The assessors will score your answers to all these questions.
Your answer to each question can be up to 600 words long.
Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.
Question 1. The opportunity
What is your understanding of the market opportunity with respect to utilising cross sectoral data to build solutions that deliver better net zero local energy systems.
Describe and explain:
- the main motivation for the project
- the work needed to stimulate wider market forces to deliver
- the potential value to consumers
- practices from other markets that the energy sector could use
- the current state-of-the-art tools and processes, including those near market or in development, and their limitations and blockers
- work you have already done to respond to this need and whether the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
- the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How compelling a business motivation there is for the project and is there a clear understanding of the nearest state-of-the-art approaches available?’
Question 2. The users
Who are the users of your innovation?
Describe or explain:
- who the end-users that will benefit from your innovation are and your understanding of their needs
- who the direct users that will work with your innovation are, and your understanding of their needs
- who the wider stakeholders are, and your understanding of the market outcomes they seek
- the relevant public bodies and energy sector organisations, and how will you involve them in your project
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How well are the users, their needs, and the process to be used to establish user needs understood.’
Question 3. Approach
What approach will you take to deliver your innovation successfully to market?
- the main features that characterise your delivery practices
- why these are effective for bringing needs driven innovation to market
- what you need in place to be able to deliver effectively (the “entry criteria” for your work to begin)
- how you are ensuring your entry criteria are met
- your ‘exit criteria’ to demonstrably complete the next discovery and alpha phase of your work
- your specific approach to agile working practices, including how you intend to conduct public or inclusive ‘show and tell’ presentations, including at the end of the first project phase
- how your project will be carried out in a way that aids the implementation of circular economy principles, where applicable
We expect you to be flexible in the delivery of each phase in line with an agile approach to work, but please describe:
- your project plan, in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones
You must submit an outline project plan or Gantt chart for phase 1 as an appendix.
Your milestones must be:
- defined using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) criteria
- associated with the appropriate deliverables and payments
It must be a PDF, no larger than 10MB and can be up to 1 A4 page long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: Does the approach address the need, challenge or opportunity identified through user research?
Question 4. Capabilities
What capabilities (technology, process, and people) are required to conduct the next phase of work?
- the types of role and skills your team will need to deliver the next discovery and alpha phases of work
- the resources, equipment and facilities your team needs to deliver the first phase of work
- the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead subcontractor (where appropriate) assigned to each and the total cost of each
- the management reporting lines
- any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out your project
- the relationships between people working on the project, as well as with stakeholders, and how these will change as a result of the current project
- roles you will need to recruit for and how you plan on ensuring recruitment does not block progress for your project
You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How well has the applicant justified their ability to carry out the project and exploit the results?
Question 5: Technical demonstration
What is your current understanding of how your project might work within the existing technical data landscape? You might want to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the areas below, and how they apply to your project;
- the frequency of data refresh across data sources
- granularity and resolution of data
- access privileges of different sources (shared, public, open)
- master data management (MDM), such as data models, version control and slowly changing dimensions
- utilising and reproducing existing data products available in the market and the capability to deliver these from their original source data and protocols
- error resilience and software alternatives to data quality challenges
- scalability, data availability and resilience of infrastructure, such as high-performance querying and visualisation across both geospatial and energy-specific criteria
- interoperability of information across independently governed digital infrastructure, particularly referring to the ‘building blocks’ identified by the Energy Data Taskforce and aligned to the objectives of the Centre for Digital Built Britain.
- standardised, well-documented and open source interfaces
- the nature of outputs you anticipate the project might deliver alongside the core product or service (for example: reports, demonstrators, know-how, new process, products, service design) and how these help meet user needs
You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF no larger than 10MB and can be up to 1 A4 page long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How clearly has the applicant described the ways in which the project might work within the existing technical data landscape, and how the solution might scale?
