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Could you help solve the innovation challenges of the UK’s public sector organisations? 100% of your R&D costs covered if you can.

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We're working in partnership with Innovate UK and a range of public sector organisations to fund and promote a series of innovation challenges currently faced by the UK's public sector.

Through this programme, we can help you access funding of up to £100,000 to test an idea, and up to £2 million or more to develop or demonstrate solutions in the field.

What does that mean?

This offers you the chance to apply for a series of innovation challenges that provide 100% funding, through competitive R&D contract opportunities.

We’re searching for fresh, original ideas to help us pair the talents of smaller companies with the business issues of public sector organisations.

Whether you’re re-purposing existing technology from another field or creating innovative solutions from scratch, we'll connect you with organisations that need your skills.

The innovation challenges cover a range of industry sectors, including:

  • Emerging and enabling technologies
  • Digital economy
  • Health and life sciences
  • Manufacturing and materials

And with our dedicated innovation support services, we’re able to support you all the way through the innovation journey.

Why should you get involved?

You'll have access to current and specific demands for new products and services. 

If successful, the funding will take you all the way to the crucial first customer trial and reference site, and offer you the opportunity to break into a large public sector market.

You retain the right to exploit your intellectual property and, potentially, use the initial public sector customer as a stepping stone into even larger private sector markets. 

The challenges

NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland, in conjunction with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Government, will fund up to £400,000 for innovative technology and digital platforms that improve inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care.

A Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, this competition aims to develop technology that will improve the ongoing management of IBD for people living with the disease.

The competition is looking for proposals that:

  • Help patients manage their health from home
  • Promote independence and help people to be more involved in decisions about their care
  • Facilitate easier and quicker communication with clinicians
  • Organisations can carry out the project on their own or with others

This competition has 3 phases. We have allocated up to £75,000 for phase 1, up to £135,000 for phase 2 and up to £150,000 for phase 3:

  • Phase 1: technical feasibility. Projects should last up to 8 weeks. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £15,000 each
  • Phase 2: prototype development and testing. Projects should last up to 6 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £45,000 each
  • Phase 3: pre-commercial testing to support continued development of the solution. Projects should last up to 1 year. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £75,000 each

You must register before midday on 10 May 2017, and apply before midday on 17 May 2017.


Learn more about this challenge on the SBRI website

NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government is to invest up to £55,000 in innovative data analytics. These should improve patient management and enhance clinical decision making within the emergency care department.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. The aim is to develop data analytics that will enable clinicians to make informed, safe and timely decisions.

The competition is looking for proposals that:

  • Support evidence-based clinical decision-making
  • Predict length of stay (resource utilisation) based on available data
  • Predict mortality based on available data

This competition has 2 phases. We have allocated up to £10,000 for phase 1 and up to £45,000 for phase 2.

  • Phase 1: technical feasibility. Projects should last up to 12 weeks and range in size up to a total cost of £2,000
  • Phase 2: development, evaluation and testing. Projects should last up to 9 months and range in size up to a total cost of £15,000

The competition opens on 10 April 2017.

Learn more and apply on the SBRI website

Innovate UK

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK are to invest up to £3 million in projects that will integrate and demonstrate flexible innovative technologies for the nuclear decommissioning sector. The aim of this competition is to develop an innovative and integrated demonstrator. This should minimise human intervention, achieve a significant increase in productivity and reduce the cost of nuclear decommissioning.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. It is open to organisations of all sizes, from any sector.

This competition has 2 phases. We have allocated up to £400,000 for phase 1 and up to £2.6 million for phase 2.

Phase 1: technical feasibility studies. We expect projects to range in size, up to a total cost of £50,000. Projects should last up to 3 months.

Phase 2: development and demonstration in a non-active environment. We expect projects to range in size, up to a total cost of £1.5 million, but we will consider funding larger projects on a case by case basis. Projects should last up to 20 months.

  • Register by noon on 19 April 2017
  • Apply by noon on 26 April 2017

Read the Innovate UK competition document on the GOV.UK website

Department of Health

The Department of Health is to invest up to £35 million in projects to develop new vaccines against infectious diseases.

Aiming to support the clinical development of candidate vaccines against 12 diseases, the UK Vaccine Network has identified these diseases as a priority because they have the potential to cause epidemics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

A single-stage competition, it covers carrying out clinical development of vaccines up to and including phase IIb trials. We expect that individual contracts will be valued up to £3 million. Projects should last between 24 and 36 months.

Run in partnership with the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council, this innovation call is open to organisations of all sizes. Academic, industry and government bodies are all eligible to apply for funding.

  • Register by noon on 12 April 2017
  • Apply by noon on 19 April 2017

Read the Department of Health competition document on the GOV.UK website

Smart cities - living lab challenge 

Up to €3.6m available for the development of a Smart City, living lab innovation platform. 

The 'SELECT for cities' competition is built around the premise that cities across the world require new methods, technology and tools to foster open innovation to solve challenges, increase value for their cities and businesses - and, eventually, become 'smart cities'. 

Central to this is the development of the Internet of Everything (IoE). It's one of the dominant drivers in shaping the way people manage and live in urban environments. However, progress has been slow due to a number of barrier s - including a lack of common standards, fragmented marketplace and lack of investment in solutions. 

Could you help develop an open, standardised, data-driven, service-orientated and user-centric platform to enable large-scale co-create, testing validation of IoE applications and services? 

Get more detail about the challenge - and the competition cities (Antwerp, Copenhagen and Helsinki) below. 

Discover more about this challenge

The Data Lab

Could you develop an innovative technology solution to record and integrate cancer Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs)?

Apply for a share of up to £325,000 (inc VAT) for innovative technology approaches to record and integrate cancer PROMs and PREMs to improve patient care.

The Data Lab, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and in collaboration with DHI Scotland and Stratified Medicine Scotland, is supplying funding to support technology solutions that will record PROMs and PREMs and integrate them into existing NHS systems to improve patient care.Organisations can carry out the project on their own or with others.

This competition has two phases. Up to £125,000 (inc VAT) is allocated for Phase 1, and up to £200,000 (inc VAT) for Phase 2.

Phase 1: technical feasibility. Projects should last up to 3 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £25,000 (inc VAT) each.

Phase 2: development and evaluation. Projects should last up to 6 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £100,000 (inc VAT) each.

The Data Lab, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and in collaboration with DHI Scotland and Stratified Medicine Scotland reserve the right to adjust the provisional funding allocations between the Phases. The total funding available for the competition may be subject to change.

The competition opens on 3 April 2017.

  • You must register to apply before 15 May 2017.
  • You must submit your full application by 29 May 2017.

Apply for this innovation challenge

How we can support you

From product design to proof of concept, through prototype testing and market launch,  our experienced team of innovation advisers are on-hand to help.

We can support your innovations in a number of ways.

If you're looking for funding to research your ideas, improve existing products or develop new ones, then our advisers can provide the steer you need to get ahead.

Discover our innovation support

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