1. Programme Description

  • 1.1 – The Programme 

The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub (DSCH) is a £25 million programme with a vision to transform UK manufacturing through digitally empowered supply chains that are more efficient, resilient and sustainable. The Hub aims to achieve this by developing and empowering a globally competitive, digital innovation ecosystem, working together to address and prepare for the critical supply chain challenges facing UK manufacturing. 

The digital supply chain testbed opportunity

At the DSCH, we are launching a world first:  National Digital Supply Chain Testbeds.

The National Testbeds will involve supply chain companies working with domain experts and technology providers to build an end to end Digital Supply Chain Testbed that delivers on their business goals with regards to productivity, sustainability and resilience.

The UK has one of the world’s most dynamic and well funded technology communities, but falls behind when it comes to the availability and adoption of manufacturing and supply chain technology solutions. The National Digital Supply Chain Testbeds will play a significant role in changing that.

A supply chain testbed can be defined as an isolated, real world operational end to end supply chain environment where technologies, that are ready to deliver value to users, can be deployed and tested using real data but without risking business disruption. 

Software development will occur inside the Testbed, in which one or more technology companies can safely experiment with real world systems and data to develop or prove their solutions. 

These Testbeds will focus on Sustainability, Resilience & Collaboration in order to:

  • gather, create, communicate, and deliver new knowledge
  • validate existing products, services and processes, 
  • facilitate professional development
  • Deliver business impact in real-life contexts.

There are four supply chain types we would like to develop testbeds for:

  1. New emerging supply chains – e.g., new nuclear, hydrogen, protein, circular textiles, off-site construction (MMC) etc. with a focus on sustainability & resilience
  2. Spares supply chains – for Aerospace or Automotive with a significant circular element
  3. Electric Vehicle battery supply chains – with a significant focus on resilience and collaboration
  4. FMCG supply chains – with a significant focus on resilience and sustainability

Testbeds should ideally cover the end to end supply chain but at least cover three tiers.

Our expectation is that each testbed will require up to £1.5 million of investment over a 24 month period. The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub will provide a grant of up to £315,000. The first 12-months are the building phase of the testbed and the following 12-months are the testbed operation/maintenance phase in which projects will be deployed into the Testbed. 

  • 1.2 – Background

Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, we accelerate industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy.

We bring together an expert and enterprising community of researchers, startups, scaleups and industry leaders to discover new ways to solve the big challenges limiting the UK’s future potential. Through our specialist programmes and experimental facilities, we make sure that innovation thrives, and the right solutions make it to the real world.

Our goal is to accelerate new possibilities in everything we do and for every business we partner with the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

Digital Catapult works with organisations on projects involving at least one of the technologies from its “Advanced Digital Technology Stack”: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and Future Networks.


Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). UKRI’s vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally. Its mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.

Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency. UKRI supports business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK regions. It helps businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive, and easy to navigate.

Made Smarter

Made Smarter is a national movement to empower the growth of UK makers and advance the UK economy. With the support of Made Smarter, Britain can achieve its aim of becoming a global leader in the creation, adoption and exportation of emerging technologies.

The programme is backed by both world-renowned businesses and the UK government. It will help to improve the process for developing and adopting the tools, as well as make a real, everyday difference to people working within manufacturing – from the boardroom to the factory floor.

To find out more about Made Smarter, head over to ‘What is Made Smarter?’

  • 1.3 – The Programme Judges

During the application stage, the judges will be responsible for scoring the applications according to the process and criteria set out in these Competition Terms. The judges have/will be chosen based on (i) their experience and expertise, and (ii) ability to exercise independent judgment. The Programme Judges are as follows:

Internal Judges: A number of judges from Digital Catapult, including its technology strategy team will help judge the applications.

Independent Judges: An independent judge has been selected to help judge applications, whose details are available on request at dschopencalls@digicatapult.org.uk.

  • 1.4 – The Programme Partners

Programme Funder

Digital Catapult is working as Innovate UK’s delivery partner on this UKRI funded programme. InnovateUK is the UK’s innovation agency and is part of UK Research and Innovation.

  • 1.5 – Applicants & Participants

You are considered an “Applicant” if you apply to this competition. You are considered a “Participant” if you are successful with your application and complete all pre-Programme activities

Where you are applying on behalf of a consortium:

  • Applicant shall mean each of the members of the applying consortium, for which the Lead Applicant (the party submitting the application) is responsible for each “Applicant”.
  • Participant shall mean each of the members of the successful consortium, for which the Lead Participant (the party submitting the application) will be responsible for each “Participant”.

