SBRI: modernising energy data access and information

Key Features

In this first phase applicants can apply for a share of up to £480,000 for modernising energy data access. This is being funded by Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, in collaboration with BEIS and Ofgem.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £480,000

Opens: 16th Oct 2019

Closes: 8th Jan 2020

! This scheme is now closed


This competition is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition.

It aims to solve the fundamental problem of exchanging digital energy information between energy organisations and with other stakeholders by supporting the development of products or services which can later be commercialised and employed to solve similar problems elsewhere.


Your project must accelerate the development of tools and processes to modernise data services for the energy sector. Successful applicants will have access to advice, industry experts and representative datasets.

Your proposal must allow the owners and users of digital energy information to collaborate and develop efficient solutions to achieve the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions. You should keep costs low and maintain energy system reliability.

Your proposal must:

  • be flexible and easy to reuse, regardless of the source of the data
  • enable digital information exchange across the energy industry data landscape, using the representative data sets provided by Innovate UK
  • demonstrate a rational process to move from the current fragmented data landscape to one that is more transparent and efficient
  • encourage innovation by increasing data visibility and ease of access to energy data
  • involve interested private sector organisations, such as the Energy Networks Association (ENA), distribution network operators (DNOs), the electricity system operator (ESO), in modernising the energy data landscape
  • show that data sets based on different standards, formats and technologies can be made to work together at minimum cost and complexity
  • make sure data is compatible with national reference data which is relevant to the energy system (for instance from the Office for National Statistics)
  • produce open source (or a format with a similar principle) outputs which can be used by both the energy industry and other sectors and create opportunities for commercial exploitation
  • consider the data security implications of the solution and ensure security mindedness is incorporated throughout

This phase will aim to prove the validity of the common data architecture concept, or disprove it by identifying a superior alternative. By the end of this phase you must produce these outputs and others as appropriate, in accordance with Government Digital Service (GDS) agile principles:

  • an approach and design
  • user personas and journeys
  • delivery risk documentation
  • road map and initial epic backlog
  • proposed team

You are particularly encouraged to design and build ways in which each user can search and access relevant data. For example this could be by:

  • location or geospatial reference
  • asset type
  • other characteristics

Your proposal should use state-of-the-art data science techniques and these should be an important part of the proposed solution. These techniques must support and enable ongoing initiatives across the energy sector, such as the Open Networks Project and other activities being conducted by the ENA.

Your solution must promote interoperability of data whilst recognising the various standards and technologies in use across the energy industry. You must also aim to ensure interoperability with data from outside the energy sector.


You can work alone or collaborate with others as subcontractors.

To lead a project, you must:

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

Discovery contracts will only be awarded to lead applicants. However, if you can show that collaboration will benefit your project, you can subcontract specific tasks. Ideally subcontractors will be sector specialists. Any subcontracted work is the responsibility of the lead applicant.

You cannot use a resubmission to apply for this competition. A resubmission is a proposal Innovate UK judges as not materially different from one you have submitted before.

If you submit a new proposal this time you will be able to use it in no more than one future competition that allows resubmissions.

Funding Costs

This is a 3-phase competition with a total allocation of up to £1.9 million, including VAT. Projects will be 100% funded.

Phase 1: discovery contracts

A total of up to £480,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1 to focus on supporting feasibility studies. Innovate UK expect to fund up to 3 projects in phase 1 (subject to them meeting our quality criteria).

Your project must have total eligible costs between £100,000 and £160,000, including VAT.

Phase 1 projects must start by 6 April 2020 and can last no more than 6 weeks.

Phase 2: alpha contracts

A total of £520,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 2. Innovate UK expect to fund 2 contracts of up to £260,000 each, including VAT (subject to them meeting our quality criteria).

Phase 3: private beta contracts

A total of £900,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 3. Innovate UK expect to fund 1 contract of up to £900,000, including VAT (subject to it meeting our quality criteria).

Successful applicants in each stage will be eligible to apply for subsequent phases.

Your application must have at least 50% of its contract value attributed directly and exclusively to research and development (R&D) services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include 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


Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects that sit outside of the scope
  • proposed and/or existing front end user applications
  • solutions that focus solely on a single data source, such as smart metering data