£100m challenge for innovative companies

A £100million government scheme will support British companies and help develop new products in areas such as health, defence, transport and construction.

The Small Business Research Initiative (SRBI) will see public sector organisations invite British companies to submit ideas and develop technologies. The public sector organisation can then buy the innovations to help improve public services.
Mark Glover, head of SBRI explained that the scheme would enable the public sector to turn innovative ideas into commercial products and services.
"Everyone benefits," Glover said. "The business develops a highly commercial and valuable new product, the public sector organisation finds a product that helps it solve a problem and meets its needs. And, of course, we all benefit from improved services."
The Department of Health plans to fund new SBRI competitions in other areas where new technology may help improve public services, while the East of England Strategic Health Authority is launching three new SBRI competitions this month, focusing on technologies to help manage patients with long term conditions, technologies that enable better patient monitoring and technologies to encourage children to take more exercise.
The MOD is also using SBRI to invite companies to develop lightweight technologies for military applications and mobile robotic vehicles.
Twenty funding competitions will be launched over the coming year, with contacts worth a total of £40m available. This will be expanded to fifty competitions, worth over £100m, by 2011.
SBRI has been promoted by the Technology Strategy Board.

Chris Shaw

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