2. Programme Benefits

The testbeds are established to create the environment within which high quality technology solutions capabilities can be tested to deliver business improvements across supply chains.  This means that companies will be able to benefit in the following ways:

    • Grant funding of up to £315,000
      Become part of the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub initiative, leveraging £25M investment to de-risk supply chain innovation
  • New technology access

Potential access to a whole suite of digital solutions delivering business value such as:

  • Improved Scope 3 emissions measurement 
  • Optimised inventory management through supply and demand balancing
  • Automated supply chain mapping
  • Paperless processes and virtual audit
  • Showcase event

Opportunity to participate, pitch and attend meetings at the showcase event at the end of the year 2024.

  • Technical support and guidance

Support to design and develop an environment providing access to processes, data and systems.

  • Facilities

For the duration of the programme, the consortium may be able to make use of Digital Catapult’s Labs in London (subject to availability and site terms and under the discretion of Digital Catapult).

3. Programme Obligations

Participants on the Programme must commit to the following obligations:

  • Build, develop and run a national supply chain Testbed within the Digital Supply Chain Hub in any of the above mentioned focus areas
  • The consortium lead is responsible for ensuring that any other key project partners also work with the Testbeds. 
  • All funded projects must sign up to a programme participation agreement with Digital Catapult before funding can be provided. This participation agreement will include details of the monitoring and evaluation activity Catapult expects to undertake. A draft of the programme participation agreement will be emailed to successful applicants.
  • The consortium lead, key project partners and project partners will be required to submit a collaboration agreement between themselves before any claim can be made to Digital Catapult for grant funding for the project which covers the following as a minimum 
    • the grant being provided to each Participant, 
    • the activities undertaken by each Participant, 
    • IP rights (access, ownership and exploitation post project)
    • the programme management

This needs to be signed within three months after signing the participation agreement, and before any claim for grant. 

  • The consortium lead is responsible for approving the milestones, uploading/sending milestone evidence to Digital Catapult. After this has been approved by Digital Catapult, this will trigger the payment to the respective partner.
  • Showcase testbed – Digital Catapult does not take any interest (ownership/licence) of your Intellectual Property developed on the Programme, however we do require you to present the testbed relating to your focus area at the Showcase event.
  • Attend kick-off event hosted by Digital Catapult in March 2023 and final showcase March 2024.
  • Participant agrees to be visibly (name and logo) associated with the Programme, whilst on the Programme and afterwards as a former participant and beneficiary. This includes marketing collateral, such as website, print and digital materials
  • Projects must complete all grant funded activities by 31 March 2025. Non-grant funded activities may continue beyond this date.
  • The majority of the funding will be provided in designing and building of the testbed in the first 12 months. The last 10% will be provided in March  2025.

Post project obligations 

For a maximum period of five years following the project end date, Participant shall use its reasonable endeavours to answer specific questions from Digital Catapult relating to its growth and progress to assist Catapult demonstrate the impact of its activities. This shall include: (i) participation in an annual telephone conversation of one hour, and (ii) participation in a survey issued by Digital Catapult

For a maximum period of five (5) years, use reasonable endeavours to exploit the results in the UK.

4. Requirements and eligibility

  • 4.1 – What we’re looking for

The programme seeks applications from consortia who would be interested in developing and running a supply chain Testbed within the Digital Supply Chain Hub in any of the four focus areas: 

  • New emerging supply chains – e.g. new nuclear, hydrogen, protein, circular textiles, off-site construction (MMC) etc.. with a focus on sustainability & resilience
  • Spares supply chains – for Aerospace or Automotive with a significant circular element
  • Electric Vehicle battery supply chains – with a significant focus on resilience and collaboration
  • FMCG supply chains – with a significant focus on resilience and sustainability

The Testbed open call is available to all organisations but in order to be eligible an organisation needs to be part of a consortium and have clear access to industrial supply chains in the defined areas. 

