Innovate UK funding competitions

Small business research initiative (SBRI)

SBRI is a pre-commercial programme designed by Innovate UK to encourage private sector businesses to provide innovative solutions to public sector challenges.

Through the SBRI, government departments run competitions to seek solutions to specific issues. Competitions generally have different themes and opening dates and deadlines vary throughout the year.

Advantages of SBRI

SBRI can provide your business with:

  • a route to market for new ideas and technologies and a chance to work with a lead customer to help validate and refine the idea
  • finance that bridges the seed funding gap through 100 per cent funded research and development contracts with no loss of equity
  • a simple way of engaging with the public sector and a step on the procurement ladder
  • a way to create and retain intellectual property that will be commercialised to deliver business growth

Eligibility criteria

You can apply for an SBRI contract if you are a business. The scheme is particularly beneficial for early-stage and small and medium-sized businesses. Pre-startups may apply, however the contracts can only be awarded to legal entities.

Initial funding of between £50,000 to £100,000 is available to help you test your idea and see if it will work. You can then win a further contract worth up to £1 million or more to develop and commercialise this idea.

How to apply for an SBRI contract

There is an SBRI team in Northern Ireland to coordinate the programme which is made up by representatives from the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) and the Central Procurement Directorate.

You can contact a member of the Northern Ireland SBRI team through Invest NI's helpline on Tel 0800 181 4422.

Find the latest SBRI competitions.