“Organisations can apply for a share of £1 million, inclusive of VAT, to develop innovative solutions that increase access for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the self-employed (SE) to Occupational Health Services (OHS).“
Alex Leach, Deputy Director of Innovation and Growth

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition jointly funded by Department of Work and Pension (DWP) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). It is open to organisations of any size and those who work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors.

There is currently a wide variation across the UK in access to occupational health services (OHS), with Large employers five times more likely to offer services than small employers.

The aim of this competition is to increase access for micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and the self-employed to occupational health services. These groups are underserved by the current OHS provision and this competitions support will allow OHS providers to better utilise the capacity they have to serve this new demand.

Expert support such as occupational health services can be a critical component in helping supporting individuals remain in and return to work. It helps in reducing unnecessary sickness absence, supporting employers to retain valuable staff, increasing productivity, and enabling individuals to live better for longer.

Innovation, particularly in relation to service models that work for SMEs and the self-employed, with greater use of technology have an important role. It can help to ensure the market has the capacity and capability to deliver these services and increase employer demand for OHS.

Funded by The Department of Work and Pensions and The Department of Health and Social Care, Phase 1 feasibility study R&D contracts will be up to £100,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project, for up to 8 months.

This is phase 1 of a potential 2 SBRI phase competition. The decision to proceed with the invitation only phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1.

Only the successful applicants from phase 1 will be invited to apply to take part in a potential phase 2.