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 innovation competition, the DSCH is looking for companies that are interested in developing and deploying digital technology solutions in the DSCH testbeds, which can be defined as an end to end supply chain environment where technologies can be deployed and tested using real data but without risking business disruption in the areas of Food, Hydrogen, Textiles and Spares (“Testbeds”), to solve challenges in the following areas (“Programme”):


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 5G/Future Networks.

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 will be chosen based on (i) 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:

Programme Industry Partner Judges: A number of judges from see table below:

Programme Industry Sponsor Judges: A number challenge sponsor judges. The names of the challenge sponsor judges will be provided to Applicants by 05/01/2024. If Applicants do not agree to the sharing of their application with the Programme Industry Sponsor Judges, their application may be invalidated.

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.

Programme Industry Partners: Testbed companies who have developed the Testbeds and supported framing the challenge. Programme Industry Partners may provide access to the supply chain organisations and a data environment in which the value of the solution can be demonstrated in a real industry context.  

Programme Industry Sponsors: Challenge sponsors who may steer and advise the development of the solution from an industry need perspective and share data with the tech solution through the Testbeds to solve one of the identified challenges.

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 on the Programme will receive the following benefits:

  • £100,000 grant funding.
  • Collaborate with technology and subject matter experts from the Programme Industry Partners and Programme Industry Sponsors who will support in developing and trail Participants’ solutions.
  • Meetings with the subject matter experts from the Programme Industry Partners and Programme Industry Sponsors to help develop Participants’ solutions on various topics.
  • Be part of a cohort of selected companies made up of talented entrepreneurs from across a different range of sectors, all working towards improving supply chains, as well as being part of the Hub ecosystem and network. 
  • Opportunity to participate, pitch and attend meetings at the showcase event at the beginning of the year 2025. 
  • 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:

  • Build an MVP against the chosen industrial challenge working together with the Programme Industry Partners and Programme Industry Sponsors.
  • Test the developed solution on the relevant Testbed for the challenge, subject to the agreement of terms with the Programme Industry Partners (the parties that have developed the Testbeds) and any other parties which may provide data to the Participant for such testing.
  • Showcase technology solution developed in the programme – Digital Catapult does not take ownership of your Intellectual Property developed on the Programme, however we do require you to present your solution relating to your challenge at the Showcase event.
  • Attend kick-off event hosted by Digital Catapult in March 2024 and final showcase February 2025.
  • Attend all of the workshops and/or webinars as agreed from March 2024 – August 2024.
  • Provide a minimum Co-investment of £100,000 (“Co-investment”) There are various categories of Co-investment which can be considered. The Co-investment covers the value for money and cost to deliver the technology solutions. You can find further information on what Co-investment we are looking for here. Applicants are required to submit a document demonstrating details of the Co-investment when the application is submitted (Digital Catapult will provide a template for completion).
  • Provide the following at the end of the programme, which may be published online on the Virtual Hub:
    • Support Digital Catapult in building a case study.
    • Provide example use cases where relevant.
    • Provide a write up of the Project detail and lessons learned. 
  • Participant shall complete the Digital Catapult’s EDI Survey (please note each question will have a “prefer not to say” option).
  • 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 two early survey issued by Digital Catapult.


4.1 Minimum Requirements 

  • 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.
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £100,000 State Assistance (see section “Competition Terms – paragraph 8.2 “State Assistance” for further details).
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account.
  • Applicants must be able to attend all of the activities as stated in Programme Obligations.

4.2 What we’re looking for

The programme seeks applications for technology innovators who will be interested in developing technology MVPs to one of the UK’s core supply chain challenges together with the DSCH National Testbeds and Challenge Sponsors. Experience within the manufacturing sector is not essential, however knowledge of how to apply this to industry and relevance to the challenge is required.


  • Open Call – Applications Open – 1 November 2023
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – 22 December 2023
  • Interviews with shortlisted applicants – 18 January to 26 January 2024
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – week commencing 5 February 2024
  • Intended public announcement of successful Participants: 11 March 2024
  • Programme:
    • Start Date: 7 March 2024
    • End Date: 31 August 2024


6.1 What information should my application contain?

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

6.2 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 on the Programme.

The Programme Judges will see your full application, including your company name, except for your personal information fields.

6.3 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. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by Programme Partners for the purpose of assessing the Applications and for the provision of benefits to the Participants on the Programme, as set out in these Competition Terms.

6.4 Submitting your application

You must submit your application via the Digital Catapult website (“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 – Open Call 5” Application Submission”.

6.5 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.


7.1 Qualification

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

7.2 Selection process

All qualifying applications will be reviewed 

Stage 1 – Initial Evaluation

All qualifying applications will be reviewed and scored by the Programme Judges panel based on the criteria set out in section 7.3 below. The highest ranking applications for each challenge will be invited to an interview.

Stage 2 – Interview/Pitch Day

Successful applicants at Stage 1 will be invited to an interview to discuss their proposal with the Programme Judges and for the Programme Judges to ask further questions. The interviews will take place between 22 January 2024 and 9 February 2024. If applicants are not able to attend the interview in person, there will be an option to attend virtually. Applicants will be assessed at the interview on the criteria in section 7.3 below. The final score will be made up of the Stage 2 score only. Applicants must score at least 70%at Stage 2 to be successful. 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.

7.3 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:

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.

7.4 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’.

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.


8.1 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.

8.2 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 £100,000 for Participants (approximately equivalent to € 114570)

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

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.  Digital Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which it believes 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 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/).

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.


9.1 Data Retention 

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 Assistance for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

9.2 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 on 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.

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 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. 

9.5 Disclaimers 

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.

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

9.5 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.

  1. Jurisdiction

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