About the Programme

  • What is the Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator?

    Niantic Labs, leading mobile games creators, have recently launched a new tool to build augmented reality (AR) experiences. Digital Catapult is teaming up with Niantic to deliver the Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK) to immersive organisations in the UK. The toolkit lowers the barriers to entry for developers to create immersive augmented reality experiences and enables developers to bring virtual content into the real world. 

    The Digital Catapult and Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator is looking for immersive developers to come up with creative concepts that solve the challenges set out by our industry partners.

    The three individual challenges set by industry partners; Studio Wayne McGregor, Cartoon Network and Niantic, are looking for developers to create pitches that bring people together and enhance real-world experiences. The best ideas will be selected to take place in a pitching competition, after the pitching competition the three concepts that best respond to the industry challenges will be awarded up to £100,000 and technical support to develop a demonstrator on Niantic’s Lightship Platform. See below for more details about the industry-specific challenges.

  • What is 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 big challenges to unlock 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 is part of the Catapult Network that supports businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services. We are a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres established by Innovate UK.

    Visit www.digicatapult.org.uk for more information.

  • What are the programme phases?

    The programme is divided into two phases: 

    Phase 1 – Concept development and pitching competition

    This concept development phase is one month long and will take place in August 2022. The best applications will be selected to further develop their concept and to take place in a pitching competition in front of a panel from the relevant challenge owner, Niantic, and Digital Catapult in the w/c 29th August 2022

    Those selected to take part in the pitching competition will be awarded £2000+VAT to support the development of a concept and pitch.

    Phase 2 – Demonstrator development

    After the pitching competition, the three concepts that best respond to the industry challenges will be awarded up to £100,000 to develop the challenge demonstrator.

    This phase will start in the w/c 3rd October 2022 – to finish on February 2023.

  • What is meant by Concept Development?

    Concept development is defined as: 

    A strong example of your idea with supporting documentation of what you will build as your demonstrator responding to the challenges set by our industry partners. This will include a pitch presentation of the concept to the industry partners, supporting documentation, a detailed project plan explaining work packages and how the funding will be used. 

  • What is meant by Demonstrator?

    A demonstrator is an experience that provides an audiovisual and interactive benchmark of the experience, illustrating what a user will be expected to see, do, hear, and feel when they are within or having the experience. It will also prove the feasibility of any key technological or logistical elements, particularly if they could be considered risky. 

    The demonstrators will not be ready for a consumer application but the audiovisual elements and interactive functionality should be of sufficiently high quality to constitute a “preview” or “alpha” version of an application.

  • What are the key dates of the programme?

    Open Call – Application Deadline Sunday 19th June 2022 at 23:59 pm

    Phase 1

    Phase 1 – Applications shortlisting – 16th May – 27th June 2022

    Phase 1 – Final selection and deliberation days – w/c 27th June – 15th July 2022

    Intended public announcement of successful applications: Friday 15th July 2022

    Phase 1 – Start date, concept development starts w/c 1st August 2022

    Concept Development Presentation – w/c 29th August 2022

    Phase 2 

    Phase 2 – Judging period – 5th September 2022 – 16th September 2022

    Intended public announcement of Phase 2 finalists: Friday 16th September 2022

    Phase 2 – Demonstrator Development – w/c 3rd October 2022 – February 2023

    Final showcase and programme close – w/c 1st February 2023


Application Process

  • What is the application process?

    What is the application process?

    The application process is straightforward, and consists of a submitted application, followed by a judging period and result announcement:

    1. Register your interest in applying and select one of the three challenges
    2. Interested parties will receive an email with a link to the full application form
    3. Applicants must complete the submittable form by the 19th June 23:59
    4. Application forms reviewed and shortlisted organisations will be contacted
    5. Participants selected and contracts signed
  • Who can apply?

    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

    The team has to have one or more team members with expertise in immersive digital technologies, specifically augmented reality.

