They advise on which projects Sparks should fund from a family perspective.

There is no shortage of brilliant, life-saving ideas - just a shortage of money to bring them to fruition.

John Shanley, Chief Executive, Sparks