Councils invited to enter innovation competition

Innovate UK is delivering the first phase of a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition on behalf of the Geospatial Commission and has called on local authorities to get involved.     

The organisation is looking for public bodies (departments, agencies, local authorities, etc) that can support and engage with projects funded through this competition.  

Innovate UK say the competition is designed to transform transport through the innovative application of location data and technology. 

Anyone wanting to get involved would be required to give a small time commitment in Phase 1 which could involve offering support or advice on testing and demonstrating solutions in Phase 2. 

In return, participants will have an opportunity to interact with innovative suppliers, help to shape and trial innovative solutions to your transport challenges, and ensure that the solutions funded by Geospatial Commission meet your needs. It will provide you with access to new ideas, technology and a supply base that your organisation may not otherwise have engaged with. This process offers the public sector the opportunity to solve problems that have no current solutions, or access products and services that are cheaper or more effective. 

According to Innovate UK, the competition “aims to stimulate commercial innovation to help create geospatial solutions to transport challenges and to support the future of mobility”. The competition will be delivered in 2 phases. Phase 1 has a total funding allocation of £2m. Individual projects may be up to £75k inclusive of VAT. 

In Phase 1 applicants are required to engage with a potential public sector lead customer or challenge owner to ensure that the product or service to be developed in Phase 2 is suitable, that the applicant understands the underlying challenges to be overcome and to reflect any feedback. The competition has four themes. 

*Applications and any activity with a lead customer/challenge owner must fit within one of these themes: 

  • Mobility as a service – to help better integration of transport modes 
  • Active travel – creating safer ways to enable active travel 
  • Supply chains – helping better distribution, storage and delivery 
  • Boosting capacity – increasing efficiency of transport networks. 

Innovate UK expect to follow this competition with a Phase 2 competition that will only be open to successful participants from Phase 1. Phase 2 will involve R&D contracts being awarded to a number of Phase 1 projects to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for 12 months. 

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