The assessors will score all of your questions except question 1 which is not scored.
Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.
Question 1. Themes (not scored)
Select one main category from the specific themes list in the ‘Scope’ section of this competition for your project. You cannot choose more than one.
The categories are:
1. Plan resilience and recoverability
2. Ancillary Plan to deliver right time, right traction from depot
3. Deterioration in network response to external events including trespass and suicide
4. Operating staff availability
5. Weather, seasons and climate change
6. More efficient use of access for infrastructure maintenance
7. Removal of organisational or systemic blockers to deployment of performance initiatives
Question 2. Previous applications and Rail Industry Readiness Level (not scored)
You must list previously funded projects the same or similar to your innovation made over the last three years.
In terms of your project goals, describe or explain:
- the commonality and differentiation between this application and previous projects
- the outcomes of previous projects, and their commercial success
You must provide evidence that what you are proposing is at Rail Industry Readiness Level 5 or above.
Question 3. Proposed idea or technology (scored out of 10)
How does the project meet the challenge described in the competition scope?
Provide a description of your proposed idea or technology.
Include a description of the current state of development or readiness of the idea.
- the main motivation for the project
- the business need or market opportunity
- how the railway will benefit from what you propose
- the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
- any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
You can submit a single appendix as a PDF containing images and diagrams to support your answer. It can be no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How well does the proposal meet the challenge?’.
Question 4. Technical project summary (scored out of 40)
What are the main technical challenges you are addressing?
- how you will address the challenge
- what the innovation is
- the main technical deliverables
- the research and development that will prove the scientific, environmental and commercial merit of the project
- what might be achieved by deploying the innovation to address the selected challenge
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How valid is the technical approach?’.
Question 5. Current state of the art and intellectual property (scored out of 10)
Are similar products currently available in the market?
How is your proposed project differentiated from them?
You must include details of:
- any existing intellectual property (IP)
- its significance to your freedom to operate
- novel concepts you develop or employ
- new approaches or technologies you use
- new tools or technologies
This question will be scored against these assessment criteria: ‘How innovative is this project? How much does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or technologies for this area?’.
Question 6. Project plan and methodology (scored out of 10)
Describe your project plan and identify the main milestones.
The emphasis throughout should be on practicality.
Provide evidence that the technology works, can be made into a viable product and can achieve the proposed benefits.
- describe resources that will be needed to deliver the project
- describe what the main success criteria will be
- identify the project management processes that will ensure you achieve the milestones
- provide a clear plan for establishing technical and commercial feasibility
- describe the main technical, commercial and environmental risks and what you will do to mitigate them
- provide a clear plan for development of a working prototype
- provide a clear plan of your demonstration and evaluation activity
You must explain how you would handle any IP issues which might arise during the project.
Include details of how you will maintain freedom to operate and fulfil the IP requirements detailed in the contract if you are working with subcontractors.
You must upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Your milestones must:
- be clear
- be defined using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) criteria
- be associated with the appropriate deliverables and payments
- indicate your payment schedule by month
Please note that all payments are made quarterly in arrears.
This question will be assessed against these assessment criteria:
- does the proposal show a clear plan for establishing technical and commercial feasibility and the development of a working prototype
- is there a clear management plan
- what are the main technical, commercial, and environmental risks to the project’s success
- how will these be effectively managed
- are the milestones and evaluation procedures appropriate
Please note information from the finances section will be used to support the assessment of this question. Proposed milestones and associated payments stated in this section must match those entered in the finance summary on your application.
Question 7. Technical team and expertise (scored out of 10)
Who is in the technical team? What expertise do they offer?
Provide a brief description of your technical team, including any subcontractors.
- how each organisation has the skills, capabilities, and experience to deliver the intended benefits
- how much of their time will be spent on the project
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: Does the applicant have the skills, capabilities and experience to deliver the intended benefits?
Question 8. Costs and value for money (scored out of 10)
How much will the project cost? How does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?
- the total costs inclusive of VAT (If applicable) you are requesting in terms of the project goals
- how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
Proposed costs stated in this section must match those entered in the finance summary. You can submit a single appendix as a PDF containing images and diagrams to support your answer. It can be no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Costs quoted must reflect actual costs at a “fair market value” and not include profit.
If you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs inclusive of VAT. Your total project costs must not exceed £250,000.
Not VAT registered
If you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered. Your total project costs must not exceed £250,000.
We cannot provide VAT advice and suggest you seek independent advice for example from HMRC.
You can submit a single appendix as a spreadsheet in PDF format, no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Costs quoted must reflect actual costs at a ‘fair market value’ and not include profit.
Full Economic Cost (FEC) calculations are not relevant for SBRI competitions. SBRI is a competitive process and applications will come from a variety of organisations. Whatever calculation you use to arrive at your total eligible project costs your application will be assessed against applications from other organisations. Bear this in mind when calculating your total eligible project costs. You can include overheads but remember that this is a competitive process.
The assessors are required to judge the application finances in terms of value for money. They will score your finances against this assessment criterion: ‘Are the budget and costs realistic, justified and appropriate for the aims and methods?
Please note information from the finances section will be used to support the assessment of this question. Proposed costs stated in this section must match those entered in the finance summary on your application.
Question 9. Commercial potential (scored out of 20)
What is the commercial potential of your project? You must focus on your proposed customer’s needs.
- projects commercial potential for a marketable product, process or service
- delivery plan
- expected route to market
Describe the competitive advantage that your project has over existing or alternative technologies that meet market needs.
Describe any existing commercial relationships relevant to the project.
With the focus on your proposed customer’s needs, you can also mention the future commercial potential across the public or private sector and international markets.
You must submit your letter(s) of support as a single appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, can be no larger than 10MB and up to 4 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against these assessment criteria:
- is there a clear commercial potential for a marketable product, process or service
- is there a clear plan to deliver that and a clear route to market
- how significant is the competitive advantage of this technology over existing technologies that meet the market’s needs