The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a cleverly designed public procurement scheme that enables government departments to fully fund the development of innovative solutions to the challenges that they face. It's aimed particularly at small innovative businesses, and the funding is not a grant; it comes in the form of a contract to undertake feasibility, research and or development work.
To obtain this funding, interested parties do need to prepare an application that in many ways resembles a grant application, and it's worth getting some advice on how to maximise your chance of success.
The SBRI is managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) on behalf of various government departments and agencies, and works on the basis of calls for proposals. The following calls are currently open:
Working with Ramblers Cymru, the Welsh Government, TSB, Visit Wales and the Inventorium, the latest GeoVation Challenge, ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path’, aims to look at how people who live and work along, or visit the 870 mile (1,400 km) coastal path can utilise innovative digital technology to benefit from this ‘world first’ opportunity. Deadline for applications 1st May.
NHS Midlands and East in partnership with the Department of Health are looking for innovative new products and services that will support improved Medicines Management. Deadline 18th May.
The Department of Health, NHS London and London Health Programmes are looking for technological solutions that can help change behaviour in order to reduce the impact of obesity and alcohol related diseases. Deadline 1st June.
The Technology Strategy Board and Department of Health are looking for novel and innovative diagnostic tests and assessments to determine an individual patient’s response to therapeutic intervention. Deadline for registrations 6th June, deadline for applications 13th June.
The UK Space Agency is looking for innovative ideas to test end-to-end, add value and increase user uptake of the Galileo Public Regulated Service (a satellite navigation service) throughout the user chain. Deadline for registrations 30th May, deadline for applications 27th June.
Several more competitions are not yet open but will be soon:
The Centre for Defence Enterprise is looking for innovative approaches that strengthen the ability of decision makers to increase the medical operational independence of front line units to operate remotely in the most challenging circumstances; and to deliver the greatest levels of support in the rehabilitation of severely injured personnel. Opens 23rd April, deadline 31st May.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change, is looking for new energy efficient technologies and processes for the refurbishment of non domestic buildings, with the aim of reducing the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions of the existing building stock. Opens 30th April, deadline for registrations 6th June, deadline for applications 13th June.
The MOD's ‘Armour and Protection Science and Technology Centre’ is making a call for research proposals for long term research in the area of innovative and novel protection systems, in particular active systems, that will provide a significant, possibly revolutionary, advance on current technologies. Opens 15th May, deadline 4th June.
The Centre for Defence Enterprise will also be issuing a call in the general field of defence implications of emerging technologies. The precise focus is still to be announced, but this competition will open on 12th June with a deadline of 18th July.