Funding competition SBRI: MRV tools and techniques for land based greenhouse gas removal, phase 1

Organisations can apply for a share of £375,000, inclusive of VAT, to develop tools, technologies and techniques to assist and enable the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of land based greenhouse gas removal (GGR) methods.

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Competition sections

Description

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK as part of the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators programme.

The aim of the competition is to deliver innovative monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) tools, technologies and techniques that assess the effectiveness, integrity and longevity of land based greenhouse gas removal. The results of which will increase the credibility, confidence and uptake of land based greenhouse gas removal techniques.

This is phase 1 of a potential 2 phase competition. The decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1 and assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 competition.

Only the successful applicants from phase 1 will be invited to apply in a potential phase 2.

In applying to this phase 1 competition, you are entering into a competitive process.

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.

This competition closes at 11am UK time on the date of the deadline.

Funding type

Procurement

Project size

Phase 1 projects can range in size up to total costs of £75,000, inclusive of VAT.

Who can apply

Your project

Projects must:

  • end by 28 February 2023
  • last up to 3 months

Your project is expected to start by 1 December 2022.

Applicant

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors

This competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

Funding

A total of up to £375,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this phase 1 competition.

Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £75,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 3 months. We expect to fund up to 6 projects.

A potential Phase 2 could involve up to 2 contracts being awarded to organisations chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. It is expected that up to £312,500 inclusive of VAT will be allocated for each contract, to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to 12 months.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding allocations between the phases
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

The contract is completed at the end of phase 1.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs.

VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. We will not provide any further advice and suggest you seek independent advice from HMRC.

VAT registered

If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total. Your total project costs must not exceed £75,000.

Not VAT registered

If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. 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 £75,000.

Research and development

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. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Subsidy control

SBRI competitions involve procurement of R&D services at a fair market value and are not subject to subsidy control criteria that typically apply to grant funding.

Your project

The aim of this competition is to deliver innovative monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) tools, technologies and techniques that assess the effectiveness, integrity and longevity of land based greenhouse gas removal (GGR). The results of which will increase in the credibility, confidence and uptake of land based greenhouse gas removal techniques.

Your project must help in quantifying the greenhouse gases sequestered through land based GGR and understanding their permanence and security. This must be by effective MRV tools, technologies and techniques that show how land based GGR will contribute to the UK reaching its net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2050.

In this phase 1 project you must demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed tool, technology or technique for MRV of greenhouse gas sequestration. The solution must be applied to one, or multiple, land based greenhouse gas removal techniques or sites.

You can use a variety of tools, technologies and techniques to assist and enable robust MRV of land based GGR techniques. For example:

  • digital solutions
  • remote sensing or monitoring
  • databases
  • online tools
  • measurement tools
  • accreditation schemes

This list is not exhaustive and we welcome any proposals that can make a significant contribution to the MRV of land based GGR.

Where useful, your solutions may cross-reference data with historical or other data sources, models and tools.

You must work with and use data from demonstration projects funded through one or both of:

These demonstration projects primarily focus on CO2. You can include other

greenhouse gases in your proposal.

We will give preference to applications which show evidence of working with a potential future customer or end user to test and optimise your innovation.

Contracts will be given to successful applicants.

At this stage contracts will be given for phase 1 only.

You must define your goals in your application and outline your plan for a potential phase 2. This is part of the full commercial implementation in your phase 1 application.

You must demonstrate a credible and practical route to market, so your application must include a plan to commercialise your results.

In phase 2 we will ask successful applicants from phase 1 to demonstrate and evaluate the use of the solution within the land based greenhouse gas removal field.

The decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1 and assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 competition.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following themes related to the integrity and longevity of land based GGR techniques:

  • quantification of sequestered greenhouse gases
  • verification of sequestered greenhouse gases
  • reporting of sequestered greenhouse gases
  • security and permanence of the sequestered greenhouses gases

Your project can include one or more of the following land based greenhouse gas removal techniques:

  • enhanced weathering
  • biochar
  • afforestation
  • peatland restoration
  • perennial biomass growth

Your project can include more than one site.

Research categories

Phase 1: technical feasibility studies (this phase)

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

In phase 1 the supplier will work closely with the stakeholders to develop a solution and investigate its feasibility to take forward to phase 2.

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. The primary objective is to make further technical improvements on products, processes or services that are not substantially set.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • have total project costs in excess of £75,000 inclusive of VAT
  • do not meet the scope of the competition
  • do not work with any of the demonstrators from the Greenhouse Gas Removals - Demonstrators programme or from the Department for BEIS Direct Air Capture and other Greenhouse Gas Removal technologies competition (phases 1 and 2)
  • focus on direct air capture and storage (DACS) and bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
  • focus on capture of greenhouse gas removals as part of an industrial post-combustion capture process
  • focus on MRV of ocean-based GGR techniques
  • focus on the development of GGR techniques themselves
  • have existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions
  • duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives you have already been funded for
  • duplicate existing innovation
  • do not manage any potentially negative outcomes
  • do not show potential for positive economic or societal impact
  • do not demonstrate significant support and engagement from potential end users or customers

27 June 2022
Competition opens
13 July 2022
Applicant briefing event: register to attend
7 September 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
28 October 2022
Feedback available
28 October 2022
Applicants notified
1 December 2022
Phase 1 contracts awarded

Before you start

By submitting an application, you agree to the terms of the draft contract which is available once you start your application. The terms of the contract are non-negotiable and are included in the draft contract. We reserve the right to change the terms and conditions if necessary.

