I had a fascinating meeting with a senior officer of the Department of Health today to look at access to innovation funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and some of the projects under their mentorship. What was particularly surprising is that we are seemingly conditioned to expect that funds are scarce, but actually fewer innovation grants are allocated than are available. A later check in the NIHR Annual Report confirmed that the organisation has an annual sum to spend and that for almost all categories, the 2008/09 spend is less than the forecast for 2009/10- implying that this year was underspent. This is not a criticism because the organisation rightly sets the quality bar high, but it is still a surprise that we're not generating enough good ideas to qualify for funding. Long live the Government's enthusiasm for innovating our way out of the credit crunch... thinking caps on people!