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SBRI: Monitor and visualise domestic pollution to safeguard health


Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 including VAT, to develop an air quality monitor to provide information and advice on pollutants in the home.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition.

Innovate UK, working on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will fund organisations to develop and demonstrate new products and/or services. These must enable households to measure, visualise and respond to harmful household air pollution in order to safeguard health.

The overall programme will be delivered in two phases. This is phase 1 and will focus on exploring the feasibility of proposals. Phase 2 will concentrate on research, development and testing.

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.

Open Date:


Close Date:


Action to reduce the health impacts of air pollution tends to focus on outdoor sources, notably emissions from vehicles. However, indoor levels of some air pollutants are often far higher, and many end up in the external atmosphere. Particulate matter (PM), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) are all present in domestic environments and can be detrimental to health.

The aim of this competition is to support the research and development (R&D) of products and/or services which monitor a wide range of household pollutants. These solutions must raise awareness of the potential impacts of the pollution in the home, providing timely and appropriate information so that householders can make effective choices to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours.

Your proposed solution must:

  • Be innovative
  • Be practical and deliverable
  • Take affordability into consideration
  • Monitor more than one pollutant

Innovate UK particularly encourage applications that:

  • Go beyond monitoring pollutants to create visualisations and information which promote responses that safeguard health
  • Explore and trial mechanisms to aggregate household data, securely and in line with data protection best practice, in order to improve strategic understanding and response to poor indoor air quality
  • Consider user experience throughout the design and development process
  • Show a clear plan for commercialisation and a route to market for affordable, developed solutions
  • Show a strong connection between both the proposed activities and solution to relevant academic research on protecting health from indoor exposure to harmful pollutants
  • Show scalability and replicability and how the solutions could adapt in response to new understanding of indoor air pollution issues over time
  • Set out clearly how solutions might be tested in a real world setting as part of phase 2

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.

Projects must start by 1 August 2020, end by 1 November 2020 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 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.

A total of up to £100,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1. Phase 1 is focused on supporting feasibility studies. These should result in a technical and commercial specification, detailed design package and test plan for a technical solution.

Innovate UK expect to fund up to five projects in phase 1. Individual feasibility study research and development (R&D) contracts will be up to £20,000, including VAT, and can last for up to three 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 therefore are not subject to the state aid criteria that typically apply to grant funding.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will be focused on developing a prototype and undertaking field-testing to demonstrate the effectiveness of the solution. Innovate UK plan to fund up to three contracts of up to £300,000 each, including VAT, for projects lasting up to a year.

Innovate UK will not fund projects which:

  • Focus primarily on outdoor air pollution
  • Monitor only one pollutant
  • Provide no actionable feedback to householders

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.