NHS is seeking solutions for a zero carbon future





Call for innovative solutions 

The deadline for applications is 1pm, Tuesday 24 August 2021.




To help find innovative technological ways forward, a new national Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in healthcare competition has been launched by NHS England and NHS Improvement.


The competition is open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities. The competition runs in two phases (subject to availability of budget in 2022):


  • Phase 1 is intended to show the technical feasibility of the proposed concept. The development contracts placed will be for a maximum of 6 months and up to £100,000 (Incl. VAT) per project


  • Phase 2 contracts are intended to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstration units from the more promising technologies in Phase 1. Only those projects that have completed Phase 1 successfully will be eligible for Phase 2.


Developments will be 100% funded and suppliers for each project will be selected by an open competition process and retain the intellectual property rights (IPR) generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the NHS.

The ambition is to find innovative solutions that will reduce carbon emissions through four challenge areas:


Category 1: Reducing emissions from care miles – this category is perhaps less focused on hospitals but we would clearly be keen to support prevention and delivery of care in the community/home as means of reducing system pressures.


Category 2: Reducing emissions from surgical pathways – technical solutions to reduce emissions from carbon intensive equipment and/or products in high emitting surgical specialties, reduce carbon emissions in operating theatres, and reduce length of stay in hospital post-operatively.


Category 3: Reducing nitrous oxide emissions – finding clinical alternatives or different delivery methods, reducing N2O wastage across the use lifecycle, behavioural interventions that encourage staff to use alternatives wherever possible


Category 4: Tools to support low-carbon decision making – only a handful of tools have been validated and can be used widely across the system to support patients, clinicians and managers to assess any impact on carbon emissions during decision making. Relevant innovations would include guiding patients in making sustainable decisions, supporting low-carbon alternative shared decision-making processes for clinicians and patients, where clinically appropriate, supporting procurement teams to identify low carbon alternatives, assisting hospital managers in redesigning their care pathways.


More information available here.


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Need help?


Please fill the short form below and we will put you in touch with the Energy & Sustainability Manager at Addenbrooke’s, who has kindly offered to support our members who may wish to apply and who can propose solutions to trial at the hospital. Note that you don’t have to be a Cambridge Cleantech member to apply to the call.

Technologies excluded from this competition


There are a number of technologies or types of solution which may already be in development or are already available and will not be funded through this call. These are listed below:

● Development of innovative reduced carbon inhalers (e.g. dry powder inhaler and metered-dose inhaler)

● Travel and transport, specifically electrification of the fleet and infrastructure for charging and travel

● Optimisation of estates and energy / water management

● Food, catering and nutrition

● Development of new wearables devices

● Any technologies that negatively impact staff workloads will also be excluded