We're delighted to announce a new partnership with the charity Arthritis Research UK for the second wave of the Spark product innovation fund.

Arthritis Research UK is a charity which conducts research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis, as well as providing information on how to maintain healthy joints and bones, and how to live well with arthritis. The charity’s support for Design Council Spark aims to attract new product ideas for life-altering products and to fast-track those products to market.

Arthritis is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK, affecting around 10 million people.  It causes pain and stiffness in the joints, which makes everyday simple movements such as standing, sitting, gripping and walking difficult.  Arthritis, and living with the pain it causes, can have a severe impact on quality of life, impacting on people’s ability to work, stay mobile and independent.   

It is likely that the most innovative ideas will come from people who are either in contact with those with musculoskeletal conditions such as nurses, carers and family members or those who have a condition themselves. Design Council and Arthritis Research UK are urging people from all backgrounds with product prototypes, regardless of their design or invention experience to apply to Spark. 

Together we hope that the designs and innovations that we take forward will help to address the needs of the millions of people living with the pain and disability caused by arthritis.

Design Council Spark is a product innovation fund and 20 week programme designed to fast track product inventions to market.

Finalists invited to attend the 20 week programme will receive an initial investment of £15k and up to three of those inventions will be funded by Arthritis Research UK.  Following completion of the programme, finalists can pitch for either a share of £150,000 or £50k from Arthritis Research UK if their product invention is designed to assist those with arthritis. 

Applications are completed online and the deadline is midnight Monday 14 December 2015. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a two-day intensive workshop, after which the Design Council Spark Investment Panel will select finalists. 

To qualify for Spark, you must be a UK resident, aged over eighteen and no previous design experience is required. The idea can be anything which is a physical product that can be sold to businesses or consumers and we are keen to see product inventions designed to assist those with arthritis. It cannot be a service or software such as an app, although it can integrate digital technology.

Finalists will be supported by an expert mentor, have access to specialists in relevant fields and given £15k to accelerate their product development over 20 weeks. Arthritis Research UK will provide £15k for up to three inventors who design products to assist those with arthritis. Design Council Spark is designed to provide funding and support when inventors need it most, but, uniquely, we don’t take any equity in the business. In return, inventors will be asked to donate 5% of future sales revenue of their submitted product back into the Spark fund, enabling future inventors to develop their products and take them to market.

John Mathers, Design Council Chief Executive and Stephen Simpson, Director of Research at Arthritis Research UK says:

“Design Council and Arthritis Research UK are very excited to join forces on Spark. Both organisations share a similar ethos: ie, to improve people’s lives through innovation and design and recognising that it can be the small things that often make the biggest difference. Our partnership is a very natural link and a perfect fit for Spark. It will broaden Spark’s scope and bring additional people through the programme who aren’t designers or inventors but who have great, prototyped ideas because of their regular contact with arthritis. Together we hope that the designs and innovations that we take forward will help to address the needs of the millions of people living with the pain and disability caused by arthritis.”

Learn more about the impact of living with arthritis.

Find out more about Design Council Spark and submit your entry. Applications close at midnight on Monday 14 December 2015.

Contact

For more information please contact:

Join our mailing list

Receive news and event updates from Design Council.

Sign up

News & opinion

Design Council Spark: Tips for applicants Top tips from Design Council Spark's Development Manager to help you prepare your application. Top tips from Design Council Spark's Marion Gillet to help you prepare your application.

Feature — 27/10/2015

Design Council Spark FAQs Have a question about Design Council Spark? The answer is probably here! Have a question about Design Council Spark? The answer is probably here!

Feature — 09/08/2017

How Design Council Spark kick-started a difficult design project We spoke to Nick Rawcliffe, a mechanical engineer who joined the Spark programme with his innovative folding cycle helmet. We spoke to Nick Rawcliffe, a mechanical engineer who joined the Spark programme with his innovative folding cycle helmet.

Feature — 01/02/2018

Resources