Ideally a consortium should be comprised of, as a minimum:

  1. Supply chain companies across 3 tiers
  2. Technology company capable of creating testbed data environment (which can be engaged using a standard customer/supplier type contract with a non-binding commitment to support the development on its platform)
  3. Supply Chain Domain experts capable of designing the test bed and technology roadmaps 
  • 4.2 -Minimum Requirements 

Here are the eligibility criteria for applications to the Made Smarter Innovation: Digital Supply Chain Hub:

  • Only UK-based organisations are eligible to receive funding from Digital Catapult
  • The majority of the work must be carried out in the UK
  • The Testbeds needs to be hosted in the UK 
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive the requested funding in Minimal Financial Assistance/De Minimis Aid (see section “Competition Terms – paragraph 8.2 “State Assistance” for further details).
  • Signatories to the Participation Agreement (Participants) are expected to operate with the following open innovation principles :
    • Collecting and sharing knowledge regarding their activities and experiences, including lessons learned, case studies and other knowledge gained in the testbeds and trials.
    • Sharing data (within the confines of an NDA) to support the project goals.
    • Supporting the development of interoperable solutions
    • Providing access to the Testbed to Digital Catapult (and the innovators they work with) to trial solutions that align to the purpose of the testbed for the duration of the project.
  • Participants are expected to monitor and evaluate the progress and success of their testbeds and trials and to share that information with other projects within the competition. 
  • The consortium is required to make a minimum co-investment contribution to the project of 2 times the grant (£630,000).

Other Requirements 

  • Applicants must ensure that they can deliver the programme obligations (see section 5 Programme Obligations) in the timeframe of the programme 
  • all projects should be industry led or have a strong industry component
  • non-UK organisations may participate but will not receive grant funding

You should specify the following roles in your proposal, as applicable:

Organisation role Notes
Consortium lead* (= lead applicant/partner) For most projects we expect that this will be a business organisation. The proposal should make it clear why the consortium lead is the most appropriate organisation to lead the project.
Key project partners These will include all organisations which will receive grant funding from Digital Catapult. In addition, any other organisation which the consortium regards as critical to the delivery of the project, but which is not receiving grant funding from Digital Catapult. 
Project partners These are any other organisations not receiving grant funding from Digital Catapult and which will undertake important activities during project delivery. These organisations may be involved in the project governance as appropriate.
Project participants These are any other organisations not receiving grant funding from Digital Catapult. These organisations may be identified at proposal stage or could be added to the project at a later date.

*Consortium lead 

There must be a lead company, who acts as the consortium lead and lead applicant, that will be the principal contact with Digital Catapult. The consortium lead is responsible for endorsing the milestones, uploading/sending milestone evidence to Digital Catapult which will trigger the payment to the respective partner, subject to Digital Catapult’s review.

All other collaborators involved must be named in the application process. It is the responsibility of the lead company/organisation to arrange any collaboration agreements or subcontracts as necessary and to comply with the Made Smarter Innovation: Digital Supply Chain Hub terms and conditions.

You can be named as a collaborator on more than one application but can only be a ‘lead’ company/organisation once.

We may carry out due diligence on the lead and any collaboration companies/organisation so they must be willing to submit documentation upon request (including but not limited to bank account statements for the business and personal references).

5. Key Dates

Please note dates are subject to change:

  • Testbeds Briefing Event – 05 October 2022
  • Applications Open – 5 October 22
  • Application Deadline – 14 December 22
  • Interviews with shortlisted applicants – 16/17 January 2023  
  • Applicants Notified – January 2023
  • Project
    • Projects to start delivery – 1 March 2023
    • Development Phase – March 2023 – March 2024 
    • Testbed Completed & Showcase – March 2024
    • Testbed Operation –at least until March 2025

6. Application Process

  • 6.1 – What information should my application contain?

You will need to submit an application through the Made Smarter Digital Supply Chain Hub platform.

You will need to apply to a specific focus area, please ensure you tick the appropriate box in the full application form.

  • 6.2 – Who will see my application?

Catapult Representatives

Relevant Catapult representatives will see your application in order to assess the application, and otherwise in the administration of your application and participation on the Programme.

Programme Funders

Relevant IUK representatives (and other Government representatives) will have access to your application for the administration of your application and, if successful, participation on the Programme, including its statutory duties. 

Programme Judges

The programme judges will see the complete application.

  • 6.3 – Key contact information

Applicant will appoint a main contact for the Programme (“Key Contact”). This person will be Digital Catapult’s main point of contact for the competition and, if successful, Applicant’s Project activities, including: workshop and event commitments, team members’ availability, ongoing activities, and assessment of progress during and after the Project.

Digital Catapult will use this personal information for the purpose of carrying out due diligence on Applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme and to notify successful and unsuccessful Applicants over their submissions. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by Programme Partners for the purpose of assessing the Applications and providing benefits to the Participants on the Programme, as set out in these T&Cs.

