By using our website you accept our cookies policy.Find out more

Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI phase 1

Funding details
Registration opens
29 Jun 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
05 Aug 2020, 11:00
05 Aug 2020, 11:00
We expect projects in this phase to range in size up to total costs of £60,000, including VAT.
Innovate UK

Innovate UK will fund organisations to develop and demonstrate new products or services. Your solution must help businesses and/or the public sector in the UK recover from the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic in a sustainable manner, demonstrating the impact and potential of a clean growth led recovery and transition to net zero.

The overall programme will be delivered in 2 phases. This is phase 1 and will focus on exploring the feasibility of proposals. Phase 2 will concentrate on continued research, development and testing. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. SBRI programmes fund organisations to conduct challenge-based research and development (R&D) to develop products or services that address a specific unmet public sector need.

Projects must start on 1 October 2020 and can last up to 3 months. You must be able to carry out project work under the prevailing restrictions of the pandemic.

To lead a project, you can be an organisation of any size. Academic institutions and registered charities can apply but must demonstrate a route to market, including a plan to commercialise the results. Contracts will be awarded only to individual organisations but you can sub-contract specific tasks if they benefit the overall project.

Your project must address one or more of the following themes, which are informed by the government’s Clean Growth Strategy:

  • decarbonising energy, business and industry
  • improving business and industry efficiency
  • improving the energy efficiency, heating and cooling of our homes and other buildings
  • accelerating the shift to low carbon transport
  • enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources
  • innovating for a more sustainable public sector
  • climate change adaptation and mitigation

Phase 1. Research and development contracts, feasibility study

The first phase involves research and development (R&D) contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. A total of up to £10 million including VAT, is allocated to support successful projects in this phase.

It is anticipated that the feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £60,000, including VAT. This is for each project for up to 3 months. The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation.

In phase 1, to simplify payment processing and make it easier for your project to adapt around the constraints of coronavirus (COVID 19), we plan to make 2 payments against milestones. The first payment (25% of the funding) will be related to the successful completion of the project kick off meeting and the second (75%) on the submission of the project end-of-phase report.

The second phase will award R&D contracts to organisations competitively selected from the successful phase 1 applicants. A total of up to £70 million including VAT, is allocated to support successful projects in phase 2. Up to £3 million including VAT, will be allocated for each 12 month contract, in order to develop a prototype and undertake field testing.

Successful projects may be required to demonstrate progress as part of a showcase at the UN climate change conference COP26 in November 2021.

The contract is completed at the end of phase 2, and the successful business is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

Your organisation must work with identified potential future customers to ‘build back better’ from the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic, creating a more sustainable economy, and help deliver on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and net zero ambition.

To be successful by the end of phase 2 you must develop and demonstrate new products or services which do both of the following:

  • help businesses and/or the public sector in the UK recover from the pandemic
  • protect the climate and environment upon which we and future generations depend

Your proposed solution must:

  • be innovative
  • be practical and deliverable
  • take affordability into consideration
  • result in sustainable innovation which, in phase 2, can act as a showcase approach to delivering net zero

Your application must:

  • demonstrate a clear plan for commercialisation and a route to market for affordable, developed solutions
  • set out clearly how solutions might be tested in a representative or real world setting as part of phase 2
  • address how any potentially negative outcomes (such as on the environment or society) would be managed
  • explain how a positive impact on climate change and/or environmental sustainability will be achieved, maintained and measured
  • work throughout with at least one potential future customer who might use your solution when it comes to market

The potential customer can be a public, private or third sector organisation that is looking to tackle such a challenge. They should also help you understand their requirements and explore the feasibility of your proposal. During phase 1 you must make plans with them for phase 2, to build a prototype and test it in real world scenarios.

Innovate UK have launched a virtual marketplace website to help innovators, potential customers and other sub-contractors find each other, communicate and develop project ideas. The website will be available until the application deadline.

Phase 1. Technical feasibility studies

This means planned research or critical investigation to gain new knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services.

Phase 2. Prototype development and evaluation

This can include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services in environments representative of real life operating conditions.

In phase 1 the supplier will work closely with the stakeholders to develop a solution. The outcome of phase 2 will be a prototype of the solution.

An online briefing was held on 2 July and a recording can be found here. You can also view KTN’s informal Q&A session here.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.