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Spark COVID Call


 Have you noticed the COVID pandemic has given rise to new issues in your workplace, or revealed pre-existing weaknesses in our healthcare system? Over the recent months, the COVID pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on the healthcare system we work in, yet, clinical frontline staff have continued to strive to deliver the highest standards of care to their patients.

Applications are open for individual and group applications from the 21st of September to the 19th of October

We want to hear you from you, and support you to solve problems that have been highlighted or heightened during the COVID pandemic with innovative ideas. We are looking for NCHDs, Nurses and Midwives who have identified problems in their workplace, and asking you to contact us with these issues and three potential solutions. Such solutions do not need to be formal or developed in the application as we hope to explore the problem further with design thinking, before progressing to devise a solution to these problems brought on by the strains imposed by the COVID pandemic. We will invite those most suitable to attend a design thinking workshop and together with design experts explore the problem and then develop solutions to these problems.

Links to the application forms are just below.

If your solution after this process requires funding to be realised, successful applicants will be invited to attend a pitch session, to present their ideas to the Spark team. Those successful in their pitch presentation will be offered funding up to €3,000 individually or €5,000 for groups to materialise their project.


This September/October, we are running two funding initiatives:

  1. Individual applications for funding of up to €3,000, apply here.
  2. Group applications for funding of up to €5,000, apply here.

(Groups including a Nurse/Midwife and/or a NCHD, and at least one other health service provider)


 Applications should be submitted using our online application form which have links above. The opening date is September 21st 2020 and the closing date for applications is Sunday October 19th 2020.


 We are open to all innovative ideas that could have a positive impact on the way care is delivered or training is provided, now that COVID has profoundly changed clinical practice, but also nursing and medical undergraduate and postgraduate education. Preference is given to smaller projects which are feasible, bring value to the health service and have the potential to be scaled up.


 Spark Funding has previously been used to support:

  • Design and printing of pro-formas, handover tools, communication aids and quick reference guides
  • Workshops for staff (including trainees) and students
  • Introduction of new services
  •  Wellbeing events and initiatives
  • Purchase of new software or novel devices


 Application requirements: 

All applications must be made online using the individual application form or group application form. The closing date for applications is October 19th.

The application form asks you to think about the problem you are trying to address with a human-centred approach. You do not have to have fully thought out solutions to apply for funding, particularly if you are submitting a group application. When submitting your application. We understand that ability to attend workshops may change in coming months due to the pandemic but we have already ran successful workshop/pitch sessions online so we are ready for anything! 


Applications will be shortlisted based on the following criteria:

1.    The problem/issues being addressed

2.    Feasibility of project

3.    Potential impact of the project on service/care provision

4.    Collaboration/stakeholder involvement

5.    Potential for project to be scaled up and transferred to other sites 


Previous recipients of Spark Seed Funding can apply again for new projects or for new phases of previous projects.

If you have any questions about Spark Seed Funding or the application process, please email us at spark@hse.ie. And follow us on Twitter (@programmespark) for updates on our events and calls for funding.