Funding competition Targeting information to protected land managers and developers: SBRI competition

Organisations can apply for a share of £250,000, including VAT, to deliver targeted, customisable information to land managers or developers about protected areas.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. The aim of the competition is to investigate how technology can deliver better-targeted information and advice to managers and developers of protected land. We are looking for solutions which allow users to ‘test’ proposals for changes they are considering against:

  • sensitivities or opportunities related to the protected area
  • opportunities to improve nature in the wider area
  • any constraints on taking the proposal forward such as mitigation measures, etc

Where negative effects are likely, we would like to investigate how users could try different mitigation methods based on the data we hold. These should avoid or minimise any likely negative effects, increasing the likelihood the proposal will be approved.

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 to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT, for each organisation.

Who can apply

Your project

We expect projects to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT, for each organisation.

Projects must start on 1 October 2019 and last up to 3 months.

We expect to fund up to 5 projects.

Lead applicant

To lead a project, you can:

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


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

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 apply to take part in phase 2.

Phase 1: research and development contracts, feasibility study

The first phase involves research and development contracts 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

The second phase involves up to 2 R&D contracts 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 do field testing for up to 12 months.

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

Scottish Natural Heritage is investigating how technology can target tailored information and advice to land managers and developers.

Examples of who our users are would be:

  • land owners
  • land managers
  • developers
  • local authorities
  • other statutory bodies
  • community groups
  • Scottish Natural Heritage staff

The outcomes of this competition would be solutions which allow the user to ‘test’ the proposals for changes they are considering against:

  • sensitivities or opportunities related to the protected area
  • opportunities to improve nature in the wider area
  • any constraints on taking the proposal forward

You should detail how you would mitigate any negative effects, using the data we hold to increase the likelihood of a successful proposal.

Specific themes

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • demonstrate how Scottish Natural Heritage can use new and existing datasets to give users relevant information so they can develop proposals which limit damage and/or enhance environmental impact
  • explore how this data could be shared using non-digital methods such as maps
  • investigate how the user could test different options for the design of the proposal and understand the consequences of these for the protected area
  • explore how a system might learn from user interactions to increase the accuracy and relevance of the information provided
  • allow users to identify other bodies involved in development or approval of the proposal in cases where Scottish Natural Heritage is not the authorising authority
  • identify other data sources which can be used to improve the range of information or advice available to the user
  • can be adapted for other public sector bodies who want to provide targeted information or advice to their customers

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that do not:
  • meet the requirements outlined in the scope:
  • use technology
  • comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
13 May 2019
Competition opens
21 May 2019
Edinburgh briefing event
19 June 2019 12:00pm
Registration closes
26 June 2019 12:00pm
Competition closes
13 September 2019
Phase 1 contracts awarded
30 September 2019

Before you start

To apply:

  • register online using the green button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • consider attending one of the briefing events listed in Dates
  • 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. Please use Microsoft Word for the application form or your application will be ineligible.

Background and further information

About Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Natural Heritage is an agency of Scottish Government with responsibility for the promotion, care for and improvement of Scotland’s natural heritage. We enable a greater awareness of nature and help people to enjoy nature responsibly.

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 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

Need help with this service? Contact us