About the programme

  • Is the programme expected to be in-person, or remote?

    FutureScope BridgeAI activities are planned to be delivered remotely/online. We expect to organise a small number of in-person events, such activities may include programme kick-off, 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.

  • What is BridgeAI?

    BridgeAI is an Innovate UK national programme seeking to stimulate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies in targeted sectors of the UK economy that have the highest growth potential for AI use cases – Agriculture, Creative, Transport, and Construction. 

    The programme is jointly delivered by Digital Catapult, Innovate UK KTN, The Alan Turing Institute, and Hartree Centre. More information can be found here.

  • How does the FutureScope BridgeAI Acceleration Programme fit into the broader BridgeAI programme framework?

    The FutureScope BridgeAI Acceleration Programme is a 12-week accelerator delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by Innovate UK, as part of the activities in the BridgeAI programme.

    It is targeted at UK-registered startups and SMEs to help them develop responsible, ethical, and desirable AI and ML deep-tech solutions in the Creative, Agriculture, Transport, and Construction sectors.

  • What are the benefits of BridgeAI Accelerator Programme?

    Digital Catapult is unique in its ability to connect high-potential companies 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.

    Participants will be able to accelerate the readiness of their AI/ML solutions thanks to the computational power, specialised hardware, deep learning servers, support from Digital Catapult experts, Industry Partners, and access to the wider BridgeAI network.

    Across the programme, a range of sessions and events are provided to support participants, such as:

    • Computational power access
      • Subject to availability and third-party terms, get access to computational power provided by the Programme Industry Partners: up to $100k for one year or up to $25k for two years in AWS credits; up to $2,000 for two years (Start Tier) or up to $100,000 for two years (Scale Tier) in Google Cloud credits; up to $200,000 in Graphcore IPU cloud credits; up to $5,000 credits MongoDB credits; up to $1000 Miro Credits.
    • Ethical AI support
      • Enhance your skills in ethical and responsible AI, data and operational practices and acquire insights on fostering a culture of ethical best practices within your organisation and product, through comprehensive frameworks and interactive workshops.
    • Technical support
      • Engage in 1:1 interactions with the Digital Catapult technologists and the Programme Industry Partners to assess, iterate and accelerate the technical development of your product or service, leading to an enhanced market positioning.
    • Workshops and masterclasses
      • Take part in sessions covering a diverse range of topics, including end-to-end digitalisation journey, data readiness and maturity, regulatory data compliance, product development and investment readiness.
    • Peer-to-peer learning
      • Be part of a cohort of AI innovators, sharing insights and learnings through group sessions and networking events.
    • BridgeAI community
      • After the completion of the programme, get the opportunity to connect with a dynamic and growing ecosystem of AI developers and adopters that will enable knowledge exchange and potential future business opportunities.
  • What are the key dates for this programme?
    • Open Call opens – 12 July 2023
    • Open Call closes – 9 August 2023 at 23:59
    • Q&A Sessions – 14, 21, 28 July, 3 August 2023
    • Notification of shortlisted projects and Invitation to interview – 17 August 2023*
    • Interviews – 23 August – 31 August 2023*
    • Notification of successful projects – 31 August 2023
    • Due Diligence – 4 September – 22 September 2023*
    • Programme Start Date – 25 September 2023
    • Programme End Date – 15 December 2023
    • Kick Off Programme Event – 25 – 29 September 2023*
    • Final Programme Event – January 2024
    • BridgeAI Showcase – Spring 2024

    *Dates and activities can be subject to change. Digital Catapult will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible to applicants/participants should any changes arise.

  • Do I have to attend all of the activities offered in the accelerator programme?

    In general, attending all activities on FutureScope can be beneficial as it provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors, connect with other entrepreneurs, and develop your business skills. However, it is important to prioritise your time and focus on activities that are most relevant to your business goals.

