SBRI: automated pre-cleaning of surgical instruments

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £150,000 to develop automated solutions that will improve the pre-cleaning of surgical instruments.

Programme:     SBRI

Award:     Up to £150k

Opens: 5th Mar 2018

Closes: 16th May 2018

! This scheme is now closed

The aim of this competition is to find an automated solution to the pre-cleaning of surgical instruments as part of the NHS sterile services process.

The solution must include:

  • pre-soaking, to prevent contamination from drying onto surfaces
  • internal flushing, so chemicals can be delivered into the internal channels of instruments
  • coarse contamination-removal mechanisms, ideally ultrasonics or a spray function
  • automated chemical dosing for pre-soaking or internal flushing
  • fully programmable pre-cleaning steps
  • measurement and monitoring facilities to check the solution’s performance
    integration with automated washers or washer-disinfectors

The solution would ideally be one piece of equipment. It must:

  • reduce costs and be good value for money
  • connect with existing NHS systems, which may be behind commercial systems
  • be quick and easy to operate, without needing complex programming
  • demonstrate an active contribution to a reduction of waste matter and chemicals entering the waste water system
  • comply with all relevant legislation

The competition is looking for a range of solutions that are technically innovative and good value for money. Proposals must show how projects would develop and test a prototype.

This is a 2-phase competition. The first phase will be a feasibility study. Applicants who are successful will be able to apply to take part in phase 2, developing prototypes and evaluating them. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1.

Phase 1:

In phase 1 you will develop a tool or service as part of the feasibility study. Your proposal should include:

  • details of how you plan to carry out the project
  • a breakdown of your proposed costs
  • a plan for the development of the solution in phase 2 and its potential use by the NHS

If your proposal is successful, you will be expected to work with the NHS to:

  • support the development of the solution
  • support the user experience
  • check the solution works as expected


To lead a project, you must:

  • be an organisation, of any size
  • work alone or with others (businesses, research base or third sector)
  • be able to test your solution in NHS Highland (NHSH) or other Scottish NHS health boards

Project Types

Phase 1: technical feasibility

Projects should last up to 6 months and be completed by 28 February 2019. They can range in size up to a total cost of £30,000, including VAT. The total funding available is up to £150,000, including VAT.

Phase 2: prototype development and evaluation

Projects should last up to 12 months. They can range in size up to a total cost of £150,000, including VAT. The total funding available is up to £300,000, including VAT.

In phase 1 the supplier will work closely with the NHS and other stakeholders to develop an automated solution. The outcome of this project will be a proposed prototype of the solution.

In phase 2 the project will be:

  • the development of the prototype
  • testing
  • stakeholder engagement
  • evaluation of the acceptability of the proposed solution

You should estimate costs of the final product for the NHS and provide a developed plan for commercialisation and entry into NHS procurement.


Up to £150,000 has been allocated to fund innovative feasibility study projects in phase 1 of this competition.

Projects will be 100% funded.