SBRI competition – Modernising Energy Data Applications phase 1

Key Features

Businesses can apply for a share of £750,000, inclusive of VAT, to develop data applications that help to address core challenges faced in the UK.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £750,000

Opens: 12th Oct 2020

Closes: 18th Nov 2020

! This scheme is now closed


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by UKRI, and sponsored by BEIS and Ofgem. The aim of the competition is to develop data applications that address the challenges faced by businesess and individuals to deliver net zero local energy systems.


The aim of this competition is to demonstrate that applications which combine data from multiple sectors can:

  • help individuals and organisations deliver net zero local energy systems
  • improve people’s lives, and
  • create business opportunities

You must build upon work with Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) competition winners.

Your application should demonstrate how the open source software solutions developed under the MEDA competition can facilitate better access and interoperability of energy data for innovators, by building upon the approaches developed through the MEDA projects.

MEDapps projects must:

  • demonstrate that by combining energy data with data from other sectors, solutions can be built that help accelerate the move towards net zero local energy systems that meet the needs of their users.
  • address the real world need of a user (organisation or persons) within a local energy system
  • meaningfully utilise one or more data sources from a sector other than the energy sector.

Sectors could include other infrastructure sectors such as (but not limited to):

  • telecommunications
  • water
  • transport, or
  • waste

and non-infrastructure sectors such as (but not limited to):

  • agriculture
  • social care
  • health

You must identify the challenge or problem that your project is going to investigate developing a solution for, showing preliminary evidence that this is a real world example that will help facilitate better living in a net zero energy ecosystem.

Your project must:

  • identify a credible use case that a solution would provide benefit against
  • demonstrate an agile approach using best in class tools, approaches and methodologies
  • use high quality user research and user experience techniques
  • show how you will implement good design thinking and processes from the outset
  • deliver your project using high quality user research and user experience techniques
  • ensure that solutions are flexible, minimising the burden of their being re-used, for example to accommodate ingestion of additional data sources or new functionality
  • use state of the art analytical techniques and methods for enriching data to gain information and insight, for example: data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and/or statistical mathematics techniques
  • identify and design solutions that best utilise digital information exchange across the energy industry data ecosystem, and other sectors
  • foster innovation and lower information-related barriers to building upon the product or service you develop by increasing visibility of data and data processing methods, and ease of data access through your product or service
  • ensure datasets featuring different standards, formats and technologies can be combined, and be made to work together at minimum cost and complexity
  • ensure data is easy to work with and compatible with national reference data, related to the energy system (for instance from the Office for National Statistics or Land Registry)
  • produce open source outputs which can be utilised by both the energy industry and other sectors, whilst presenting opportunities for commercial exploitation
  • demonstrate how you are utilising diversity and inclusivity, both in your project delivery team and the users group you are designing a solution for
  • improve data quality so it is compatible with and contributes to national energy data ontology needs.

You must involve relevant public bodies such as:

  • DCMS
  • Centre for Digital Built Britain

You must involve relevant and interested private sector organisations in the modernising energy data landscape such as:

  • Energy Networks Association (ENA)
  • distribution network operators (DNOs)
  • transmission system operators (TSOs)

In phase 1 you must complete both discovery and alpha phases.

Full details of what the discovery and alpha phases include are available in the full competition scope here.


To lead a project, you must:

  • be a business of any size
  • work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors
  • build upon the phase 2 work of the Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) competition winners

Contracts will be awarded only to the lead applicant. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can employ specialist consultants, advisers or partnering organisations. This work will still be the responsibility of the lead applicant.

Innovate UK encourage partnerships with academic institutions or research organisations as subcontractors that facilitate applied development of emerging data and digital techniques including, but not limited to:

  • machine learning techniques
  • simulation environments
  • edge computing

Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply for phase 2.

Funding Costs

A total of up to £750,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to phase 1.

The feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £150,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 3 months. This competition is expectex to fund up to 6 projects.

Projects are expected to start by 1 March 2021, end by 31 May 2021 and can last up to 3 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 across multiple aspects including but not limited to technology, markets, business maturity, and geographies

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 initial prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

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


This competition will not fund projects:

  • that do not explain how they will build upon the Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) solutions
  • that do not combine energy sector data with data sources from at least one other sector
  • that have not identified a lead customer and explained how they will be engaged as a key stakeholder during project development
  • for commercial development activities such as quantity production