Funding competition Identifying regulatory obligations on businesses: taking stock and building insights (SBRI competition)

Organisations can apply for a share of £1.25 million, including VAT, to develop a solution identifying regulatory obligations placed on businesses.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition with funding provided by the GovTech Catalyst.

The Better Regulation Executive (BRE) aims to develop a regulatory system that is simpler for businesses to navigate, while maintaining important protections for citizens and the environment.

The historical and incremental build-up of regulations can lead to disproportionate burdens on business, particularly if obligations are poorly co-ordinated. Digital innovations give policymakers the opportunity, for the first time, to tackle this problem by looking at the UK’s regulatory environment as a whole.

BRE and the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are seeking technological solutions to help analyse the cumulative effect of different regulations on business. For example, they can examine the complexity of regulations, how often they change and the interactions between them. Successful solutions could help the government prioritise future regulatory reform.

We strongly encourage potential applicants to attend the launch event in London on 16 January.

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.

Phase 1: technical feasibility

The first phase involves feasibility study research and development (R&D) contracts being awarded up to £50,000, including VAT. This is for each project to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution.

Phase 2: prototype development and evaluation

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.

This competition closes at 12:00pm midday UK time on the date of the deadline.

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects in phase 1 to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT, for each organisation. Projects must start by 17 May and can last up to 3 months. We expect to fund 5 projects at phase 1.

Who can apply

To lead a project, you can:

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

We welcome applications that bring together a consortium of sector specialists.


A total of up to £250,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1.

Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for research and development (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

Your proposal

We are seeking technological solutions which address 3 questions:

  1. How can we analyse the stock of existing regulation and identify which requirements apply to different businesses and sectors?
  2. How can we assess how challenging individual regulatory requirements are for different businesses and sectors to comply with?
  3. How can we assess how challenging the cumulative stock of regulation is for different businesses and sectors to comply with?

A range of factors affect how challenging regulatory requirements are for businesses, other than the underlying policy goals. These include the:

  • length, complexity and scope of the regulation
  • frequency of changes to the regulation
  • interactions between multiple pieces of regulation, such as overlaps
  • overall volume of regulation and the number of different sources

The majority of the stock of relevant UK regulation, since 1267, is stored at It is free for anyone to use and republish and is updated regularly.

We welcome different approaches to tackling this challenge. Your solution must be accessible and usable for the end users, who are mostly a range of government policymakers.

The challenge of analysing the cumulative effect of regulation is not unique to the UK government. Your solution could have a global marketplace, including local, national and multilateral organisations in both the public and private sector.

Within your application you must:

  • provide details of your proposed idea, solution or technologies to meet the challenge
  • be prepared to adopt a valid technical approach
  • be innovative and be prepared to develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or techniques
  • outline a clear plan for establishing technical and commercial feasibility and the development of a working prototype
  • outline the skills, capabilities and experience you have to deliver the project
  • confirm that the budget is realistic and is justified in terms of the aims and methods proposed
  • have a plan to deliver a marketable product and demonstrate how that product would have a competitive advantage over existing or alternative technologies
  • demonstrate a willingness to work with the competition owner (BEIS) and partner organisations

Specific themes

For phase 1 we expect you to demonstrate the potential to answer at least one of the 3 questions in the scope for businesses operating within a specific sector. You should also plan to deliver a complete solution to all 3 questions in phase 2.

We will aim to award funding for phase 1 to a balanced portfolio of projects across all 3 questions.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects which do not:

  • meet the requirements outlined in the scope
  • have a technology aspect
  • comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
14 January 2019
Competition opens
20 February 2019 12:00pm
Registration closes
27 February 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
19 April 2019
Applicants notified
17 May 2019
Phase 1 contracts awarded.

Before you start

To apply:

  • register online using the green button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • attend our launch event on 16 January 2019
  • consider participating in one of our follow up webinars, which we will post in the ‘Dates’ tab after the launch event
  • complete and upload your online application to our secure server

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

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality your application. Use Microsoft Word for the application form or your application will be ineligible.

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.

Questions related to the particular requirements of this competition should be addressed directly to

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

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

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