SBRI Healthcare – Competition 18 – Stroke and Technology

Key Features

Funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement and in collaboration with the Stroke Association and the AHSN Network, SBRI Healthcare is pleased to announce the opening of Competition 18 for funding innovations in the pre-hospital diagnosis and rehabilitation of stroke.

Programme:     SBRI Healthcare

Award:     Up to £100,000 per project

Opens: 13th Jul 2021

Closes: 24th Aug 2021

! This scheme is now closed


Stroke care is a critical issue for health systems globally, with someone having a stroke every two seconds somewhere in the world. In the UK stroke is the fourth biggest killer and costs society £26 billion annually.

Pre-hospital diagnosis, delivering evidenced-based rehabilitation interventions, and supporting stroke survivors are key priorities which innovators can help the NHS address.


This competition seeks to address two primary issues, taking into account the systemic complexity and recognising some of the key influences on care delivery. The requirement is to find innovative solutions that will tackle challenges associated with:

1. Pre-hospital diagnosis
2. Rehabilitation
3. Life after stroke

Applicants are asked to consider the impact of their innovation on the whole system and to be aware of the competitive environment, even considering working together with other companies and organisations to bring forward solutions that can make a real difference. Applicants are further asked to consider the impact of their innovation in addressing and/or alleviating variations currently experienced in stroke care, for example through addressing inequality in access to care and geographic disparities.

The COVID-19 emergency has forced changes in healthcare and applicants should consider that the baseline they need to innovate from may be different from that in January 2020. This competition is also open to supporting the further development and evaluation of technologies already introduced during this crisis.


The funding competition is open to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities. Applicants are invited to submit innovative solutions to tackle three specific challenges :

  1. Pre-hospital diagnosis
  2. Rehabilitation
  3. Life after stroke

For further information on each challenge, please see here

The competition is open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities. The competition runs in two phases (subject to availability of budget in 2022/23):

● Phase 1 is intended to show the technical feasibility of the proposed concept. The development contracts placed will be for a maximum of 6 months and up to £100,000 (inc. VAT) per project

● Phase 2 contracts are intended to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstration units from the more promising technologies in Phase 1. Only those projects that have completed Phase 1 successfully will be eligible for Phase 2.

Developments will be 100% funded and suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property rights (IPR) generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the NHS.


There are a number of technologies or types of solution which are already available, or will not make a significant impact on the challenges addressed in this brief. These are listed below. Any technologies that negatively impact staff workloads and require high upfront capital investment by clinical services will also be excluded.

● Digital technologies that will not easily integrate or communicate with NHS/community setting systems.
● Technologies that lack sufficient evidence of user acceptability, usability and validity. Strong value proposition should be presented for robotics technologies for example.
● Technologies that do not comply with GDPR policies.
● Mobile stroke units

Application Process

This competition is part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme which aims to bring novel solutions to Government departments’ issues by engaging with innovative companies that would not be reached in other ways:

● It enables Government departments and public sector agencies to procure new technologies faster and with managed risk;
● It provides vital funding for a critical stage of technology development through demonstration and trial – especially for early-stage companies.

The SBRI scheme is particularly suited to small and medium-sized businesses, as the contracts are of relatively small value and operate on short timescales for Government departments.

The application process is managed on behalf of NHS England
and NHS Improvement by LGC Group. All applications should be made using the application portal which can be accessed through the Research Management System.

Briefing Event

A briefing event for businesses interested in finding out more about these competitions will be held on 17 June 2021. An additional webinar event will be organised to respond to potential applicant’s questions. Please check the SBRI Healthcare website for confirmation of dates, information on how to register and details of the challenges that will be presented.