A new Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) fund worth £150,000 has been launched by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) to develop a new technology which provides an opportunity to generate exam questions in a ‘crowd-sourced’ manner.

Organisations can apply for a share of the fund through a competition, which will be supported by a briefing event in the Radisson Hotel Belfast on the 4th September, with submissions due in for the 17th September.

The CCEA offers a diverse range of qualifications, including GCSEs, GCE A and AS levels, Entry Level Qualifications and Vocational Qualifications. Questions for testing and examinations are developed by teachers, either in their own school or as part of assessment teams commissioned by CCEA. Whilst this is a long established and effective way of working, CCEA is now seeking to expand the offer of valid and reliable question banks to teachers and schools/colleges, whilst maintaining standards and reducing the cost of the service.

The CCEA believes that technology can be used to help develop questions in a ‘crowd-sourced’ manner, increasing available question items for examinations and assessment, potentially increasing the quality of questioning in schools and reducing cost. Such a tool would be expected to have wide/global market interest, particularly in subjects that are common across National Curricula.

Phase I of the project is intended to show the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the proposed concept and will be undertaken by the end of November 2018. If this is successful, a further phase may be commissioned to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstrators from the more promising technologies identified in Phase I. This will be commissioned for completion by end of March 2019.


  • Briefing event 4th September
  • Submissions are due by 17th September
  • Interviews for shortlisted organisations held in Belfast week commencing the 24th September