Applications to join this programme are now closed to register for future opportunities please click here

For this challenge you’ll develop technology solutions designed to tackle supply chain challenges. With three challenge briefs to choose from:

  • Sustainable supply chains – including challenge sponsors BAE Systems, Nissan and Schneider Electrics
  • Supply chain mapping – including challenge sponsors BAE Systems
  • Supply demand imbalances – challenge sponsors to be announced

By tackling a challenge with us you’ll work with leading UK manufacturing and supply chain partners with access to up to £80,000 funding to develop your proof of value technology solution. Alongside expertise, and industry leading support on how to apply your technology to supply chain challenges, participants receive expert and timely support, industry insights and benefit from our market-leading expertise and facilities.

With thanks to challenge sponsors including BAE Systems, with more sponsors to be announced, successful participants will have the opportunity to work closely with our challenge sponsors and gain industry insights.

For our technology proof of value challenge brief we’ve three challenge opportunities you could apply to join and tackle – discover the full detail and information on each challenge below.


Applications are now closed for this programme. Register below and we’ll keep you up to date of future opportunities.

Sustainable supply chain challenge brief

Challenge sponsors:  BAE Systems, Nissan and Schneider Electrics

Meeting the UK government’s ambition to achieve a net zero economy by 2050 calls for urgent action by all organisations. 80% of the carbon footprint of supply chains is attributed to scope 3 emissions. Establishing effective means to measure, visualise and counter these should be of the highest importance for businesses, but we’re hindered due to availability and quality of data.

For this challenge you’ll explore mainstreaming the measurement of scope 3 emissions across end-to-end supply chains.


Expand the links below to understand more about the challenge background, a description of what you’ll do and the expected outcomes:

  • Sustainable supply chain – read more on the challenge background

    The Greenhouse gas protocol outlines a methodology for the measurement of scope 3 activities through the collection and assessment of both primary and secondary data. However, primary data is often both expensive and low quality and secondary data is complex to access, generic and out of date and is holding back the market in unlocking transformational new business models to prevent climate change.

    This presents a significant opportunity for innovative technology companies to improve the quality, availability and visualisation of data, to open up the market for the creation of new incentives to improve performance and accelerate decarbonisation.

  • Sustainable supply chain – discover the expected outcomes of this challenge

    Expected outcomes of this challenge

    • A proof of value digital solution for collecting and sharing scope 1 and 2 emissions in accordance with the GHG and Pathfinder methodologies
    • The proof of value has been tested to build a map of upstream and downstream scope 3 emissions for each of the participants validated against known data from the industry
    • Working demonstration of how the tool can work at scale
  • Sustainable supply chain – read more on the challenge description

    Scope 3 emissions represent scope 1 and 2 emissions of all of the other participants in a supply chain.  Whilst there remains a growing amount of activity in developing solutions for combining scopes 1 and 2 to create Scope 3 emissions data maps, we are far from seeing these being broadly adopted.  Many of these difficulties can be traced back to the diverse methodologies used in the collection and analysis of data and the lack of interoperability.

    For this challenge, the focus is on upstream and downstream transportation and distribution using data from across the value chain from the source of energy through to the end user.  The work will be aligned to the GHG protocol and work within the WBCSD’s pathfinder framework and network.

    In this challenge we want to work with technology innovators with a viable mechanism that facilitates companies to collect scope 1 and 2 emissions. The proof of value will seek to enable suppliers/buyers to access that data in a permissioned form and to be able to more quickly map out their scope 3 emissions for the selected products.

Supply chain mapping challenge brief

Challenge sponsors: BAE Systems

End-to-end supply chain visibility is seen as critical to managing the extended supply chain. It is key for businesses to be able to respond quickly to changes in demand or supply chain risks. It is also critical to fully understand the carbon footprint of the supply chain and scope 3 emissions.

Most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) only have visibility to their direct tier 1 suppliers and above that they have limited knowledge of who is involved. For this proof of value challenge, tech innovators will explore automated mapping of supply chains to Tier N (sub-tier entities) bill of materials (BoM’s) level.


Expand the links below to understand more about this challenge background, a description of what you’ll do and the expected outcomes:

  • Supply chain mapping – read more on the challenge background

    The first step in building visibility is to understand who is in the supply network. Typically companies at lower tiers in the supply chain often don’t know who is in the higher tiers of their supply network and vice versa.

    The problem can be typically split into two parts; who are the supply chain participants, for example, the nodes in the network, and what connections are there between these nodes. For the visibility and connectivity to be fully appreciated these connections need to be understood and mapped.

