Foundation launches £30m award

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) will tender £30m (€33.2m) to tackle the suffering and devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases


The Big Beat Challenge will bring together world-leading researchers and innovators to identify and solve any of the biggest problems in heart and circulatory disease. Unveiled at Friday, at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, the £30m award for "game-changing innovations in prevention, diagnosis and treatment" will be one of the largest and most ambitious of its kind; a challenge to scientists, clinicians, innovators and entrepreneurs to look beyond incremental gains and accelerate breakthroughs that could transform lives across the globe.

Despite huge progress, the burden of heart and circulatory diseases continues to rise. Around the world, 18 million people die from heart and circulatory diseases each year. The WHO expects this to rise to 23 million by 2030. 

Proposals must be transformative, clinically relevant with real patient benefit, and with a multi-disciplinary approach that couldn’t be done without funding on this scale. Ideas could transform the lives of a few, or provide a smaller but important change for many. The winning team can come from any country, sector or discipline, working on a scale above and beyond traditional research schemes to achieve a truly revolutionary breakthrough in any heart or circulatory disease. 

Shortlisted applications with the most promising ideas will be given seed funding, and teams will then have around six months to develop their final proposals. These full applications will then be peer-reviewed and the winning research programme recommended by the panel.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the BHF, said: “The time is right for a radical approach. With recent advances in areas all the way from genome editing to artificial intelligence, we have an unprecedented opportunity to exploit new ways of doing research that moves beyond incremental gains and accelerates breakthroughs. All we ask is that you think big.”