Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

What is Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)?

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a well established Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives. 

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development (R&D).

SBRI is a phased competitive process with solution design and testing typically happening over a 2 or 3 phased programme.

How does SBRI work?

SBRI competitions are open to all organisations that can demonstrate a route to market for their solution 

All competitions are advertised on eTendersNI -

Information on SBRI from InvestNI -

Information on SBRI from InnovateUK and UK Research and Innovation -




Rachael McKibbin, Head of SBRI,

Gillian Best, SBRI Project Lead,

Steven Cinnamond, SBRI Project Support,

Sharon McDowell, SBRI Project Support,

Jonathan Patterson, SBRI Graduate Intern,


What do suppliers think of SBRI?

“SBRI has been instrumental in getting us off the ground. As a young start-up, having a SBRI contract has been beneficial not only financially but also in getting a foot into Health Trusts who would otherwise not entertain small businesses who may have untested yet promising solutions” – SBRI Phase 1 Supplier


To date Business Services Organisation (BSO) has undertaken 11 SBRI/ PCP projects:

Current Projects:


MAGIC (Mobile Assistance for Groups & Individuals within the Community – Post stroke rehabilitation)

MAGIC is a large PCP co-funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.  The MAGIC Consortium is led and co-ordinated by Business Services Organisation with partners from across the EU. MAGIC is focused upon creating innovative technology; transforming services for patients post stroke to improve physical function and personal independence: empower patients post-stroke, optimise recovery & new cost effective solutions. Magic is now in Phase 3, which started on 1st October 2018 and ends on 30th April 2020.  Feasibility studies are being conducted in this phase.  Each Study has One Zone in Northern Ireland & One Zone in Italy.  Feasibility Studies have full Research Governance & Ethics Approval.

Up to 150 participants per Zone – Potential for up to 900 patients to benefit with clinician involvement and co-creation.

All 5 of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Trusts are equally involved.

  • South Eastern Trust & Belfast Trust - Corehab

  • Northern Trust - Camlin

  • Southern & Western Trusts – Tech-4-Care

For further information on MAGIC please view the website at or on Twitter @MagicPcp

To view the latest MAGIC leaflet and poster view

Guaranteeing prescription continuity while people move between care providers

The project is seeking to source new innovative technology solutions to:​

  • Improve the medication pathway for people entering custody;

  • Innovate communication in the committal process through the use of real-time information sharing across stakeholder organisations – South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT), Belfast Trust, Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS), Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) including Forensic Medical Service, Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) and Youth Justice;

  • Enhance the person in custody’s experience and their well-being;

  • Support the reduction of incidents on prison landings related to delayed medication;

  • Work with key strategic partners to ensure safety and governance.

Phase 1 will have a duration of 5 months and commenced on the 8th July 2019.  Phase 2 will have a duration of 12 months. For more infromation see:


Project ‘DETECT’ is for Detecting Emerging Traits of psychosis in Educational and Community CohorTs. DETECT will develop technology enabled solutions addressing early identification of and intervention for the prodromal or pre-psychotic phase of schizophrenia.  The Phase 2 competition launched 1st July 2019 with commencement date of 1st September 2019 and a phase duration of 12 months.


PAIN seeks to provision a digital platform to support people living with persistent pain by providing information to aid self-management, to become a data source on the profile of patients living with persistent pain in Northern Ireland and to provide opportunities for further research to improve services for patients with persistent pain. The Phase 1 competition launched 8th July 2019 with commencement date of 1st October 2019 and a phase duration of 6 months.


SPACE aims to enable the triangulation of three data sources to occur so that data analytics and data mining can for the first time in Belfast be used to improve both the health and well-being of the local population, empower citizens, through the provision of information to make better life choices, enable Public Health Physicians better manage and plan care for the residents of Belfast, enable Consultant Physicians within respiratory an diabetes in the Belfast Trust to develop new more effective pathways of care and enable cross sectoral working in order to collaboratively improve the population’s health and well-being. The Phase 1 competition launched 5th July 2019 with commencement date of 1st November 2019 and a phase duration of 4 months.


Possible Future Projects


This project would seek to address the risk of choking for people with swallowing difficulties, which can lead to physical, psychological and social life challenges, as well as many other health conditions.

Past Projects


Home Medication Management for the Elderly to Support Domiciliary Care Services.

HOME aims to address the daily challenges associated with the management of medication in the domiciliary care setting. The competition sought technology solutions to benefit domiciliary care users and providers, help adherence, safer working practice, and management of demand in the system. Two suppliers are currently in Phase 2 which involves a feasibility trial; this phase commenced on September 2017 and will end on 28.02.19.


Project ‘Mario’ is for Meaningful Analytics in clinical Registries for Investigating Outcomes. Mario will develop technology enabled solutions addressing the issue of real-time analytics for healthcare delivery as well as retrospective analysis and prospective modelling. Clinical source data sets include clinical records, laboratory, imaging repository, coding and prescription etc. Three suppliers are currently in Phase 1, which will last 6 months, ending 31.03.19.


‘FAST’ Automated Staff Deployment aimed to address the challenge of matching the needs of patients with appropriately skilled pharmacy staff in real time in a busy hospital setting. The solutions developed under this SBRI competition will help to ensure that the most appropriate members of the clinical pharmacy team can be deployed in a timely manner throughout the day, making best use of their skills and meeting the needs of the patients regarding their medicines.  Two suppliers commenced Phase 2 in October 2017 which included a feasibility trial and concluded in September 2018.

Medicines Optimisation

‘Medicines Optimisation’, aimed to address the widespread challenge of poor adherence to medication. Six companies successfully applied to design prototype solutions in Phase 1 and two companies, AppAttic and Smartair progressed to Phase 2 for product development and testing. Phase 2 was successfully completed by the two suppliers on 31:03:17.


Gestational, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Empowering Mothers through Mobile Technologies.   GEMS is the latest SBRI in health seeking technology solutions that improve the health of women with gestational diabetes, enable diabetic pregnant women to take better control of their health increase the effectiveness of interventions, reduce pressure on health care services, (maternity, neonatal and endocrinology services), support an on-going care programme and improve the lives, wellbeing and outcomes for maternal and infant health.


Project ‘CHAT’ is for Optimising Provision of Speech and Language Therapy to meet the NICE guidelines following a stroke. CHAT will radically reengineer systems & pathways of care with novel innovative technology solutions to more effectively rehabilitate patients after stoke who have identified Speech and Language Therapy needs.  



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