Spark Innovation Programme

SPARK Innovation Programme

Innovation means bringing any new, problem-solving idea into use and requires an environment where people are empowered to innovate and put ideas into action. The Spark Innovation Programme is a bottom-up led initiative that encourages healthcare providers to develop and implement their ideas so that we can improve our health service.

Spark was established in 2017 as a national programme to encourage, support and recognise innovation among frontline healthcare workers in Ireland by the National Doctors Training and Planning (NDTP). The programme has grown from focusing on NCHDs to include Nursing and Midwifery and AHPs with support from the National Quality Improvement Team, the Nursing and Midwifery Services Director (ONMSD) and the National Health and Social Care Professions Office (NHSCPO) with the goal of encouraging innovation across our health service.

Since the Spark programme began the consistent hard work and dedication that HSE frontline staff throughout the country have shown, demonstrates the desire to innovate and improve our health system. Our programmes allow frontline healthcare workers to highlight problems they have identified and want to develop innovative solutions for. These may be related to changes we have experienced as a result of the pandemic or they could be problems present for a long time that are crying out for meaningful solutions.

There is more detail about Spark Seed Funding opportunities and also about other programmes including the ‘COVID Call’ and the resulting ‘Design on the Frontline’ in the other tabs. The Spark Programme urges all NCHDs, AHPs, Nurses and Midwives with a problem solving mind, a desire to learn about design and innovation and more than anything are excited about seeing their ideas come to fruition to get involved as we want to help you to solve these problems.

Please click here to hear some of our Spark Innovators

The main themes for Spark are:

Improving Patient and Healthcare Provider Experience  

As our patient cohort becomes more complex, providing high standards of care becomes more challenging. Frontline members of staff are ideally placed to recognise the issues faced by their patients and colleagues and implement creative solutions to these issues. We want to support projects that make our health service a better place to work and receive care. 

Sustainable Innovation 

With all of the exciting advances in medical technology, we must ensure that innovation is ethical and there is equitable access for all. The Spark Programme wants to encourage projects that promote justice, help tackle health threats such as climate change and take a patient-centred approach.  

Digital Disruption 

Digital medicine will transform the way we deliver care. Harnessing technology will allow us to provide better care but this requires engagement from all stakeholders including doctors. The Spark Programme wants to involve NCHDs in future eHealth initiatives. If you have ideas for how we can use digital technology to optimise care or would like to get involved in our Digital Health Working Group for NCHDs, we would love to hear from you! 

 We look forward to meeting you at our workshops, debates, site visits, and other events around the country.

Carpe diem!

Dr Rachel McNamara

National Fellows for Innovation and Change


Twitter: @ProgrammeSpark

Community Innovation Fund

The HSE Spark Innovation Programme aims to engage & empower frontline staff in innovation and provide funding streams, access to design thinking education and provide mentoring for frontline healthcare innovators.

What: The Community Innovation Fund is an initiative designed to promote innovation in community teams and services.

Funding: Two categories of funding are available depending on the scale of project being proposed: (A) up to €20,000; (B) up to €60,000

Eligibility: Applications are welcomed from HSE and Section 38 services delivering healthcare in a community setting.

Application: June 20th - 5pm August 19th. Online applications only will be accepted. To apply, click 

Information: See flyer attached below.

Contact: Dermot Burke (;

Community Innovation Fund .pdf (size 171.7 KB)

Community Innovation Fund Form.pdf (size 223.6 KB)