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Research: Small Businesses

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made on the commitment in the “Innovation Nation” White Paper to extend the revised Small Business Research Initiative to all participating departments by April 2009. (258735)

As stated in “Innovation Nation”, the revised format for SBRI has been prototyped with pilot competitions by the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Health. Each Department ran two competitions in 2008, and each competition elicited a number of innovative responses from industry, demonstrating that the programme, in its revised form, has considerable potential to benefit departments as well as innovative companies. Experience from these pilots is being used to define the standard process, documentation, and support infrastructure needed for broader deployment, and to demonstrate the value of SBRI as a powerful innovation mechanism.

The Technology Strategy Board, which manages the SBRI programme, is engaging with Departments to identify and define further opportunities for the use of SBRI over the next three years. A £10 million competition with the Department for Communities and Local Government will be launched in March. The competition will encourage companies to demonstrate ways of improving the environmental sustainability of existing buildings. The Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health, and the Department for Transport also have advanced plans for SBRI competitions in 2009.