SBRI: Reducing pollution resulting from domestic burning or agricultural practices: Phase 1
Organisations can apply for a share of £2 million, inclusive of VAT. This will be to develop products or services that reduce the volume of harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of domestic burning or agricultural practices.
- Competition opens: Tuesday 18 April 2023
- Competition closes: Wednesday 24 May 2023 11:00am
This competition is now closed.
This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The aim of the competition is to develop products or services that can help reduce harmful pollutants in the atmosphere resulting from domestic burning or agricultural practices that generate ammonia, including from anaerobic digestion.
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 to take part in phase 2.
In applying to this 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.
Your phase 1 project can range in size up to total costs of £60,000 inclusive of VAT.
Who can apply
- start on 1 August 2023
- end by 31 October 2023
- last up to 3 months
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 or Belarusian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian 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.
A total of up to £2 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this phase 1.
Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £60,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project up to 3 months in duration. We expect to fund up to 30 projects in total across the two competition themes.
Potential Phase 2, involves up to 6 contracts being awarded to organisations chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £315,000 inclusive of VAT will be allocated for each contract, to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to 10 months.
The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:
- adjust the provisional funding allocation between the phases
- apply a ‘portfolio’ approach
The contract is completed at the end of phase 1, and the successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.
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.
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 inclusive of VAT must not exceed £60,000.
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 £60,000.
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
The aim of this competition is to develop products or services that can help reduce harmful pollutants in the atmosphere resulting from domestic burning or agricultural practices that generate ammonia, including from anaerobic digestion.
Domestic combustion is a major source of particulate matter (PM) emissions. Emissions of PM2.5 from domestic wood burning increased by 124 per cent between 2011 and 2021, to represent 21 per cent of total PM2.5 emissions in 2021. If we are to meet statutory PM2.5 targets we will need to find ways to reduce emissions from domestic wood burning.
Your solution must reduce emissions by introducing a new fuel type, improving wood burning stoves and fires or by post-burning emissions capture and filtration.
The agriculture sector accounts for 87% of UK emissions of ammonia. This is emitted mainly during storage and spreading of manures, slurries and digestate from anaerobic digestion and from the application of inorganic fertilisers. Ammonia reacts with nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide to form secondary particulate matter which significantly impacts on human health in rural and urban areas.
Your solution must either prevent emissions of ammonia, extract it from the air or reduce deposition onto sensitive habitats.
Your phase 1 project must:
- demonstrate the technical feasibility of the proposed innovation, developing minimum viable products or early prototypes as appropriate
- develop the plan and lay the foundations to deliver potential phase 2 projects
- establish collaborations and agreements which will enable testing of the innovation in a real-world setting as part of potential phase 2 projects
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 potential plan for 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 further develop their innovations, deploying, testing and iterating them in a real world or representative environment, working closely with potential users and customers.
Your phase 1 project must focus on one of the following:
- reducing harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of domestic burning
- reducing the production and impact of ammonia from agricultural practices, including from anaerobic digestion
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. In phase 1 the supplier will work closely with stakeholders to develop a solution.
Potential Phase 2: prototype development and evaluationThis 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:
- focus on tackling pollutants which have no demonstrated health or environmental impact
- generate more harmful pollutants than are removed
- result in a significant negative overall environmental impact
- duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives you have already been funded for
- duplicate existing innovation
- have existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions
- 18 April 2023
- Competition opens
- 24 April 2023
- Online briefing event: watch the recording
- 24 May 2023 11:00am
- Competition closes
- 23 June 2023
- 23 June 2023
- Applicants notified
- 1 August 2023
- 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 phase 1 will then be issued to all successful applicants.For a potential phase 2, assessors can also take into account the phase 1 end-of-phase report.
What we will ask you
The application is split into 3 sections:
1. Project details.
2. Application questions.
You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.
Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:
- that all the information provided in the application is correct
- your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
- all sections of the application are marked as complete
You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.
Accessibility and inclusion
We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Read more on how we are making our application process more accessible and inclusive for everyone.
You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.
You can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
1. Project details
This section provides background for your application and is not scored.
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.
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.
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.
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 answers apart from question 1.
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 which of the two specific themes your project is focussing on. You cannot choose more than one:
- reducing harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere as a result of domestic burning
- reducing the production and impact of ammonia from agricultural practices, including from anaerobic digestion
Question 2. 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 3. Technical project summary
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 4. 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 or technologies for this area?’.
Question 5. Project plan and methodology
Describe your project plan and identify the main milestones.
The plan for phase 1 must be comprehensive. For a potential 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.
- 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 intellectual property (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
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 6. 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.
- 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 7. 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?
- 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.
All costs quoted must reflect actual costs at a ‘fair market value’ and not include profit.
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.
Indicate your potential costs for phase 2.
Progression to phase 2 depends on your success in phase 1.
Please note that all payments are made quarterly in arrears on submission of an invoice. The invoice must be submitted within 30 days of the end of each monitoring period for all completed milestones.
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 8. Commercial potential
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.
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
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 £60,000, inclusive of VAT.
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. Costs quoted must reflect actual costs at a ‘fair market value’ and not include profit.
You must submit an invoice for the work undertaken. All payments are made in arrears on submission of an invoice. Invoices must be submitted within 30 days of the end of each monitoring period for all completed milestones.
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.
In 2019 UK Government published a Clean Air Strategy which sets out the comprehensive actions required across all parts of government and society to improve air quality. The strategy covers the context and challenges around domestic burning and agricultural practices in some detail.
In 2022 the Chief Medical Officers Annual Report focused on the health impacts of air pollution and covered both agriculture and domestic burning as sources of harmful pollutants.
This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (each an “agency”).
Any relevant information submitted and 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 Defra and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:
- the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
- scoring and feedback on the application
- information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports
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.
If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.
You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your Innovation Funding Service (IFS) Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.
You will need to provide:
- the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
- a redacted copy of your bank details
In order to process your claims, we need to make sure that the bank details you give to us relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.
If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.
We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.
You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays. We will also review your milestones, which, if not suitable, will need to be amended during project setup.
Failure to complete project setup may result in your contract being withdrawn.
Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your contract.
The contract will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this before you start your project, and this must be completed within 30 days of being notified your application was successful.
Your contract will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your contract.
If your application is unsuccessful
If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.
Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.
Further help and guidance
If you want help to find an organisation to work with, contact the Innovate UK KTN.
If you need more information about how to apply, or have any questions about the scope requirements please email email@example.com or call 0300 321 4357.
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