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 throughout 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, 5G/Future Networks and Quantum Technologies.


2.1 The Programme

The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub (“DSCH”) is on a mission to transform UK manufacturing through digitally empowered supply chains that are more efficient, resilient and sustainable. For this competition, Digital Supply Chain Hub is looking for research to (1) develop a business modelling approach for multi-tier supply chains that can demonstrate the value of implementing digital supply chain solutions; and (2) develop models of options for benefit and value sharing across the supply chain.  (“Programme”).

The programme is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1: Research
    Conduct the two-part research outlined in the Challenge Brief. Propose a high-level plan for Phase 2 (the requirement of the Phase 2 proposal will be communicated during the Phase 1 delivery).
  • Phase 2: Validate & Demonstrate
    Test the business modelling approach and methodology through the Digital Supply Chain Hub Testbeds. Gather feedback from partners in the Digital Supply Chain Hub ecosystem to validate that the benefit and value-sharing mechanism is fit for purpose and feasible for further adoption.

All successful applicants will participate in Phase 1 of the Programme. Some successful applicants may be selected (not guaranteed) to take part in Phase 2 of the Programme, which will be subject to a separate assessment by Digital Catapult during the Programme which will assess the quality of the research result and its feasibility to be tested through Digital Supply Chain Hub Testbeds and partners in the ecosystem to demonstrate impact. All Phase 2 Programme Obligations and Project Benefits set out in this agreement will only be available if applicants are selected to take part in Phase 2 of the Programme.

2.2 Programme Objectives

The Programme objectives include:

  • Develop and validate a business modelling approach for a multi-tier supply chain
  • Develop and validate a value-sharing model and approach for equitably sharing benefits across supply chains.
  • Support Digital Supply Chain Hub and its partner in demonstrating the business, consumer and environmental value of enabling the better flow of information by applying digital technologies.

2.3 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 will be chosen based on their experience and expertise. The Programme Judges comprise:

Internal Judges: A number of judges from Digital Catapult will help judge the applications.

And may include any of the following:

Academic Judges: Prof. Ying Xie from Cranfield School of Management

2.4 The Programme Partners

The following organisations are partnering with Digital Catapult to deliver the Programme:

Programme Funders: Digital Catapult is working as InnovateUK’s delivery partner on this IUK funded programme.  InnovateUK is the UK’s innovation agency, and is part of UK Research and Innovation.

2.5 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-Project activities (e.g. signing the Programme Agreement).


Participants in the Programme will receive the following benefits:

For Phase 1:

  • Up to £80,000 grant funding to work on a Research Paper for 6 months.
  • The opportunity to undertake funded research and explore developments, which your organisation may have discounted due to commercial constraints.
  • The opportunity to become part of the new ecosystem being created around the Digital Supply Chain Hub.
  • The opportunity to disseminate research results across the Digital Supply Chain Hub ecosystem and related events (e.g. programme showcase event, partner engagement events).

For Phase 2:

  • Up to £40,000 grant funding to test and validate the proposed model and option for 3 months.
  • The opportunity to partner with Digital Supply Chain Hub testbed consortium to implement the research result with real-world data.
  • The opportunity to strengthen the collaboration with the Digital Supply Chain Hub ecosystem that brings about a greater impact.
  • Showcase event: Opportunity to participate in the showcase event 2024 and/or 2025.

The programme benefits for phase 2 may change. The final list of phase 2 programme benefits will be provided to phase 2 applicants when the competition for phase 2 is launched. The amount of grant funding for phase 2 will not change.

For both Phases 1 and 2:

  • Upon successful completion of the Project, the participant will have the opportunity to join the future Digital Supply Chain Hub Platform, which will offer a platform for connecting interested digital supply chain stakeholders.
  • Upon successful completion of the Project, the opportunity to join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and which provides additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other Alumni.


Participants must be willing to commit to the following key obligations:

For Phase 1:

  • Develop a research paper / applied concept framework or model/dataset as appropriate to your research, which will be published on the Digital Supply Chain Hub website.
  • Attend an online kick-off meeting hosted by Digital Catapult in February 2024.
  • Attend agreed milestone review meetings hosted by Digital Catapult throughout the programme period.

