SBRI Healthcare – Competition 20 – Health Inequalities in Maternity Care

Key Features

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England & NHS Improvement initiative, supported by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and managed by LGC Group. We aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.

Programme:     SBRI

Award:     Share of up to £100,000

Opens: 23rd May 2022

Closes: 6th Jul 2022

! This scheme is now closed


While the UK remains a comparatively safe place to give birth, maternity care is challenged by growing health inequalities, with women from minority ethnic groups and those living in the most socially deprived areas more likely to experience adverse outcomes of pregnancy.

Women from ethnic minority groups are more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth and are also at increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes including stillbirth, miscarriage, and pre-term birth.

Funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement and in collaboration with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and AHSN Network, SBRI Healthcare is pleased to announce the opening of Competition 20 for funding innovations to support Maternity Care.

Under the Health Inequalities in Maternity Care challenge, three categories have been identified via consultation with clinicians, nurses and midwives, as well as other stakeholders working in provision of care across the maternity care spectrum.

Applicants are expected to respond to one of the three categories:

  • Perinatal Mental Health 
  • Support to Women post-discharge 
  • Risk identification, stratification, and intervention

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. Health inequality is a core component of this competition, and equity of access and experience should therefore be a central pillar of any successful innovation.


Those submitting applications will need to provide information on the following key criteria:

● How will the proposed solution impact the care system and how will the system need to be changed (including people, processes and culture) in order to deliver system-wide benefits?
● How will you ensure that the innovation will be acceptable to patients (and their families and wider support network) and to health and social care workers? How could these groups be involved in the design of a solution and its development?
● How will you ensure that the innovation is affordable to the NHS and wider systems such as Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) both immediately and throughout the life of the product? What evidence, both health economics and delivery of true impact will the NHS and wider system require before the technology can be adopted?
● How will you ensure that the innovation enhances equity of access (e.g. takes account of underserved ethnic or economic groups) and increases engagement with vulnerable groups?
● How will your innovation support the NHS commitment to reach net zero carbon?

You will be asked to provide information on the steps you have taken to identify the carbon pathway and the consequences of the proposed solution on carbon emissions.

Particular emphasis will be placed on how the technology/solution will address any challenges associated with health inequalities, such as demographic and geographic disparities, and it is expected that applicants provide details on how they will address these, e.g. provide details on the care pathway, the population that the intervention will affect and how it can improve equity.

All proposed technologies should take into consideration appropriate integration with electronic patient records (EPR). In addition, accessibility of digital solutions can be a barrier to certain populations such as deprived and vulnerable women or women living in remote or rural areas. Therefore, innovations should adapt and respond to accessibility barriers in order to provide equity of care to all women and their families.

For further information on each categories, please see the briefing document.


The competition is open to single organisations (contracts are executed with individual legal entities) based in the UK or EU from the private, public, and third sectors, including companies (large corporates and small and medium enterprises), charities, universities and NHS Foundation Trusts, as long as a strong commercial strategy is provided. Organisations based outside the UK or EU with innovations in remit for this call can apply as subcontractors of a lead UK/EU based organisation or via a UK or EU subsidiary.

Collaborations are encouraged in the form of subcontracted services as appropriate.


There are a number of technologies or types of solutions 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 do not support the workforce pressure, and that require high upfront capital investment by clinical services will also be excluded.

● Severe and complex mental illnesses are well managed through current services and are not part of the focus for this competition.
● Technologies that will not easily integrate or communicate with NHS systems.

Funding Costs

The project will be 100% funded up to the value of £100,000 (NET costs) for a maximum of 6 months.

Project costs can include:

– Labour
– Materials
– Capital equipment
– Sub-contractors
– Travel & subsistence
– Indirect

Please ensure the proposed project deliverables could be reasonably achieved within the proposed contract duration, and all requested costs are justified and represent fair market value.

Please note that SBRI is a pre-commercial procurement process and the resulting development contract is subject to VAT. VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business.


Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.