    Applicant must have two or more team members

  • What information will be required by the application form?
    • Company information  (company name, full name, email address, founder details and category)
    • Idea (for example, strength, originality, relevance, scalability)
    • Team background (team experience and skill set)
    • Challenge application and delivery proposed (for example, relevance, suitability of proposed technical delivery)
    • Programme participation – ability to commit to attending our workshops and events
  • 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 (Niantic, Cartoon Network and Studio Wayne McGregor), where information is shared outside of Digital Catapult this will be made clear in the application form/programme agreements. 

  • Do I need to select a challenge on application or is there a generic open call?

    This is a challenge focused programme, all applicants must select one of the challenges to develop a prototype for. 

  • Can I apply to more than one challenge?

    We strongly recommend that interested parties only apply to one of the three challenges. If you wish to present a concept for more than one challenge you can do so by completing one application form per challenge. Please keep in mind that ultimately you will only be selected to develop one of these challenge concepts. 

  • Can I save my progress on the application from as I go?

    Interested participants must first complete the registration of interest form on the FutureScope website, upon completion you will receive a link to the full Submittable form.

    The Submittable application form can be saved to allow you to comea back to your answer, it does not need to be submitted all in one go. Applicants must submit the application forms in full to be considered for the programmes, Digital Catapult is not able to review draft forms. Once the form has been submitted you are not able to revise or edit your application. 

  • What are the selection criteria?

    Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator applications will be selected based on the following criteria:

    Proposed idea and relevance to the chosen challenge:

    The proposal shows a good understanding and a clearly identified solution with relevance to the industry partner’s sector and the challenge objectives.

    The idea is realistic and uses suitable immersive technology.

    Technical and sector assessment:

    The technical delivery of the proposal is feasible with a viable solution, within the timeframe and budget. The idea’s combination of cost, quality and sustainability is well balanced.

    Novelty, Innovation and Thoughtfulness: 

    The idea is unique and novel in a way that meets the challenge requirements. The concept is innovative and original. 

    Growth potential:

    The idea is scalable and has the potential to succeed in its full range of capabilities at a growing scale. 

    Team quality and expertise:

    The team is equipped to deliver the proposed concept and has appropriate technology and business skills, demonstrating a good team structure and diversity.

  • What is the application deadline?

    Applicants will need to complete the application form by 23:59 pm on 19th of June 2022 to be considered for the programme. 

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

    Yes, you have to be registered with Companies House. We will consider bidders that hold any legal form of business (e.g. ltd company, sole trader, consortium).

    Collaborations may include international contributors, but to complete the Programme (i) the team must have an establishment in the UK, and (ii) the majority of work should be carried out in the UK and teams need to be able to commit to attending the required activities listed in the terms & conditions. 

  • Will I receive feedback on my application?

    Unfortunately, because of the high volume of applications, we can’t provide feedback on applications. We will notify everyone that applies of the outcome of their application via email. 

  • If my application is not successful – can I reapply for a programme in the future?

    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.


  • Does Digital Catapult invest in participating startups

    Digital Catapult is not an investment firm or venture capitalist. We do not provide any private investment. 

  • Does the programme offer funding?

    Those selected to take part in the concept development phase 1 will receive £2000+VAT to support the concept and pitch development. 

    Phase 2: 

    ​​Retail & the Future of the High Street Challenge

    Demonstrator development phase funding – £50,000 if successful at the end of the Concept development phase.

    ​​Studio Wayne McGregor Challenge

    Demonstrator development phase funding – £90,000 if successful at the end of the Concept development phase.

    Cartoon Network Challenge

    Demonstrator development phase funding – £100,000 if successful at the end of the Concept development phase.

  • Is there a fee for the successful applicants to be involved?

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


  • What is the contracting process and terms & conditions for programme participants?

    Successful applicants will be issued a supply agreement called ‘Open Call Purchase Agreement’ and terms and conditions for participating in the programme. 

    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’.