For Phase 2: 

  • Attend the kick-off meeting hosted by Digital Catapult in autumn 2024 (date to be confirmed).
  • Participant shall lead the phase and report back to DC on the progress.
  • Engage with Digital Supply Chain Hub ecosystem to validate results. Subject to the agreed and approved Phase 2 plan (for potential deployment in testbeds, subject to the agreement of terms between the testbed providers).
  • Participant must complete all Phase 2 within 3 months from the start date (to be confirmed).

The programme obligations for phase 2 may change. The final list of Phase 2 programme obligations will be provided to phase 2 applicants when the competition for phase 2 is launched. 

For both Phases 1 and 2:

  • Disseminate your research – Digital Catapult does not take ownership of your Intellectual Property developed on the Programme, however, we do require you to present your research results relating to your challenge at the relevant event (e.g. showcase event).
  • 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.
  • 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.


5.1 Minimum Requirements 

  • Applicants must be a UK based registered organisation – or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the majority of the activity in the UK.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive a total of  £120,000 in State Assistance (see section “Competition Terms – paragraph 9.2 “State Assistance” for further details).
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be able to attend all of the activities as stated in Programme Obligations.

5.2 What we’re looking for

The programme seeks applications from researchers who will be interested in developing research papers on some of the UK’s core industrial challenges. We encourage to building      a consortium to work on different parts of the brief.

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

The lead company/organisation* has to be registered with Companies House in the UK (or equivalent, for example establishment in the UK and the majority of work must be carried out in the UK. In the case of international co-productions, the work carried out outside the UK must be proportionate to the amount of funding brought in by the international company)

The team must be able to attend all the activities (for example, workshop, milestone review meeting and final Showcase for the duration of the programme).

*Lead company/organisation 

  • You may enter as a consortium, but there must be a lead company/organisation that will liaise with Digital Catapult about the application and general progress on the Programme.
  • All other consortium members involved must be named in the application process. It is the responsibility of the lead company/organisation to arrange any collaboration agreements as necessary to cover important areas like intellectual property, confidentiality and project administration, and to comply with the Made Smarter Innovation: Digital Supply Chain Hub terms and conditions. 
  • You can be named as a consortium member 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 consortium companies/organisations so they must be willing to submit documentation upon request (including but not limited to bank account statements for the business and personal references).
  • If a consortium’s application is successful, each consortium member will enter into a multi-party Participation Agreement with Digital Catapult and will be paid grant funds separately, subject to the terms of the Participation Agreement.


  • Open Call – Applications Open – 22 November 2023
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – 7 January 2024
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – 17 January 2024
  • Intended public announcement of successful Participants: 1 March 2024
  • Programme:
    • Start Date Phase 1: 19 February 2024
    • End Date Phase 1: 16 August 2024
    • Start Date Phase 2: to be confirmed
    • End Date Phase 2: to be confirmed


7.1 What information should my application contain?

Applicants must answer all required questions in the full online application form. 

7.2 Who will see my Application?

The following people will see your 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, if successful, participation in the Programme.

The Programme Judges will see your full application, except for the personal information fields.

7.3 Key contact 

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 Programme activities, including: workshop and event commitments, team members’ availability, ongoing activities, and assessment of progress during and after the Programme.

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. 

7.4 Submitting your application

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

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 with the subject “DSCH – Research      Call November 2023 Application Submission”.

7.5 Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In addition to your application, you will be required to complete Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey (‘Survey’). Whilst the completion of this Survey is mandatory, please note that your responses to this Survey will be kept separately from your application and will have no effect whatsoever on your application to the Programme.

Digital Catapult (as the Data Controller) will collect and process your personal data, including the following special category data to help Digital Catapult improve its services in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion:

  • Racial and/or ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health (including disability)
  • Religious and/or philosophical beliefs

The data collected and processed may be shared with relevant third parties and/or published but only in an aggregated form, which means you will not be personally identifiable. 

Your personal data will be kept for 15 months from the time you respond to the Survey. Should you apply to another of Digital Catapult’s opportunities within the 15 month period, we will provide you with the option to allow us to re-use the data we already hold, to resubmit the Survey or to delete your Survey data. If you choose to complete the Survey again, we will keep your updated data for 15 months from the time you resubmit the Survey.

Please note you are responsible for the accuracy of the data you share with Digital Catapult and you agree to inform us if your data needs to be updated. 