Question 6. Route to market
How are you going to encourage use of your innovation, grow the marketplace and realise consumer benefits into the long term? Describe or explain:
- why your users would use or buy your product
- what kind of supply or value chain you anticipate will be needed for successful growth of the market, and how will your project will help create the growth of that market
- if you will be extending or establishing your market position
- how your organisation is going to benefit from the innovation, such as in revenues, cost reduction, expertise and value adding services, or entry into other markets
- how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
- how you will ensure you and your market exploit the outputs of the project, whilst championing an open source approach
- how you will encourage the sector to use your innovation to offer better data-related products and services to the market
- your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
If there is any academic or research organisation in the project team, describe:
- how you will disseminate and share the results with the research community
- how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How compelling are the value propositions for users? Do they show credible routes to market, productivity and growth?
Question 7. Measuring impact
How do you expect to measurably demonstrate the market impact of your innovation? Describe and explain, using quantitative methods where possible:
- the economic benefits resulting from the project to your users and any other parts of the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
- the impact on government priorities and any associated benefits with this
- environmental impacts, either positive or negative
- any expected regional impacts
- the impacts on consumers (both individuals, and collectively)
- the quantitative measures you expect to use
Describe the expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:
- quality of life
- social inclusion or exclusion
- jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
- public empowerment
- health and safety
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How robust is the quantitative method described for impact assessment and the likelihood of delivering effective impact measurements.
Question 8. Risks and Issues
How will you manage risks and issues affecting delivery?
- what risks and issues are you presently aware of, such as technical, political, commercial, managerial and environmental factors, providing a risk register
- how will you ensure that you identify new risks or issues early
- what approaches will you take to monitoring and mitigating risks and issues
- for the risks or issues you are already aware of, what specific mitigation actions are you putting in place
- how will you raise awareness of risks or issues with stakeholders
- any potential regulatory or policy barriers to implementing your innovation, and your proposed approach to overcoming them
- what methods of future proofing you have considered against risks arising from COVID-19 restrictions and other possible national and global factors
You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
We understand that the future is particularly uncertain due to Covid 19. Within your Risk register appendix you must include a summary tab showing different scenarios (high, med, low forecasts), highlighting the key challenges, roadblocks and opportunities for commercialisation that may impact these forecasts.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How well have the key risks and uncertainties of the project been considered and mitigated?
Question 9. Assurance 800 words
How will you make sure your innovation meets the needs of your users throughout its delivery?
- how you will ensure you have a robust and up to date understanding of your users’ needs
- how you will ensure your work is effective at delivering your users’ highest priority needs
- how you will ensure your work meets the needs intended
- how you will demonstrate that good design principles have been followed from the outset of your project
- the user research and UX methods that you will be using
- how you will ensure your outputs deliver an excellent user experience
- innovative and creative approaches you are using to continuously develop best practice approaches
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How strong is the approach to design principles, iterative testing, user research and user experience?
Question 10. Cost and team
How much will the phase 1 project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team (cost versus expertise) and the taxpayer? You should also consider your resource requirements and value for money in phase 2 (noting these assumptions will be refined during the course of phase 1). Describe or explain:
- the expected team (in terms of organisations who are subcontracting for you, giving the personnel and roles)
- any roles you will need to recruit for
- a cost breakdown of your full resourcing requirements to deliver the phase 1 work
- the total eligible phase 1 project costs and the grant you are requesting in terms of the project goals
- how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
- how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
- any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project
Costs quoted must reflect actual costs at a “fair market value” and not include profit.
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.
You will be asked if you are VAT registered before entering your project costs. If you are a VAT registered organisation you will not need to enter your costs inclusive of VAT as the application form will calculate the VAT for you.
Total cost must include VAT. VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing organisation, and applications must list total costs inclusive of VAT. If you are not VAT registered then you can quote without VAT but you will not be able to increase invoice values to cover VAT later on.
Provide a summary of costs for phase 1. All costs must include VAT. Justify each cost. If you have made significant use of subcontractors, explain how and the costs of each.
Assessors are required to judge the application finances in terms of value for money, deciding whether the proposed cost for effort and deliverables reflects a fair market price
You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: How appropriate are the project costs and do they represent excellent value for money compared to alternative approaches?