SBRI UK National Robotics Proving Ground: Feasibility studies

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £500,000, inclusive of VAT, to develop high level design concepts for a UK National Robotics Proving Ground.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £500,000

Opens: 11th Oct 2021

Closes: 10th Nov 2021

! This scheme is now closed


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to support the development of the UK’s National Robotics Proving Ground.

The aim of the competition is to develop:

  • initial operating concepts
  • system architectures
  • specifications
  • visualisations
  • supporting systems and equipment
  • challenge prize competitions
  • other novel ideas

The outputs from this short competition, will inform UKRI what type of facilities can be developed with capital infrastructure funding and the scale of the funding required. Subject to approval of future funding, further support would be available from the UKRI infrastructure fund to develop concepts into real world construction and use.

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, competitive, procurement or grant funding exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.


Innovate UK is seeking capital infrastructure funding from the UKRI infrastructure fund, to develop National Robotics Proving Ground facilities. The facilities would aim to accelerate the development and adoption of a new generation of service robotics.

There are a wide variety of ways in which such facilities could be delivered across different locations in the UK.

This competition gives organisations an opportunity to develop and share their visions for how such a facility could be realised, and what its technical capabilities would need to be.

Your proposal must be for a project that delivers a short feasibility study working towards one or more of this competitions specific themes.

Specific Themes

Your project can focus one or more of the following:

  • architectural and system concept visualisations
  • testing and instrumentation equipment capabilities or specifications
  • robotics testing procedure specifications
  • concepts for rapidly reconfigurable testing environments
  • technologies to enable nationwide or worldwide remote access of robots and robotic testing infrastructure
  • technologies to enable digital simulation or emulation based robotics testing environments, digital twins or synthetic environments
  • high-level operating concepts, outlining how your organisation or consortium would develop a robotics proving ground and what its capabilities would be
  • a challenge prize competition design that uses the robotics proving ground facilities

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.



Your project

Projects must:

  • start by 1 February 2022
  • end by 31 March 2022


To lead a project, you must:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from local authorities, business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
  • have concepts for robotics testing infrastructure that can be delivered in the UK

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only, however you can involve subcontractors in your project work. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.


Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • have capital infrastructure development, for example, simple purchases of equipment or development of new or existing testing infrastructure
  • do not offer deliverables aligned to the development of a National Robotics Proving Ground in the UK
  • are focused on any facilities or capabilities outside of the UK
  • have concepts for proving ground designs or systems that are not legally, economically, physically or ethically viable
  • have total eligible costs or project terms outside of the eligibility guidance

Funding Costs

A total of up to £500,000, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

Contracts awarded will be up to £75,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project. We expect to fund between 5 and 10 projects.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

Research and development

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 prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.

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

Get in touch

How can we help?(Required)
Send Enquiry