+44 (0)1509 261182

SBRI Competition – Next generation home vision testing


Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000, inclusive of VAT, to develop remotely deployed vision testing.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by NHS Scotland. The aim of the competition is to pioneer remote vision testing.

Successful applicants will receive 100% funding and have access to advice from NHS Forth Valley, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Fife and NHS Grampian.

This is phase 1 of a potential two-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1 and assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 competition.

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 (R&D) contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. A total of up to £40,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this phase.

Feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £10,000, inclusive of VAT. This is for each project for up to three months.

Innovate UK expect to fund up to four projects. The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation.

Innovate UK would welcome bids from a single entity that bring together sector specialists

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

The second phase will involve up to two R&D contracts being awarded to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £30,000, inclusive of VAT, will be allocated for each contract, in order to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to nine months.

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

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject of a separate, possible competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.

Phase 1 projects can range in size but must have maximum total costs of £10,000 inclusive of VAT.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to improve eyesight testing so that it can be done at home, in school and in under-served communities. Live remote supervision would be provided by healthcare professionals. The results would link to and integrate with, Scottish NHS health board patient systems.

Eye problems will be more easily detected, monitored and managed to prevent sight loss. Your project must bring together low-cost digital solutions and sources of relevant information to solve the challenges of:

  • Access to eye testing
  • Quicker diagnostics
  • Enabling self-checks

Innovate UK are looking for proposals that:

  • Focus on the needs of the person whose vision is being tested
  • Have a high degree of accuracy
  • Are easy to engage with

You must:

  • Make sure the solution can be effectively and securely integrated to NHS Scotland IT infrastructure
  • Have an understanding of how any technology solutions or products will be economically sound and affordable for the NHS if adopted
  • Have clinical and commercial potential locally, nationally and globally
  • Test eyesight in both non healthcare and healthcare settings
  • Combine low cost and existing devices, available in a typical home, for real time and “save and send” tests of vision

You must consider, in either adults or children, or both:

  • Visual acuity
  • Colour vision
  • Visual field

At this stage, contracts will be given for phase 1 only. You must define your goals and outline your plan for phase 2. This is part of the full commercial implementation in your phase 1 proposal.

You must demonstrate a credible and practical route to market, so your application must include a plan to commercialise your results.

Research categories

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.

In phase 1, the supplier will work closely with the stakeholders to develop a solution. The outcome of phase 2 will be a prototype of the solution.

Projects are expected to start by end February 2021 and can last up to 3 months.

To lead a project, you can:

  • Be an organisation of any size
  • Work alone or with other organisations

Contracts will be awarded only to a single legal entity. 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.

Innovate UK would welcome bids that bring together sector specialists, for example use of relevant NHS, academic and commercial expertise as subcontractors.

Innovate UK are looking for:

  • Experience with computer vision techniques
  • Experience with high fidelity graphical representation and web-based platform development
  • A background in vision science and vision testing
  • Regulatory experience regarding medical devices

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

In phase 2, you must:

  • Develop and evaluate a prototype of your solution
  • Test the prototype on real-world data and systems within the indicated Scottish NHS health boards to establish clinical utility
  • Develop a plan for full commercial exploitation

A total of up to £100,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated across phase 1 and phase 2.

Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £10,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to three months. Innovate UK expect to fund up to four projects.

The second phase involves up to two contracts being awarded to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £30,000, inclusive of VAT will be allocated for each contract, in order to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to nine months.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • Adjust the provisional funding allocations between the phases
  • Apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

Research and development

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D 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

State aid

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.

Innovate UK will not fund projects that do not plan to work with the current technologies used by the healthcare community and the main patient population in Scotland.

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.