Funding competition SBRI: identify, catalogue and analyse terrorist still imagery online

Organisations can apply to develop solutions for automatic identification, cataloguing and analysis of online still imagery. This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


One of the Research, Information and Communications Unit’s (RICU) primary objectives is to help prevent people from being drawn into extremism and terrorism. This is mainly achieved through the removal of terrorist propaganda online and the promotion of counter narrative communications campaigns.

More than 80% of terrorist media shared online by the group’s supporters is still imagery. RICU forecast that terrorist propaganda will increasingly be used to exploit local issues in the UK, Europe and North America. For this purpose they will rely on supporter-produced imagery. Such propaganda is highly dangerous because it is so often created both by and for our own citizens.

We are looking to develop technology that automates the detection of still imagery.

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. Phase 2 is dependent on the success of this phase.

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects in phase 1 to range in size up to total costs of £50,000 including VAT per organisation for up to 3 months. We expect to fund up to 5 projects.

Who can apply

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation, of any size
  • work alone or with others as subcontractors (businesses, research base or third sector)
You must:
  • be able to handle confidential information
  • pass a counter-terrorism check

Projects we will not fund

We are not looking to fund projects:

  • which do not meet the requirements outlined in the scope
  • which focus on the identification of video content
  • that are not digital
  • that are cloud based and do not apply the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) Cloud Security Principles

Funding and project details

The overall programme will be delivered over 2 phases. This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition. 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 take part in phase 2.

Phase 1: feasibility study

This study should result in a technical and commercial specification and detailed design package for a digital solution.

The first phase involves research and development contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. A total of up to £250,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1 of the competition.

It is anticipated that the feasibility study research and development (R&D) contracts will be in the region of up to £50,000, including VAT. This is for each project for up to 3 months. We expect to fund up to 5 projects. The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation.

We would welcome bids that bring together a consortium of sector specialists.

Phase 2: research and development contracts, prototype development and testing

Phase 2 should result in a prototype installation to test functionality.

This second phase involves up to 2 R&D contracts being awarded to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £500,000, including VAT, will be allocated for each contract, in order to develop a prototype and undertake testing for up to 12 months.

Your proposal

We are seeking proposals to automate the detection, cataloguing and analysis of still terrorist imagery posted on a range of social networking, public messaging or content hosting platforms. The principal application of this technology will be to improve HMG analysis and reporting of terrorist content online. However, applicants should also consider the potential for their solutions to this challenge to be implemented by industry, to help expedite the removal of this harmful material online.

Applicants should consider the accuracy thresholds of any proposed solution against these use cases; while a solution that is 99% accurate at determining terrorist imagery could be developed into an analysis platform, a solution created for implementation against the data volumes of CSPs would require far greater accuracy.

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

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

Projects must:

  • be able to input and output large volumes of content in the most efficient form
  • combine metadata analysis with developing technologies to achieve desired results
  • be flexible enough to allow new models to be added, and to be easily integrated within existing detection tools

14 May 2018
Competition opens
18 May 2018
Briefing event.
20 June 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
27 June 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
31 August 2018
Applicants notified
30 September 2018
Phase 1 contracts awarded.
30 September 2018
Feedback provided.

Before you start

To apply:

  • the lead applicant must register online. Please note that you must complete a separate registration for each proposal submitted
  • read the invitation to tender which will be available for you to download from our secure site after registration
  • consider attending the briefing event for potential applicants
  • complete and upload your online application for phase 1, completing a separate form for each innovation proposed

If you would like to receive the slides and answers to questions raised during the briefing event then please contact

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality of your application. We will then choose the best proposals from those that meet the aims of this competition.

Guidance for applicants

Please view the guidance and application questions for this competition.

Background and further information

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

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

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

Questions on the scope of this competition should be addressed to RICU Analysis by emailing

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