    If there are certain activities that you feel are not relevant to your business or that you already have a strong understanding of, you may choose to skip them to allocate your time and resources more effectively. However, it is important to consider the potential benefits of all activities before deciding to skip them.

Application process

  • How are data related to my product or service treated?
  • Who will my application data be shared with?

    We only use your application information for the purposes of the programme. If information is shared outside Digital Catapult (for example, with programme partners) this will be made clear in the application form and/or programme agreement.

  • Will I be able to save my application form?

    Yes, you will be able to save it during the application process, so that you can complete it in more than one session if you need to.

  • What are the selection criteria used for applications?

    Applications will be assessed and scored equally against five criteria. All applications must have an AI/ML use case to take part in the programme but we encourage applications that wish to integrate any other advanced digital technology.

    • Business plan
      • The applicant has a well-defined and viable AI or ML-focused product or service with a clear business plan.
    • Computation need
      • The applicant has the necessary data at hand ready to be used and an implementation plan that requires immediate access to computation power.
    • Ethical best practice
      • The solution shows a responsible use and understanding of the impact of AI/ML technologies and the company demonstrates a strong commitment to ethical AI practices.
    • Team experience
      • The team is equipped with the appropriate technical expertise and business skills.
    • Growth potential
      • The idea is scalable and has the potential to succeed in its full range of capabilities at a growing scale.
  • What information is asked for in the application form?

    The application form will seek more details about your:

    • Company information and lead applicant
    • Business plan 
    • Computation need
    • Ethical best practice
    • Team experience
    • Growth potential
  • Who will own the intellectual property of the solutions and/or services?

    The participants will have full ownership of their intellectual property created. For full details, please refer to the programme terms and conditions.

  • Are match contributions welcomed?

    Match funding is not required for this call but we do welcome cash or in kind match contributions. Please let us know in your proposal and budget if you already have confirmed income or are expecting it. We also know that you will bring your own time, money, resources and networks to the work – this is of huge value and we will work with you to capture and recognise this as a match

  • Can I speak to someone from the FutureScope BridgeAI team about my applications before submitting it?

    Yes. We are holding a Q&A session every Friday morning during the application window. Please select a 15-minute slot here to speak to one of the FutureScope team about your application. They are intended to be informal, open, and accessible to anyone who wishes to participate in the programme, regardless of their background or experience level. They will not have an impact on the judging of your application.

  • How are applications selected?

    Applicants are reviewed by the Digital Catapult team and several external judges and are assessed only on the information provided in the application. Following the first screening, successful candidates will be invited to an interview. For further information, please see the application process.

  • Will I receive feedback on my application?

    Because of the number of applications we receive, we can’t provide feedback on applications that do not progress to the interview stage.

  • If my application is not successful can I reapply for a later programme?

    Yes, you are welcome to apply for any other FutureScope programmes.

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

    Unless the FutureScope or external programme brief or agreement states otherwise, you can still take part in FutureScope programmes, as long as the timings do not cause a conflict of interest and you are eligible to participate.

    If you have been part of any previous Digital Catapult programme you are also welcome to join.

Applicant company requirements

  • What are the minimum requirements for the programme?

    As well as meeting the selection criteria for this programme, you will need to be able to show that:

    • Applicants must have the necessary skills in artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML) to develop the proposed project.
    • Applicants must be eligible to receive £15,000 in State Assistance (see T&C for further details).
    • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
    • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they are a company that has an establishment in the UK, and undertake all activity in the UK.
    • Applicants must develop solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.
  • Can university teams apply?

    Applications from university teams are welcomed if they meet the eligibility criteria and are willing to incorporate as a company if accepted on the programme.

  • What products or services can apply under Creative Industries?

    Within the creative sector, Digital Catapult will consider solutions that applies to the following application areas:

    • Architecture
    • Design: exhibition, graphic, product
    • Fashion
    • Film, TV, video, radio and photography
    • Games
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Museums, galleries and libraries
    • Music, performing and visual arts

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