    Supply  chain mapping is not new but the ability to map a supply chain through the tiers is often extremely time consuming and a manual process. Once done it needs to be maintained or becomes immediately out of date.

    For simple products it is possible to manually map or work through suppliers to find the higher suppliers. For more complex products however and bill of materials (BoM’s) this is difficult and time consuming, (it took an aerospace company five years to map the supply chain for one of their aircraft).

    Mapping supply chains is both a data challenge, for example discovery of the nodes and the connections between nodes in the network, and a technology challenge where automation and intelligence should be able to reduce time and cost significantly.

    New digital technology solutions are emerging that have the capability to address this challenge but often are not at the granularity needed to significantly reduce the time required to deliver a solution.

  • Supply chain mapping – read more on the challenge description

    For this challenge the aim is to use digital technologies to accelerate and map the supply chain enabling better risk management.

    Using data on one product bill of materials, automatically map the supply chain from available data (public, company or other). The mapping activity will seek to identify all the nodes in the supply chain and the connections between the nodes. This challenge requires a tech innovator to build a product supply chain network map based on the modelling undertaken, working with the challenge sponsor you’ll validate this model against specific supply chains and known data points to assess the accuracy. Alternative innovative approaches to achieving the outcome can be considered but any supply chain map developed needs to be able to be updated on a regular basis as the supply chain evolves.

  • Supply chain mapping – discover the expected outcomes of this challenge

    The following outcomes are expected from this challenge

    • A proof of value technology solution for supply chain mapping to tier N
    • The proof of value has been tested to build a map of a supply chain and validated against known data from the industry
    • A working demonstration of how the automated mapping approach works

Supply demand imbalances challenge brief

Challenge sponsors: To be announced soon

Supply chain disruptions accompanied by sudden surges in demand have caught many businesses off guard. For this proof of value challenge tech solution innovators are tasked with developing technology solutions designed to accurately anticipate supply and demand imbalances.

Supply demand imbalances opportunities – for this challenge you’ll be exploring intelligent supply and demand sensing for better planning.


Expand the links below to understand more about this challenge background, a description of what you’ll do and the expected outcomes:

  • Supply demand imbalances – discover the expected outcomes of this challenge

    The following outcomes are expected from this challenge

    • A proof of value digital solution using real-time and heuristics data points to predict demand and supply conditions
    • The proof of value should clearly demonstrate improvements over traditional planning techniques.
    • Working demonstration of how the demand and supply predictions can bring service and inventory level improvements
  • Supply demand imbalances – read more on the challenge description

    The overall objective of this challenge is to develop a proof of value (PoV) which uses real-time data including variabilities in supply and demand to predict the likelihood of shortages and optimise inventory levels over time to improve performance in today’s volatile supply chains.

    This should include:

    • Capturing multiple real-time demand signals to improve the overall demand forecast accuracy
    • Sensing tools should capture the impact of external variables such as  economic conditions, weather forecast, market shifts, oil price or similar causal factors
    • Real-time data analytics to provide visibility into potential supply shortfalls during specific periods
    • Predict and provide early warning related to service and inventory risks based on the state of the demand and supply conditions
    • Applying the demand and supply sensing to specific end-to-end supply chain dataset, demonstrating how this will provide a better solution than is currently available for manufacturing supply chains
    • Ensuring the solution is suitable for the SME market
  • Supply demand imbalances – read more on the challenge background

    Supply chain disruptions accompanied by sudden surges in demand have caught many businesses off guard. Especially with growing uncertainty as the UK economy deals with the pandemic aftershocks, businesses are now being compelled to find new ways to accurately determine supply and demand.

    Traditional forecasting methods rely on historical data to estimate future performance. Whereas in the past this approach may have been sufficient, given the shocks that the global economy has endured and continues to face (from climate change, leaving the EU and war in Ukraine) the past is no longer an accurate prediction for the future. Too much reliance on historical data for predicting future planning now means that businesses cannot respond to supply chain changes in an agile manner. Nor can they quickly facilitate production and delivery across the supply chain tiers to meet their needs.

    Furthermore, with increased resource scarcity due to the increase in climate change, natural resource depletion, the crossing of planetary boundaries and increased conflict and social upheaval, increased complexity for the balancing of supply and demand is the new normal. Unless companies are able to respond, they will therefore be plagued by raw material shortages, late deliveries, machine breakdown, cyber threats.

    Sensing models have already been adopted by a range of businesses across specific sectors, such as FMCG, to improve their response to varying demand in the short-term. However, traditional manufacturing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and SMEs are not currently benefiting from the exploitation of such digital technologies. These sectors still rely on traditional forecasting methods.

