1 Programme Description 

1.1 The Programme  

This Programme is a commercial programme fully funded by industry. 

This Decommissioning Data Challenge is designed to find a company to work with The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (RAICo) to develop a high-quality proof-of-concept digital twin that can utilise, process, and merge complex data to make nuclear decommissioning faster, cheaper, and safer, answering the challenge of: 

“What digital tools can be used to create a digital twin from pre-existing and robot-collected data that enables a structured approach for strategic decision making and analytics in order to make nuclear decommissioning faster/safer/cheaper?” 

The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (RAICo) is a collaboration between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and University of Manchester. It is an end user-led collaboration that brings together teams from fission decommissioning and fusion engineering. The programme is focussed on developing robotics and artificial intelligence technologies that are required for the deployment of remotely operated solutions for decommissioning and future fusion powerplants. 

The selected start-up will have 13 weeks to develop a proof-of-concept that can help RAICo automate their data collection and analysis, improve the way they share and visualise data, and allow them to make better use of data to help support the planning and forecasting of work. The selected company will also be expected to showcase their concept on site at the RAICo robotics lab in West Cumbria, in addition to submitting a report on the proof-of-concepts, its benefits and further opportunities/possibilities. 

Expected Outcomes 

  • PoC demonstration to potential end-users that uses real-world scenarios and data, complies with regulations/requirements for implementation, and fits with wider RAICo work. 
  • Clear demonstration of the PoC’s cost/benefits, value-for-money, and impact on processes. 
  • A written report on the technology of the PoC, the benefits it can bring, and further development possibilities.

“The Competition”

The term “Competition” is defined as the process to find and contract one company to award the contract for work to. This will involve the judging of an initial application form and a follow-on pitching day, where applicants will present their idea(s) in more detail.

1.2 The 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 on 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 Future Networks.  

1.3 The Programme Judges 

During the application stage, the judges will be responsible for scoring the applications according to the criteria set out in these Commercial Competition Terms. The judges have/will be chosen based on their experience and expertise from key stakeholders in the Programme. 

Internal Judges 

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

Industry Challenge Judges 

A number of judges from the RAICo Collaboration will help judge the applications. 

1.4 The Programme Partners 

Programme Industry Members 

RAICo is the industry member for the Programme. 

1.5 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. due diligence checks and signing the Open Call Procurement Agreement). 

1.6 Contracting – IMPORTANT 

The successful Applicant will enter a contract with the UKAEA, who are leading the procurement activities for RAICo, to join the Programme (“Open Call Procurement Agreement”). The Open Call Procurement Agreement is published alongside these Terms and Conditions. Please note that the Open Call Procurement Agreement is a separate contract to these Competition Terms and Conditions and these Terms and Conditions accordingly will not form part of the Open Call Procurement Agreement, unless otherwise specified. The Open Call Procurement Agreement will be a contract between you and the UKAEA (Digital Catapult will not be a party to this agreement).   

The Open Call Procurement Agreement is a NEC4 Professional Services Contract (titled ‘NEC4 PSC for RAICo) and is not negotiable. A copy of this can be made available on request. 

In order to be accepted onto the Programme, the successful Applicant must sign the Open Call Procurement Agreement. You will also be required to complete a Background IP Declaration form, as well as a Contract Data form. These will be provided by UKAEA only at point of contracting and will be completed before work commences.

Applicants will need to familiarise themselves with the Terms of the Open Call Procurement Agreement prior to submitting their Application, and in particular, clauses relating to use of intellectual property and any delivery schedules.  

2 Programme Benefits  

The Participant on the Programme will receive the following benefits: 

Access to a RAICo site and learning opportunities about RAICo

  • RAICo will provide the Participant opportunities to access and learn more about: 
    • RACE- Remote Applications in Challenging Environments – a specific lab facility within UK AEA – https://race.ukaea.uk/about-race/ 
    • IVTF (JET’s In-vessel Training Facility) and existing digital tools created for decommissioning training. 

Technical guidance and support 

  • The Participant will have access to technical guidance and support from RAICo on data-capture and usage. 

Up to £40,000 funding  

  • The successful applicant is expected to receive up to £40k funding, released according to milestones agreed between the applicant and RAICo.

Access into the nuclear sector  

  • Working on this project with RAICo will enable the Participant to gain insights into opportunities within the nuclear sector, grow their visibility and expand their portfolio within the nuclear sector including fission and fusion. 

Support to plan next steps after PoC

  • The successful Applicant will be given support to further development, testing plans, and deployment road-mapping. 

Opportunity to build a relationship with RAICo. 

3 Programme Obligations

  • Attend the onboarding kick-off event during the week commencing 11th December 2023 (location to be agreed during the contracting phase).
  • Attend initial workshop to clarify the scope of development work, ways of working, timelines, etc, as well as submission of a schedule of work to be undertaken (location to be agreed during the contracting phase).
  • Attend weekly progress meetings (via remote video software) with the RAICo team and provide updates/demonstrations of progress.
  • Build a demonstrator addressing the challenge and present at the final demo day at the end of the development phase (March 2024, exact date to be confirmed).
  • Show how the concept complies with regulations/requirements for implementation, and fits with wider RAICo work
  • Provide feedback on PoC development with the RAICo Collaboration.
  • Submit a final report on the developed PoC, clearly communicating the PoC’s cost-benefits, value-for-money, and improvement to processes in March 2024 (date to be confirmed after the Programme has commenced).
  • Provide transparent access to development progress, data use, work still remaining, and any similar information to help the RAICo Collaboration prepare for providing necessary support during the weekly meetings.
  • Enter into an Open Call Procurement Agreement with UKAEA (please see section 1.6).

