SBRI: developing responsive rural community connections

Key Features

Combatting loneliness with solutions that enable communities to help each other in digitally and transport deprived areas.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £250,000

Opens: 16th Jul 2018

Closes: 29th Aug 2018

! This scheme is now closed


Isolation and loneliness significantly impact people’s health and well-being in areas with poor digital technology and transport.

Digital innovations and technology could connect isolated people, transform public services and support transport opportunities.

This competition is looking for proposals that provide support to individuals of all ages and communities. The aim is to reduce loneliness and connect rural communities through low cost, co-designed, user-friendly technology.


The challenge consists of 3 parts, which can be incremental:

  1. How can we reduce loneliness for older people, who are currently digitally excluded, using technology that is inclusive, accessible and intuitive?
  2. How can we co-ordinate transport more efficiently to increase citizens’ ability to travel in rural areas while reducing public subsidy?
  3. How do we better connect people in rural areas to improve well-being and reduce pressure on the health and social care systems while improving service efficiency?

Priority user groups include but are not limited to:

  • older people
  • people with disabilities
  • volunteers with the desire and capacity to assist those in need in the community
  • young people trying to access work


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, the research base or the third sector as subcontractors

Funding Costs

Projects in phase 1 are expected to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT.

Projects must start by 23 November 2018 and can last up to 3 months.

Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for R&D services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

The overall programme will be delivered over 2 phases. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes of phase 1.


Innovate UK will not fund projects which do not:

  • meet the requirements outlined in the scope
  • have a technology aspect
  • comply with GDPR
  • have a community co-design element
  • consider future needs and opportunities in the region

To find out more about this competition – please click here.