Funding competition Deliver safer and better care for people in Scotland with diabetes, phase 1 (SBRI competition)

Organisations can apply for a share of £300,000 including VAT, to address foot problems, hospital care after admission and bone care for diabetes patients in Scotland.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by NHS Scotland. Successful applicants receive 100% funding and access to advice from NHS Highland, NHS Lothian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The overall programme will be delivered in up to 2 phases. This is phase 1. 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.

NHS Scotland is investing up to £300,000 including VAT, in innovative solutions in 3 challenge areas as follows:

Challenge A

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help develop prediction algorithms and risk stratification for diabetes foot ulceration, amputations and mortality.

Challenge B

Improving the clinical care of patients with a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes when admitted to hospital by developing a real-time decision support tool and alert mechanism. The tool must improve triage, prevent medication errors, identify emergencies and streamline the diabetes care pathway.

Challenge C

Improving the identification (case finding) of people at risk of osteoporosis and fracture, including those with diabetes.

You need to submit a separate application for each challenge you wish to apply for.

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

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects to range in size up to total costs of £15,000, including VAT

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 the third sector as subcontractors

Contracts will be awarded only to individual organisations. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can employ specialist consultants or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

Phase 1: research and development contracts, feasibility study

The first phase involves research and development contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. A total of up to £45,000 including VAT, is allocated to phase 1 of the competition for each challenge.

It is anticipated that the feasibility study research and development (R&D) contracts will be up to £15,000 including VAT. This is for each project for up to 3 months. Your project must start by 30 November. We expect to fund up to 3 projects for each challenge. The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation.

In phase 1, you must:

  • demonstrate the technical feasibility of your proposed innovation
  • establish ongoing collaboration between technical and clinical members of the project team
  • formalise any required ethical approvals, data sharing agreements and contracts
  • begin working with clinical and imaging data

We would welcome bids that bring together sector specialists.

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

Should phase 2 go ahead, the second phase involves up to 2 R&D contracts being awarded for each challenge to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants.

It is anticipated that contracts will be up to £27,500 including VAT for each project for up to 9 months.

In phase 2 you must:

  • develop and evaluate a prototype of your solution
  • test the prototype on real-world data and systems within the named Scottish NHS Health Boards, to establish clinical utility
  • develop a plan for full commercial exploitation

The contract is completed at the end of phase 2, and the successful business is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.


NHS Scotland has allocated up to £300,000, including VAT, to fund projects in this competition. There are 2 phases.

For each challenge, the total funding will be £100,000 including VAT.

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. 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 total funding available for the competition can change.

The funders have the right to:

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

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this SBRI competition would be the subject of a separate, possible competitive, procurement exercise. This competition covers R&D not the purchase of any solution.

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

Your proposal

You must propose a solution to one of the 3 challenges in each application. If you want to apply for more than one challenge, you will need to submit a separate application for each challenge.

Additional information on the clinical background to the challenges will be available when you register for the competition.

Challenge A: diabetic foot ulceration

Your project must develop an automated mechanism that assesses the risk of diabetic foot ulceration. The mechanism must:

  • use recognised risk factors
  • be suitable for use at the point of care (POC)
  • work with new or existing datasets
  • create algorithms using artificial intelligence or machine learning, or a combination of both

The new algorithms must:

  • use data extraction and integration to address individual risk stratification for foot ulceration and amputation
  • tackle risk factor management for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality

The technology must provide feedback reports and alerts of foot and mortality risk. These can be through audio-visual, haptic or bio-feedback, as critical components and active ingredients in effective behaviour change interventions.

The technology can include software applications, data-exchange integration platforms and innovative technology including novel POC approaches. These must aid clinical and patient-facing models for personalised risk stratification, monitoring, targeted interventions or treatment decision support.

Solutions may also consider expansion of POC applications that capture and integrate other processes of care through assessment of additional diabetes risk. This can include factor screening for blood pressure, urine micro albumin measurement and retinal imaging.

Your project must also have:

  • the ability to be effectively and securely integrated to NHS Scotland IT infrastructure
  • an understanding of how any technology solutions or products will be economically sound and affordable for the NHS if adopted

Challenge B: diabetes care pathway for inpatients

Your project must develop a decision support tool and alert mechanism for clinical staff. This must improve the care of patients admitted to hospital, with a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes. The tool must use available inpatient data sources to:

  • improve triage
  • prevent medication errors
  • identify emergencies
  • streamline the diabetes care pathway

By improving the clinical care of inpatients with a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes, the support tool will deliver safer and better care on admission to hospital. This would include:

  • managing and reporting hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • guided insulin prescribing
  • improved management of blood glucose

In phase 1 you will focus on a 3-month exploratory project with clinicians with the aim to get a deep understanding of clinical pathways and the most pressing needs.

Challenge C

To improve the identification (case finding) of people at risk of osteoporosis and fracture, including those with diabetes your project must:

  1. develop improved, less manual mechanisms of identifying patients with fractures who should be followed up by the Fracture Liaison Service (FLS). This may extend to automation of existing processes which largely rely on radiology reports from X-ray imaging. Images will be available if required.
  2. develop a more tailored solution to FLS identification for patients with diabetes that may require access to detailed clinical data collected over a period of time, such as glucose control and adherence to therapy.

Data sources available for this challenge include unstructured radiology reports, emergency department attendance reports (ED Trak), national diabetes dataset (SCI diabetes), bone metabolism data, and a historic dataset of patients identified to be at risk.

Specific themes

You must propose a solution to one of the 3 challenges specified in the Scope section, in each application. If you want to apply for more than one challenge, you will need to submit a separate application for each challenge.

Project types

In phase 1 for each challenge you must work closely with the stakeholders to develop a solution. In phase 2 the outcome of your project will be a prototype of the solution.

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.

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.

10 August 2020
Competition opens
17 August 2020
Online briefing - watch the recording
23 September 2020 11:00am
Registration closes
30 September 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
13 November 2020
Applicants notified

Before you start

To apply:

  • register online by clicking the ‘Register and apply’ button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • consider attending one of the briefing events listed in ‘Dates’
  • complete and upload your 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 it 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 and the background to the challenges as the clinical and economic context document, which are available for download on our secure site after registration.

Questions related to this competition should be addressed directly to:

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

Contact us If you need more information, email us at or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 11:30am or 2pm and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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