The assessors will score your answers to questions 3 to 9, questions 1 and 2 are not scored.
Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.
Question 1 – Previous applications (not scored)
You must list previous applications made over the last three years.
In terms of the project goals, describe or explain:
- the commonality and differentiation between this application and previous applications
- the result of previous applications, and the commercial success of these projects
Question 2 – Project theme (not scored)
Please select the theme you are applying for. If your project addresses more than one theme, please choose your primary theme.
The themes are:
Theme 1: Increasing customers’ confidence and enhancing their experience
Theme 2: Easy to use for all
Theme 3: Low emissions and a greener railway
Question 3. Proposed idea or technology (scored out of 10)
Provide a brief description of your proposed idea or technology. How does it address the outcomes described in the competition scope? Why do the railways need what you propose?
- the current state of development or readiness of the idea
- the main motivation for the project
- the business need or market opportunity
- how the railway will benefit from what you propose
- the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
- any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if 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
You can submit a single appendix as a PDF containing images and diagrams to support your answer. It can be no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How well does the proposal meet the challenge?’
Question 4. Technical project summary (scored out of 40)
Give a short background to the main technical challenges you are looking to address. Describe or explain:
- how you will address the challenge
- what the innovation is and how you will apply it to the rail industry
- the main technical deliverables
- the research and development that will prove the scientific, environmental and commercial merit of the project
- what might be achieved by deploying the innovation to address the selected challenge
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘How valid is the technical approach?’
Question 5. Current state of the art and intellectual property (scored out of 10)
Detail other products currently available on the market and how the innovation of your proposed project differentiates itself from them.
Include details of:
- any existing intellectual property (IP)
- its significance to your freedom to operate
This question will be scored against these assessment criteria: ‘How innovative is this project? How much does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or technologies for this area?’
Question 6. Project plan and methodology (scored out of 10)
Describe your project plan and identify the main milestones.
The emphasis throughout should be on practicality. We are seeking evidence that the technology works, can be made into a viable product or service and can achieve the proposed benefits.
Demonstrate how your plan would support technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.
You should describe or explain:
- what resources will be needed to deliver the project
- what the main success criteria would be
- the identified project management processes that will ensure you achieve the milestones
- the main technical, commercial and environmental risks and what you will do to mitigate them
- how you would handle any IP issues which might arise during the project
Please ensure that if you are working with subcontractors you explain how you will maintain freedom to operate and fulfil the IP requirements detailed in the contract.
Indicate your required payment schedule by quarter.
You must upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
Download and complete the milestone template.
Your milestones must be:
- defined using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) criteria
- associated with the appropriate deliverables and payments
Once you have completed the milestone template it must be uploaded in a PDF format to this question. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be assessed against these assessment criteria:
- Does the proposal show a clear plan for establishing technical and commercial feasibility and the development of a working prototype?
- Is there a clear management plan?
- What are the main technical, commercial and environmental risks to project success?
- Will these be effectively managed?
- Are the milestones and evaluation procedures appropriate?
Question 7. Technical team and expertise (scored out of 10)
Provide a brief description of your technical team. Include the expertise of each team member or subcontractor that is relevant to your application, outlining why they are critical to the project’s success and how much of their time will be spent on the project.
Describe any roles you will need to recruit for taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure.
This question will be scored against this assessment criterion: ‘Does the applicant have the skills, capabilities and experience to deliver the intended benefits?’
Question 8. Costs and value for money (scored out of 10)
How much will the project cost? How does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?
Describe or explain:
- the total eligible project costs, inclusive of VAT, you are requesting in terms of the project goals
- how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
You can submit a single appendix as a spreadsheet no larger than 10MB and up to 2 A4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
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.
Please note this is not a grant award. Successful applicants will be awarded a contract for R&D services. Total costs should be submitted to Innovate UK and include VAT, where applicable. VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business, and applications must list total costs inclusive of VAT. 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. Please ensure the total costs inclusive of VAT detailed on the application form are within the competition limits.
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.
The assessors are required to judge the application finances in terms of value for money. In other words, does the proposed cost for effort and deliverables reflect a fair market price? They will score your finances against this assessment criterion: ‘Are the budget and costs realistic, justified and appropriate for the aims and methods?
Please note information from the finances section will be used to support the assessment of this question. Proposed costs stated in this section must match those entered in the finance summary on your application.
Question 9. Commercial potential (scored out of 20)
Describe how you would realise the commercial potential of your proposal and to what timescales, including a clear plan to deliver that and a route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics. Focus on your proposed customer’s needs but you may also mention the future commercial potential across the public or private sector and the international market.
How far is the challenge you are addressing shared across the public and/or private sector in the UK and further afield? Describe the competitive advantage that your proposal has over existing or alternative technologies that meet market needs.
You must submit your letter(s) of support as a single appendix. It must be a PDF, can be no larger than 10MB and up to 4 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.
This question will be scored against these assessment criteria:
- Is there a clear commercial potential for a marketable product, process or service and a clear plan to deliver that and a clear route to market?
- How significant is the competitive advantage of this technology over existing technologies that meet the market’s needs?