The Programme Funder will additionally use the personal and confidential information for grant administration purposes, programme evaluation, and to perform its statutory duties.

  • 6.4 – Submitting your application

You must submit your application form (“Submission Method”) via the Submittable platform.

All applications must be submitted via the Submission Method by the Application Deadline.

Once your completed application has been received, Digital Catapult will send you a confirmation receipt by email. If you do not get a receipt within twenty four (24) hours of the next working day, please email us at dschopencalls@digicatapult.org.uk.

7. Selection

  • 7.1 – Qualification

The Catapult will undertake an initial assessment of the Applicants against the Programme Requirements.

  • 7.2 – Selection process

Stage 1: Reading Stage

Digital Catapult will rank applications in order of highest to lowest scoring to create an index allowing the best applications to be easily identified and to progress to the second stage.

Stage 2: Moderation Stage

A number of applications from each focus area will be further assessed in an Interview by the internal and independent judges using the same scoring criteria. 

  • 7.3 – Scoring

The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas below. Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criterion and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criterion. This scoring will be applied to all applications and will be weighted as can be seen in the table below:

Section Criteria  Weighting Ideal Response
A. Project description, objectives and outcomes

(Application details 

About the consortium 

Project Vision)

50% A clear description of the project stating its supply chain application area, use cases, aims & how it meets the objectives. The description should outline how the testbed would benefit the wider UK market & how it would enable UK supply chains to be more efficient, resilient and sustainable. The description should also outline the consortia and their roles, along with key members. 
B. Delivery

(Governance & Testbed requirements) 

15% Evidence that the project plan and task breakdown have been thought through and that there is a robust approach to controlling the project along the development phase that is feasible and proportionate to the grant distribution and match funding.
C. Financial

(Finance & added value)

15% A clear overview and explanation of the costs of the programme and confidence that financial management and control of the project will deliver good value for money (such as the co-investment offered) and is feasible within the timeframe.
D. Outcome sustainability 

(Added value & scalability)

20% Provide a summary of the expected key impacts of the test bed and outline how your successful testbed will lead towards the deployment of commercially-viable products and services sustained without further government grant funding.

A score of 0 in any category will result in application failure.

  • 7.4  – Due diligence

Digital Catapult will carry out due diligence on applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme. Applicants must be willing to submit further information or documentation upon request to qualify as ‘successful’.

  • 7.5 – Successful applicants

Successful applicants will be notified and provided with a standard agreement for review and execution (“Programme Agreement”).

The Programme Agreement is a standard agreement and not negotiable.  We do try and ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable.

In order to be accepted onto the Programme, successful applicants must sign the Programme Agreement.


8. Competition Terms – Specific

  • 8.1 – Benefits

Any funding provided by Programme Funder(s) either as direct cash grant or otherwise used for the operation of the Programme are subject to its terms and conditions stated in the Programme T&Cs.

All the benefits provided under the Programme by third-party organisations (“Suppliers”) are subject to the Supplier’s terms and conditions.

Any optional benefits provided by third party organisations whose terms and conditions are not contained in the Programme T&Cs will be agreed between the Participant and the Supplier directly.

Digital Catapult reserves the right to amend the list of benefits at its sole discretion.

  • 8.2 – State Aid

Participants shall receive the grant as Minimal Financial Assistance (“MFA”), or to the extent applicable under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the de minimis aid regulations (COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1407/2013), collectively referred to herein as “State Assistance.

The total State Assistance received or due to be received by an individual Participant (including any associated companies e.g. subsidiaries), originating from a United Kingdom source, must not exceed £315,000, or €200,000 (approximately £165,000) for Northern Ireland Companies (or any other company subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol), each in aggregate across the Participant’s current fiscal year (as at the Agreement Date) and the previous two fiscal years.

This Programme has been assessed as providing a maximum of £315,000 to all Particpants within each consortium.

Before signing the Programme Agreement, Applicants will therefore be asked to sign a declaration confirming that you are eligible to receive the State Assistance.

  • 8.3 – Applicants

Digital Catapult reserves the right to accept any application which does not fulfil the minimum requirements.