Please see this document, which refers to The Scope of the Programme. 

4 Applicants

4.1 Minimum Requirements   

  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account. 
  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the activity in the UK.   
  • Applicants must have demonstrable skills and expertise required to develop solutions to meet the challenge. 
  • Applicants must have a documented quality control process.
  • Applicants must be available for an on-site demonstration of the PoC with Digital Catapult and the RAICo Collaboration at the end of the development phase in March 2024 (date to be confirmed). 
  • Although there is no minimum size of team, PoC project ideas will be evaluated for feasibility against the size & experience of the team.  

5 Key Dates  

  • Open Call – Applications Open – 15 August 2023 
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – 24 September 2023 
  • Invitations to pitch day sent – by 13th October 
  • Pitch day – 25th October 
  • Final selection – by 3rd November  
  • Contracting – by 1st Dec 
  • Onboarding – w/c 11th Dec 
  • PoC phase starts – January 2024 (exact date after the commencement of the Programme) 
  • Demo Day – March 2024 (exact date after the commencement of the Programme) 
  • End Date: Project will end 31st March 

6 Application 

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? 

Digital Catapult Representatives 

Relevant Digital 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. 

Industry Challenge Judges 

Relevant RAICo Collaboration personnel and their representatives will see the complete application, except for personal information fields in order to assess the application, and otherwise in the administration of your application. 

6.3 Key contact information  

The Applicant will appoint a main contact for the Programme (“Key Contact”). This person will be Digital Catapult’s (as Data Controller) main point of contact for the Competition.

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 Competition and to notify successful and unsuccessful Applicants over their submissions. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by RAICo for the purpose of assessing the Applications and providing benefits to the Participant on the Programme, as set out in these T&Cs. 

6.4 Submitting your application  

You must submit your application via the Submittable Platform Application 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 [email protected] with the subject FutureScope Decommissioning Data Challenge Application Submission”. 

7 Selection 

7.1 Qualification 

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

7.2 Selection process 

All qualifying applications will be reviewed and scored by the Judges in two stages. 

7.3 Scoring 

Stage 1 – Application Review 

The scoring criteria will be assessed by the Judges based on statements in the areas below. Each criterion will be scored on a range from 1 to 5. 1 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.  

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:  

1. Strength of idea: Project Vision & Relevance  

  • The Applicant’s idea is realistic, well-developed and demonstrates a strong vision and application to the challenge with consideration of the requirements and context.
  • The idea is innovative and original in a way that meets the challenge requirements. 

2. Technical Project Summary 

  • The Applicant’s technical approach is valid and meets the technical expectations of this challenge.
  • The Applicant demonstrates how its idea is scalable and has the potential to succeed in its full range of capabilities at a growing scale.

3. Project Plan and Methodology 

  • The Application is evidenced in a well thought out and feasible development roadmap.
  • The Applicant clearly describes their milestones and an appropriate payment schedule.

4. Finances 

  • The Applicant shows a clear overview and explanation of the expected costs of the work to be undertaken, giving confidence that the project will be delivered within budget. 

5. Team and Expertise 

  • The team shows the relevant capabilities and technical experience needed to develop and deliver the proposed PoC.

The 5 criteria above will be judged using the following weighting:  

  • Criteria 1 – 25 % 
  • Criteria 2 – 25 % 
  • Criteria 3 – 20 % 
  • Criteria 4 – 10 % 
  • Criteria 5 – 20 % 


Stage 2 – Pitch Day 

Successfully short-listed Applicants will be invited to pitch their application, at UKAEA’s Site in Cumbria, with an outline of how the Applicant would create the PoC to the Judges.  

The Judges will then pick 1 (one) Applicant for award of contract. It is intended that all Applicants invited to the Pitch Day will be given a tour of a RAICo site and will benefit from a better understanding of future opportunities in this space.  

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’. 

8 Competition Terms – Specific

8.1 State Assistance 

Not applicable

8.2 Applicants 

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

8.3 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 be for greater than two working days. 

8.4 Applications 

All information and documents requested must be submitted. Failure to submit all requested information and documents may result in the application being rejected.  Digital 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 could impact its reputation. 

8.5 Previous Applications 

Not used.  

8.6 Key Contact Information 

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 Digital Catapult to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person) as set out in these Competition Terms and Digital Catapult’s privacy policy (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/legal/privacy-policy/). 

8.7 Open Call Procurement Agreement  

UKAEA reserves the right to make amendments to the Open Call Procurement Agreement it issues up until the point of execution by both parties. 

8.8 Participant Programmes 

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

9 Competition Terms – General 

9.1 Data Collection, Storage & Use  

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 aid 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 for internally assessing the Programme and state of the art.

If admitted onto the Programme, we will use your Application in accordance with other information submitted on the Programme. 

The scoring of your Application will also be treated as confidential information.

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

9.3 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 Digital Catapult and its Partners to use the Application as we have set out. 

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

9.4 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 Jurisdiction 

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

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