More than 30 years on from the start of the AIDS epidemic in the UK, the landscape is unrecognisable from that of the 1980s. The availability of effective HIV treatment means people with HIV can lead a long and healthy life. However, there are now more people living with HIV in the UK than ever before. In 2015 an estimated 101,200 people were living with HIV in the UK, and of these, around 13,500 were unaware of their HIV infection. Many people receive a late diagnosis, meaning they start treatment later which affects life expectancy and increases complications. And stigma and discrimination continue to be a major challenge in the UK.
This initiative funded through a partnership between The M∙A∙C AIDS Fund and Comic Relief, will support organisations who are using technology in innovative and inspiring ways to respond to the ever-changing HIV landscape in the UK.
Proposals which aim to address the following priorities are particularly welcome:
- Improve the quality of life for people living with HIV, particularly those who are 50+
- Increase access to services which enable prompt diagnosis of HIV and contribute to HIV prevention
- Address misinformation and the stigma surrounding HIV
The technological responses can include digital solutions for sector practitioners and those which make services work more effectively behind the scenes, as well as those for people living with HIV or those at highest risk of contracting HIV. We’ll support simple and low tech solutions such as videos, SMS messaging and social media as long they make the best use of people’s current digital behaviour and not primarily face to face working.
A wide range of digital innovations will be considered and our aim is to fund projects that:
- Are focused on specific user needs, and current digital behaviours in their design, delivery and development
- Make best use of web, mobile or internet based technologies, whether this is hardware or software development
- Have potential to scale and be adopted by others
- Disrupt and challenge existing ways of delivering services
- Involve collaborations between those delivering vital support services and digital agencies to ensure reach, user involvement and technical rigour
Applicants must be able to demonstrate they follow best practice in digital design and development – see www.gov.uk/design-principles.
In order to encourage organisations to innovate and respond to the challenges present in the HIV sector, we have partnered with the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund. We anticipate making up to 10 grants from a total fund of £450,000.
- Grants can be for between £20,000 – £80,000, and over a period of six – 18 months.
- We will fund digital solutions at any stage of development (from idea stage to roll out of existing solutions). You will need to have an identified digital partner (or in-house digital expertise) in place at the point of applying for funding.
- We are particularly interested to understand the sustainability and revenue models for the technological solution, so please reflect on this in the application.
- We welcome proposals from the HIV sector and beyond, including unusual collaborations, such as those working together to develop new solutions alongside design or digital agencies.
- The grant will include additional support from social-tech experts, which will include a one day start up workshop at the start of the grant, connections to tech experts, on-going mentoring and two peer learning days.
- Applicants should budget for three trips to London to attend these sessions.
- We expect that for those projects at an early stage of development, the first three months will be dedicated to research, ideas development, user testing or piloting, before development and delivery work begins in full over the remaining life of the project.
Organisations or partnerships applying to this initiative must meet Comic Relief’s general eligibility requirements. In addition:
- Grants are available for organisations based in the UK for work in the UK.
- There is no restriction on the annual income of the organisation or partnership applying for a grant.
- There is no restriction on applying for this grant if you have another grant with Comic Relief.
- We will not fund pure research for the duration of the grant, however, we will support research as part of the grant that results in the creation of a tangible solutions and would expect user-centred research and design processes to be followed throughout.