This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, which will fund in the region of 250,000GBP inc. VAT to bring innovative solutions for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and build an evidence base for its effective and safe use in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).

It is funded by the Scottish Government, the Chief Scientific Office (CSO) with additional contribution from Transport Scotland. The Test Bed environment is provided by NHS Tayside with additional support from the Balhousie Care Group and Zero Waste Scotland and a Programme Steering Group, with wide-ranging membership.

The aim of the competition is to develop solutions that aid prevention or reduce the spread of droplet and airborne biological hazards, reduce NHS staff reliance on single use disposable PPE, and allow the return of clinical procedures which are currently considered high risk because of their aerosol generating nature. This may be achieved through the development of re-useable PPE, methods of decontamination, or methods of area/surface/air cleansing which avoids the requirement for PPE use, or a combination of these. Our ‘Test Bed’ brings in expertise from IPC, Decontamination, Health and Safety, Medical Physics and other technical, clinical and support areas as may be required, in order to consider and evaluate a potentially broad range of available solutions.

The main place of Performance will be primarily located within Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, though other sites in NHS Tayside, social care and outpatient settings will also be considered.

The challenge will focus on three specific areas. Bidders should indicate which of these challenges they are addressing and use the appropriate application form. Where a bidder wishes to address multiple challenges A,B and or C, they will need to complete an application form for each challenge addressed.

Challenge A: Re-useable PPE, in particular, Face Masks equivalent to FFP3 standard, or equipment which would provide the same level of protection. Particular attention to face fit and comfort for longer use required. Face masks equivalent to Type IIR will also be welcome. We expect to fund 1 to 3 projects in this theme – each expected to be up to 45,000GBP inc VAT

Challenge B: Decontamination/cleaning of existing PPE for re-use, in particular face masks visors and shields, excluding PPE specifically manufactured as single use. We expect to fund 1 to 3 projects in this theme – each expected to be up to 45,000GBP inc VAT

Challenge C: Air and/or surface decontamination which will reduce the infection risk in an occupied area, reducing the infection risk in an area and reducing the need for PPE to be worn. Areas not limited to the NHS. We expect to fund 2 to 3 projects in this theme – each expected to be up to 60,000GBP inc VAT

A more detailed specification for each challenge area is provided in the competition documents.

Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for R&D services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.