The final contract will include any milestones you have agreed with the funding authority and will be sent to you if your application is successful. The contract is binding once it is returned by you and signed by both parties.

When you start an application, you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. Using your account, you will be able to track your applications progress.

As the applicant you are responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite colleagues from your organisation to contribute to the application.

What happens next

A selected panel of assessors will review and score your application. You will be notified of the outcome and feedback will be provided. Contracts for this phase 1 will then be issued to all successful applicants.

If you are invited to a phase 2 competition, assessors can also take into account the phase 1 end-of-phase report. They might ask a number of finalists to attend an interview or give a demonstration.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

These sections are not scored.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Who made you aware of the competition?

Select a category to state who made you aware of the competition. You cannot choose more than one.

How long has your organisation been established for?

Select a category to state how long has your organisation been established for. You cannot choose more than one.

What is your organisation’s primary area focus?

Select a category to state your organisation’s primary focus area. You cannot choose more than one.

Application team

Decide which people will work with you on the project. You can invite people from your organisation to help complete the application.

Team members must each complete an Equality Diversity and Inclusion survey. As the lead applicant you must complete the survey to submit your application.

Project and scope summary

Please provide a short summary of your project.

Describe your project briefly. Be clear about what makes it innovative and how it relates to the scope of the competition. How does it tackle different aspects of the challenge and how will it provide an integrated solution?

Give details of the lead organisation. Before you submit, we expect you to have discussed your application within your organisation.

Your answer for this section can be up to 800 words long.

This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits the scope of the competition. If it does not, it may be rejected.

Public description

Please provide a brief description of your project. If your application is successful, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project. This question is mandatory, but we will not assess this content as part of your application.

Describe your project in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. We have the right to amend the description before publication if necessary but will consult you about any changes.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Applicant location

You must state the name of your organisation along with your full registered address.

You must also state the name and full registered address of any potential or confirmed subcontractors.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all participants of a project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all of your questions.

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. Proposed idea or technology

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.

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 2. Technical project summary

What are the main technical challenges you are addressing?

Explain:

  • 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 3. Current state of the art and intellectual property

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, technologies and techniques for this area?’

Question 4. Project plan and methodology

Describe your project plan and identify the main milestones.

The plan for phase 1 must be comprehensive. For phase 2 only an outline is required. 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.

You must:

  • 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

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 5. Technical team and expertise

Who is in the technical team? What expertise do they offer?

Provide a brief description of your technical team, including any subcontractors.

Describe:

  • 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 6. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost for phase 1? How does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

Describe:

  • 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 for phase 1 must match those entered in the finance summary.

Indicate your potential costs for phase 2.

Progression to phase 2 depends on your success in phase 1.

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.

VAT registered

If you are VAT registered, you must list your project costs inclusive of VAT. Your total project costs must not exceed £75,000.

Not VAT registered

If you are not VAT registered, you must list 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 £75,000.

We cannot provide VAT advice and suggest you to seek independent advice for example from HMRC.

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 7. Commercial potential

What is the commercial potential of your project? You must focus on your proposed customer’s needs.

Describe your:

  • timescales
  • project’s 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.

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

3. Finances

Enter your phase 1 project costs, organisation details and funding details.

You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs. We advise you answer the VAT registered question first before entering your costs. Your total project costs must not exceed £75,000.

If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total.

If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered.

VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. We will not provide any further advice and advise you to seek independent advice from HMRC.

For full information on what costs you can claim, see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

About Small Business Research Initiative competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness.

The SBRI programme:

  • supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of R&D
  • generates new business opportunities for companies
  • provides a route to market for their ideas
  • bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies

SBRI competitions are open to all eligible organisations that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution. Under current regulations, SBRI contracts are open to applications from organisations registered in the UK, European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The SBRI scheme is particularly suited to small and medium-sized businesses, as the contracts are of relatively small value and operate on short timescales. Developments are 100% funded and focused on specific identified needs, increasing the chance of exploitation.

SBRI is a procurement of R&D services. If successful, you will receive a contract to deliver the proposed activity. You will submit an invoice for the work undertaken. If you are VAT registered, your total costs are expected to include VAT that you would charge as a service provider. VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business, and applications are expected to list total costs inclusive of VAT.

Suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the contracting authority. This is an excellent opportunity to establish an early customer for a new technology and to fund its development.

Broader Information

This competition is funded through the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), which has been set up to build upon the vision of a ‘common research fund’ set out in Sir Paul Nurse’s independent review of the Research Councils.

The fund aims to:

  • increase high-quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation
  • ensure UKRI investment links up effectively with government research and innovation priorities
  • respond to strategic priorities and opportunities

The Strategic Priorities Fund Greenhouse Gas Removal - Demonstrators programme is a cross UKRI collaborative programme that comprises three strands:

  • GGR demonstrators
  • Directorate Hub
  • Progressing GGR to readiness

The GGR demonstrators and Directorate Hub competition winners were awarded in 2021. These projects will ultimately be involved in supporting the projects awarded through this Innovate UK SBRI: MRV tools and techniques for land based greenhouse gas removal competition.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (each an “agency”).

Your submitted application and any other information you provide at the application stage can be submitted to each agency on an individual basis for its storage, processing and use. Any relevant information produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to UKRI and vice versa.

Innovate UK and UKRI are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, and UKRI will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Further help and guidance

If you want help to find an organisation to work with, contact the Innovate UK KTN.

If you have any questions about the scope requirements of this competition, email support@iuk.ukri.org.

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email us at support@iuk.ukri.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be because of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

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