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Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

SBRI is designed to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) gain greater access to publicly funded Research and Development (R&D) contracts.  It does not give grants but it does provide an alert service about government procurement opportunities via the website.  This website consolidates access to lower value contract opportunities (typically under £100,000) from across the UK public sector including R&D opportunities under SBRI.  To visit and register with

The SBRI participating Government Departments will aim to buy at least 2.5% of their R&D requirements from SMEs.  The Department for Innovation Universities & Skills is responsible for co-ordinating SBRI.  Any queries please contact Aftab Hanif, Tel 0203 300 8672, Email

The SBRI aims:

        to provide opportunities to those existing small firms whose businesses are based upon providing R&D - by increasing the size of the market

        to encourage other smaller businesses to increase their R&D capabilities and capacity - to exploit the new market opportunities

        to create opportunities for starting new technology-based or knowledge-based businesses

Who can apply

The initiative is open to all businesses. However it is particularly beneficial to SMEs.  An SME is classed as a business that:

•        has fewer than 250 employees; and

•        either an annual turnover not exceeding about £34m (€50m) or a balance sheet total not exceeding about £29m (€43m) ; and

•        when determining whether thresholds are reached, it is necessary to take into account the same data i.e. number of employees, annual turnover, (balance sheet total) of 'partner' and 'linked' enterprises.

Charities, university spin-offs, individuals and groups are eligible to participate if they fulfill the above criteria.
Government Department R&D budgets under SBRI

Find out details of the SBRI participating Government Departments' baseline R&D budgets under the SBRI for 2007/08.

Figures for publicly funded R&D contracts awarded to SMEs in 2006/07.

Small Business Research (SBR) scheme

The Research Councils, although not Government Departments, are supporting a specific Small Business Research (SBR) scheme that recognises the specific nature of Research Council funding. The Research Councils have committed to spending at least 2.5% of a baseline on funding university researchers collaborating with SMEs.  The baseline comprises responsive and directed grant funding (funding for Research Council Institutes, training, capital expenditure and international subscriptions will be excluded from the baseline).  More information about the SBR scheme can be found at