  • 8.4 – Key Dates

Digital Catapult reserves the right to change the Key Dates at its sole discretion. No extension to deadlines will usually be granted, with very limited exceptions where the Applicant requests an extension due to reasonable extenuating circumstances, beyond the Applicant’s control and unforeseen to them, subject to the Applicant providing evidence that proves the extenuating circumstance; and the applicant informing Digital Catapult as soon as reasonably practicable following the extenuating circumstance becoming apparent. Digital Catapult reserves the right to consider the factors and decide whether such circumstances are extenuating and whether granting an extension is fair to other applicants. 

  • 8.5 – Applications

All information and documents requested must be submitted. Failure to submit all requested information and documents may result in the application being rejected. Catapult will not use outside information in respect of your application unless otherwise indicated, other than to undertake due diligence. Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which could impact its reputation.

  • 8.6 – Previous Applications

Catapult reserves the right to either (i) reassess an application from a previous competition (together with information gained from an update meeting), or (ii) accept as a successful applicant an organisation that was previously successful in a previous competition, but whose participation was deferred to a later Programme.

  • 8.7 – Personal Data

Digital Catapult and IUK (each, a party) are partnering on this programme, and each is individually (not jointly) a Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018. Each party is individually responsible to you for how that party respectively stores, uses and processes your personal data in accordance with that its own privacy policy. Each party is not responsible to you for the other party’s storage, use or processing of your data. Actions taken by one party (e.g. deleting personal data) will be independent of the other party. If you need to make a data request, please make such request directly to the relevant party. Use of personal data includes each Controller using a sub-processor for the purposes of impact assessment.

In submitting the Application, the Applicant confirms that it has made the Key Contact and any other person whose personal data has been submitted, aware of, and has the lawful grounds to enable Digital Catapult (including its processors) to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person) as set out in these Competition Terms and Digital Catapult’s privacy policy (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/privacy-policy/). Information processed by UKRI will be processed in accordance with its privacy policy (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/privacy-notice-and-information-management-policy-innovate-uk/privacy-notice-and-information-management-policy).

  • 8.8 – Programme Agreement

Digital Catapult reserves the right to make amendments to the Programme Agreement it issues up until the point of execution by both parties.

  • 8.9 – Participant Programmes

Digital Catapult reserves the right to offer Participants access to its Participant Programmes, such as its Platinum Awards.

9. Competition Terms – General

  • 9.1 – Personal Data Collection, Storage & Use

9.1.1. Digital Catapult will store your application and the scoring it has received for the entire duration of the Programme. If you are a successful Applicant, we shall also store your Application for a period of up to five (5) years following the end of the Programme. For administration purposes, contracts may be stored for up to seven (7) years, contracts providing State aid for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

  • 9.2 – Confidentiality

9.2.1. The information provided in your Application will be kept confidential and only used and disclosed as reasonably necessary for the purpose of assessing Applications, and, if admitted onto the Programme, for working with you on the Programme. This may include with our Programme Partners as indicated above.

9.2.2. For practical reasons, NDAs will not be signed by Digital Catapult as part of this Programme Competition. The activities we provide can only be achieved through trust of the tech community. It is therefore not in our interest to release your sensitive information. Mutual confidentiality provisions are included in the Programme Agreement.

9.2.3. All information submitted may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and will be handled in accordance with UKRI’s FOI procedures.

9.2.4. The scoring of your Application will also be treated as confidential information.

9.2.5. As your Application will be transmitted over the Internet, ultimately Digital Catapult cannot guarantee its security.

  • 9.3 – Intellectual Property

9.3.1. We respect the intellectual property of others and we ask our Applicants to do the same.

9.3.2. In submitting the Application, you promise that you have and continue to have all necessary rights, licenses, permissions and consent to provide the content in your application to us, and for Catapult to use the Application as we have set out.

9.3.3. We will not remove from Applications any proprietary labels or copyright assertions.

  • 9.4 – Disclaimers

9.4.1. We accept no liability for any consequences, whether direct or indirect, that may arise from your participation in the Programme Competition, your reliance on any statements we may have made about the Programme, or its suspension or withdrawal.

9.4.2. In any case, to the extent permitted under law, Digital Catapult’s liability shall be limited to one thousand (£1,000) pounds.

  • 9.5 – Jurisdiction

9.5.1. The Programme Competition is governed by English law and the Applicant agrees that any dispute shall be exclusively resolved in the English courts.

Issue date

Issued on 04/10/2022

Sign up to our newsletters

The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub will help you understand how the UK transforms and innovates with smart manufacturing and digital technologies. Sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates on all our work and future opportunities.