For more information on Digital Catapult’s collection, use and protection of your personal data and your rights in regards to your personal data, please see Digital Catapult’s privacy policy (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/privacy-policy) or contact us at privacy@digicatapult.org.uk. If you have specific queries on our use of your Survey data (including a request to delete your Survey data), please contact us at edisurvey@digicatapult.org.uk.


8.1 Qualification

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

8.2 Selection process

All qualifying applications will be reviewed and scored by the Programme Judges. The highest scoring applicants will selected for participation on the Programme.

Generally, the highest ranked Applicants will be accepted onto the Programme, but Digital Catapult reserves the right to select the cohort on a portfolio basis to ensure the Programme as a whole is able to deliver consistent support and activities that provide value to all Participants and optimise the impact of the Programme.

8.3 Application Scoring criteria and weighting 

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 equally weighted. 

There are 4 criteria upon which applicants will be assessed:

  1. Strength and Originality of the proposed research to answer the set challenge (50%) – The research proposal      applicability and scalability. It demonstrates a strong vision and application to the challenge with consideration of      the market fit and context. Awareness of the research or solution pitfall or black holes.
  2. Appropriate team experience (20%)– The team is equipped to deliver the proposed research and has appropriate experience and demonstrates commitment to delivering a research paper.
  3. Feasibility of the research proposed (20%)– The delivery of the proposal is feasible with an applicable research methodology and approach, within the timeframe and budget. This includes the design and build of the research paper, level of manpower, and technical and financial capabilities.
  4. Growth potential (10%)– The research allows further development and has the potential to succeed in its full range of capabilities at a growing scale. The idea is likely to be suitable for further funding opportunities.

Furthermore, Participants will be selected on a portfolio basis to ensure the Programme is able to deliver consistent support and activities that provide value to all Participants.

8.4 Due diligence 

We 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’.

8.5 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.


9.1 Benefits

All the benefits provided under the Programme by third-party organisations (“Suppliers”) are subject to the Supplier’s terms and conditions stated in the Programme T&Cs. 

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.

9.2 State Assistance

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 £120,000 for Participants, approximately equivalent to €137,770. This is the total amount of State Assistance for both phases 1 and 2 of the Programme.

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

9.3 Accessibility 

We aim to make all of our programmes accessible. We welcome feedback as to how we may be able to improve the accessibility of our programmes in the future. If you have any feedback with regards to accessibility, please send your feedback by email to: edisurvey@digicatapult.org.uk. Your feedback may be used by us in our programmes and activities.

9.4 Applicants

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

9.5 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. No extension granted will usually be for greater than two working days.

9.6 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.  Digital Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which it believes could impact its reputation.

9.7  Previous Applications

Not used.

9.8  Personal Data

Digital Catapult is the Controller for the personal information submitted in the Application for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018.

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 each Controller (including its processors) to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person named in the Application and open call process) as set out in these Competition Terms and in accordance with the respective privacy policies: Digital Catapult (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/privacy-policy/

9.9 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.

9.10 Participant Programmes

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

9.11 Subcontracting 

Participants must not use any grant funds for subcontracting purposes without the prior consent of Digital Catapult in writing. 


10.1 Data Retention 

Digital Catapult will store your application and the scoring it has received for the entire duration of the Programme, or up to two (2) years, whichever the greater.  If you are a successful Applicant, we shall also store your Application for a period of up to seven (7) years following the end of the Programme.  For administration purposes, contracts may be stored for up to seven (7) years, contracts providing State Assistance for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

10.2 Confidentiality 

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 in the Programme.  This may include with our Programme Partners as indicated above.  

For practical reasons, NDAs will not be signed by Digital Catapult or the Programme Partners 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. Confidentiality provisions are included in the Programme Agreement.

The scoring of your Application will be treated as sensitive information.

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

10.3 Intellectual Property 

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

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.

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

10.4 Disclaimers, Exclusions & Limitations

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 your application, the Programme, or its suspension or withdrawal.

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

10.5 Entire Agreement

These Competition Terms constitute the entire agreement between Digital Catapult and the Applicant and extinguish all previous and contemporaneous agreements, promises, assurances, and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to the subject matter of these Competition Terms

10.6 Jurisdiction

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