    To combat the arising challenges and impact, there is a need for intelligent supply and demand sensing which can use a broader range of signals and mathematical models to factor in real-world events. Not only to create more accurate demand forecasts but at the same time predict supply shortages and mitigates the risks of supply-demand imbalance.

Programme benefits

The Hub programme provides a range of mutually beneficial opportunities for your business:

Proof of value funding

You can receive up to £80,000 to develop a challenge-focused proof of value technology solution within four months

Technology and industry expertise

Engagement with technology experts, researchers and innovation managers from Digital Catapult and wider industry

Peer to peer learning

Working with a cohort of exciting companies made up of talented entrepreneurs from across a wide range of sectors

Showcase event

Opportunity to participate, pitch and attend meetings at the showcase event at the end of the year 2022

Backed by industry

With a programme backed by UK industry, you’ll be working with challenge sponsors tackling real world challenges for UK supply chains

State-of-the-art facilities

For the duration of the programme access to Digital Catapult’s state-of the-art Labs in London (subject to availability and site terms and under the discretion of Digital Catapult)

Who should apply?

The programme seeks applications from UK startups, scaleups and SME technology innovators capable of  developing technology proof of value solutions that address three supply chain challenges: Supply chain sustainability, supply chain mapping, and supply and demand imbalances.

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

  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company – or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the majority of the activity in the UK.
  • Experience within the manufacturing sector is not essential, however knowledge of how to apply this to industry and relevance to the challenge is required.
  • The team has to have one or more team members with expertise with at least one of the advanced digital technology stack (future networks, artificial intelligence, distributed systems and immersive)
  • The team must be able to attend all the activities (for example, workshop and final Showcase for the duration of the programme).

Programme schedule

  • Applications open 23 May – 03 July
  • Selection and contracting – July
  • Cohort onboarding – 15 August
  • Proof of value development phase and monitoring 15 August – 15 December
  • Challenge alignment workshop – August/September 2022
  • Final showcase – November/December 2022

Selection criteria

Applications will be selected based on the following criteria.

Appropriate team experience

The team is equipped to deliver the proposed proof of value and has appropriate technology and business skills, demonstrating a good team structure that will deliver a first tested proof of value within four months

Strength and originality of the idea and ability to answer the set challenge

The idea is realistic, well-developed and demonstrates strong vision and application to the chosen challenge with consideration to the market fit and context. shows a good understanding and a clearly identified solution with relevance to the manufacturing sector and the challenge objectives. The idea is innovative and original and the proposal has clear aims and vision.

Feasibility of proof of value delivery

The technical delivery of the proposal is feasible with a viable solution, within the timeframe and budget. This includes the design and build of the proof of value, level of manpower, manufacturing and financial capabilities

Technology suitability/relevance

The idea presented applies suitable advanced digital technologies in a supply chain context and the product is at suitable technology readiness level (TRL) according to the challenge brief.

Growth potential

The idea is scalable 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

How to apply

  1. To apply, each applicant will need to register their interest using our registration form
  2. Applicants will receive a follow-up email with a link to the application form through Submittable
  3. Applicant teams will need to complete the application form by 23:59 on 03 July 2022 to be considered for the programme

If you have any questions about the programme, application process, or challenge briefs please get in touch with

Supporting documentation:

  • You can download a PDF document with all the challenge briefs here.
  • You can see the questions we’ll be asking here.

Competition terms

Applicants will need to have read our competition terms before applying to join the Digital Supply Chain Hub. Our competition terms for the Digital Supply Chain Hub Research Competition May 2022 cover:

  1. Programme Description
  2. Programme Benefits
  3. Programme Obligations
  4. Applicants
  5. Key Dates
  6. Application
  7. Selection
  8. Competition Terms – Specific
  9. Competition Terms – General

Application FAQs

  • Can I apply for more than one challenge brief?

    Yes, you can apply for as many challenge briefs as relevant, all applications will be marked independently. You will only be accepted for one challenge. If you score highly on both, we will have a deliberation call with the internal and external judges to decide the final cohort.

  • I don’t quite fit some of these criteria, can I still apply?

    The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain programme aims to offer opportunities throughout the year across all stages of maturity. Our applications are often themed to industry challenges across a number of industries. If our active applications aren’t right for the maturity of your business or its specific focus, please register your interest to stay in the loop on future opportunities offered by the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub.

  • What if my application is not successful – can I reapply for a later programme?

    Yes of course, your application may not have been relevant to the theme or stage of business, as we run applications across all stages of maturity and across industry themes as new applications open you are welcome to apply to these future opportunities.

  • Will I receive feedback on my application?

    Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications, we can’t provide feedback on applications. You can join a webinar as part of the open call process to get advice on applying. We will of course notify everyone that applies of the outcome of their application via email, this will be an automated email.

  • Who will my application data be shared with?

    The application information will only be used for the purposes of the programme and its evaluation, and will only be retained for the duration of the programme, for participants on the programme for the evaluation period (maximum five years) and otherwise to comply with legal requirements. This application information is only shared with Digital Catapult and its programme partners, where information is shared outside of Digital Catapult this will be made clear in the application form/programme agreements.

  • Does my organisation need to be a UK registered company to enter?

    Collaborations may include international contributors but the team must have an establishment in the UK, and the majority of work should be carried out in the UK and teams need to be able to commit to attending workshops and showcase events.

  • Can I save my application form?

    Participants must first complete the registration of interest form on the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub, upon completion you will receive a link to the full Submittable form. This form can be saved to allow you time to save and come back to your answers. Applicants must submit the application forms in full to be considered for the programmes, we are not able to see in draft forms. Upon submission of this form you are not able to revise or edit the form anymore.

  • What information will the programme ask for in the application form?

    Specific to application briefs and requirements, the application form will seek for more details that help us to understand your solutions, ideas and relevance to the programme. These questions typically seek to understand:

    • Company information (for example, company name, full name, email address, founder details and category)
    • Progress (for example, stage of company, revenue and customers)
    • Idea (for example, strength, originality, relevance, scalability)
    • Team (for example, team experience and skill set)
    • Challenge application and delivery proposed (for example, relevance, suitability of proposed technical delivery)
    • Equity and legal (for example, investment information, non-compete and de minimus state aid compliance)
    • Programme participation – ability to commit to attending our workshops and events
  • There’s no active applications, how can I get involved?

    If there are no open applications or the applications that are open are not of interest/relevance then you can register to stay up to date on Digital Catapult and the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub.

  • What is the application process?

    The application process is straightforward, and consists of a submitted application, followed by a number of an online interviews between selected applicants and the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain judges and team:

    1) Register your interest and chose an open application
    2) Interested parties will receive an email with a link to the full application form
    3) Applicants must complete the submittable form by the advertised application closing date
    4) Application forms reviewed and shortlisted
    6) Participants selected and contracts signed

  • Who can apply?

    The Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub has been designed to build a strong ecosystem of partners across supply chains. It brings together opportunities from industry with applied technologies and research from startups, SMES and academics.

    Our research and startup application opporunities will be of relevance to those working in or experienced with:

    • Immersive technologies including virtual, augmented and cross reality
    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
    • Future networks including 5G and IoT technologies
    • Distributed systems such as distributed ledger technologies

    For specific business maturity please see the requirements for each programme of activities.

  • What does the programme offer? Why should I apply?

    Digital Catapult is unique in its ability to connect high potential scaleups with established businesses, investors, government and public sector, research and academia – to discover new ways of solving industry challenges, increasing productivity and opening up new markets.

    Across the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub, a range of opportunities are provided to tackle challenges within supply chains, showcase exciting developments and engage with programme partners.

    These may vary across projects where relevant but typically include:

    • Regular interactions with the Digital Catapult team, industry experts, and corporate partners to iterate and accelerate your supply chain solutions, and significantly expand your network of peers, investors and customers
    • Networking events, roundtables and introductions to industry leaders, relevant investors and potential customers
    • The opportunity to join the Digital Catapult alumni network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other alumni.

Application Funding FAQs

  • Can VAT be added to the grant funding?

    The payment of the grant is outside the scope of VAT, but if VAT is chargeable, all payments of the Grant will be deemed to be inclusive of all VAT and Digital Catapult shall not be obliged to pay any amount over and above the amount of the grant.

  • Does Digital Catapult invest in participating startups?

    Digital Catapult is not an investment firm or venture capitalist. We do not provide any private investment. We do however run events with the investor community.

    Participants keep 100% of any investment raised as part of the programme – Digital Catapult and its partners do not take any equity from participating companies.

    Certain programmes however will provide focused funding for programme activities and this is made clear in the application brief.

  • Does Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub offer funding?

    Funding within the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain programme framework is provided on a per project basis. Not all elements of the programme will provide funding – where funding is provided this will be made clear on the application process and expected use of funds. For example, some projects may provide funding for the development of proof of concepts or minimum viable products.

  • Is there a fee for startups or members of the innovation community to be involved?

    For startups and scaleups, and academics there is no fee for participating in the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain programme, though participants will be expected to cover their own travel expenses for any in-person events they attend.

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