    The intended contracting period to participate in the programme will take place after the intended announcement of the successful applicants on the 15th of July 2022, until the start of the Phase 1 concept development on the w/c 1st August 2022. 

  • Will there be a standard non disclosure agreement (NDA) to cover discussions with industry partners & what contracts will I need to sign?

    Where relevant and due to the sensitive nature of the data and work with, for example, with the industry partners it is likely that an NDA may be required to work directly with them on developing the concepts. 

  • Will participants own the intellectual property of the solutions?

    Please see the supply agreement titled ‘Open Call Purchase Agreement’ in the Competition Terms for all supply terms, including delivery of the Demonstrator and terms relating to intellectual property. This includes assignment terms with the Sponsors of the Programme requiring their ownership of newly created intellectual property by Participant to be transferred to Sponsor in exchange for payment. Sponsor, Digital Catapult and Niantic will also obtain marketing rights to showcase the Demonstrator and supporting materials from the Programme.

    Demonstrator – the Sponsor, Niantic, and Digital Catapult (each a “Customer”) will also be granted a marketing right by Participant (and Phase 2 paid Applicants) enabling Customer to include images, videos and stills of the Participants’ (and Phase 2 paid Applicants’) pitches, demonstrations and other output from this Project (and competition), as well as the Participant’s name and marks, in Customer’s marketing materials and promotions relating to this project. In addition, the Participant selected to create a demonstrator will be required to submit their final build to Customer, which Customer may use to create marketing and promotional materials., on an “unsupported” basis, and subject to reasonable terms depending on the nature of the demonstrator.

  • Will Digital Catapult take any equity in the onboarded startups?

    No. The Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator is equity-free and there are no fees associated with participation.

Programme Participation

  • Is the programme expected to be in-person, or remote and how does it respond to COVID-19?

    Digital Catapult is aware of the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and knows that startups and scaleups need our support now more than ever. The health and safety of individuals is a priority to Digital Catapult, therefore where possible the majority of our activities are planned to be delivered remotely/online.

    Across various programmes we do expect to organise a small number of in-person events at Digital Catapult’s London offices, such activities may include programme kick-off, industry roundtables and showcase events. Participants will be informed with plenty of notice and will be subject to updated COVID-19 -related guidance on restrictions and best practices.

  • Is the whole team/company expected to attend programme activities?

    No, just the founders or other key representatives in relation to the topic of the workshop need to attend.

  • What are the programme obligations?
    • Assist Digital Catapult with the writing of a business case for the industry partners. 
    • Attend kick-off event hosted by Digital Catapult in w/c 1st August 2022 and final showcase w/c 1st February 2023.
    • Attend, present and demonstrate at the Demonstrator Showcase event – w/c 1st February 2023
    • Attend at least 70% of the workshops and/or webinars.
    • Attend all sessions with industry partners as agreed from August 2022 – February 2023.
    • Participant agrees to be named and logo listed on marketing collateral, this may include
    • website, print, the Demonstrator, and digital materials.
    • For a maximum period of five (5) years following the Programme End Date, participants shall use its reasonable endeavours to answer specific questions from Catapult relating to its growth and progress to assist Catapult to demonstrate the impact of its activities. 

    This shall include:

    Participation in an annual telephone conversation of one hour.

    Participation in a bi-annual (two yearly) survey sent out by Digital Catapult

  • What if I am involved in another external or Digital Catapult programme?

    Unless otherwise stated in programme specific requirements or terms and conditions, participating or having participated in accelerator or other startup support programmes does not preclude you from taking part in the Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Accelerator, so long as the timings do not cause a conflict of interest as outlined in the T&Cs.

    If you have been part of any previous Digital Catapult programme you are welcome to join. For other programmes, your participation will be dependent on the terms of the programme itself and what you have agreed to in the terms and conditions.

  • Will Digital Catapult provide me with a workspace?

    Digital Catapult does not offer workspace to the startups onboarded on the programme.

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FutureScope is delivered by Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology.