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SBRI Removing air pollutants from homes to safeguard health


Organisations can apply for a share of £3million, inclusive of VAT, to develop products or services to remove harmful pollutants from homes.

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund. The aim of the competition is to develop and demonstrate new products or services which will extract harmful pollutants from the air in domestic environments in order to safeguard the health of occupants, particularly young or vulnerable people.

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 projects to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, inclusive of VAT.

Open Date:


Close Date:


This competition aims to address the challenge of poor air quality in the home by supporting research and development (R&D) for affordable domestic products or services.

Your solution must be able to protect the health of residents by removing one or more harmful household pollutants from the air in homes. This can include any which have entered the domestic setting from outside.

You may wish to work with academics or health care specialists who can help test and validate the effectiveness of proposed solutions.

This competition is funded as part of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund Clean Air Programme. Successful projects should be prepared to actively engage throughout the life of their project with the broader programme to share insight and increase the overall impact of the work.

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 £300,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this phase.

Feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £50,000, inclusive of VAT. This is for each project for up to three months.

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

Innovate UK welcome bids from a single entity that brings together sector specialists as sub-contractors to support their project.

In phase 1 you must:

  • Demonstrate the technical feasibility of the proposed innovation
  • Develop the plan and lay the foundations to deliver in phase 2
  • Establish collaborations and agreements which will enable testing of the innovation 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.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on extracting one type of pollutant, or a range of specified pollutants, if there is a well-established case demonstrating the hazard to human health from that pollutant.

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.

In phase 1 the supplier will work closely with the stakeholders to develop a solution.

The focus of phase 2 will be to test and evaluate a prototype of the solution in a real world environment and develop a plan for commercial exploitation.

Projects are expected to start by 1 April 2021, end by 1 July 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.

A total of up to £300,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to phase 1.

Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £50,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to three months. Innovate UK expect to fund up to six projects.

In Phase 2, up to two contracts will be awarded to organisations chosen from the successful phase 1 participants. Up to £900,000, inclusive of VAT, will be allocated for each contract in phase 2, to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to 12 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:

  • Prevent the release of pollutants rather than extracting them from the atmosphere
  • Focus on extracting pollutants which have no demonstrated health impact
  • Generate more harmful pollutants than are removed
  • Result in a significant negative overall environmental impact

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.