Photonics NI

  • How will matters of commercial sensitivity be managed by the programme team?
    • All the information you share with the Innovation Team will be confidential
    • Only share what you feel comfortable with on Graduation Day
    • Participants will be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements
  • What will be the outputs of this programme for my business?

    Participants will develop skills in smart technologies, and will have the insight on how to use these technologies to solve the challenges or address the opportunities identified within their business. Digital Catapult will support the applicants on creating a roadmap to put this plan into action.

    Applicants will become Alumni of Digital Catapult and will be signposted to other relevant programmes and sources of useful information.

    You will also have the chance to be involved in communications and publicity around the programme, resulting in increased exposure for your business.

  • What resources are made available to participants during the programme?
    • Demonstrations and detailed overviews of photonic technologies for industry and specific use cases
    • Use of the Immersive Lab at Ormeau Baths
    • Collaborative work space at Ormeau Baths for workshops
    • Off-site visits may be scheduled to partner’s facilities, such as Queen’s University Belfast, demonstrating photonics-based prototyping and manufacturing equipment
    • 1-2-1 time with dedicated technologists, covering photonics, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Is travel and subsistence covered for subsistence?

    No, unfortunately the terms of our funding dictate that we are unable to support travel and subsistence for participants.

  • Do you provide funding for participants?

    The programme does not provide funding for participants, however you will receive in-kind support to the value of £8,000.

  • How is the programme funded?

    The programme has been made possible by the Smart Nano NI consortium, which has been awarded £42.4m UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund. The total project value including leveraged funding from other sources is £63.9m.

  • How is my information treated?

    The application information will be used by Digital Catapult in compliance with GDPR regulations. It will only be used for the purposes of the programme and its evaluation, and will be securely retained by Digital Catapult only for the duration of the programme.

  • Will Digital Catapult take equity in the participating companies?

    No, Digital Catapult does not take equity in participating companies.

  • How will successful participants be selected?

    The judges will score responses to questions on our online application platform Submittable, and each question is weighted equally with a maximum score of 30 points.

    During the application process we reserve the right to conduct enhanced financial or legal due diligence to ensure applicants will be able to meet all commitments.

  • What if I am currently involved in another accelerator programme or have been involved in a previous Digital Catapult programme?

    Participation in accelerator or other start-up support programmes does not preclude you from taking part in the FutureScope Photonics Experiment: Learn.

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

    For other programmes your participation will be dependent on the terms of the programme itself, the capacity of your team and what you have agreed to in the terms and conditions. De minimis funding will also need to be considered when applying to join the programme.

  • Does my company need to be UK or NI registered to apply?

    Yes. Your company must be registered on Companies House as a UK or NI business.

  • How do I apply to join the programme?

    Begin your application by completing the form on the FutureScope website

  • Will any of the workshops be available to watch online if I am not available to attend some of them in person?

    No, webinars and masterclasses will not be available online for this programme. Digital Catapult is exploring the potential of offering a hybrid programme in the future.

  • Where will the programme be based?

    Ormeau Baths, 18 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.

    Off-site visits may also occur, such as at Queen’s University Belfast.

  • Who are the judges and when will I hear back on the result of my application?

    Applications will be judged by a team of experts from Digital Catapult. Successful applicants will be informed on the result of their applications by 31 March 2023.

  • What happens if my application is successful?

    If your application is successful, you will be notified by email by 31 March. An onboarding pack will also be sent to you.

  • What is the deadline for applications to be submitted?

    23.59 on Sunday 19 March 2023.

  • What are the key dates for the programme?

    Applications Open: 13 February 2023
    Applications Close: 26 March 2023

    If successful, you and a colleague will be required to attend sessions on a Wednesday afternoon for eight consecutive weeks, plus a graduation ceremony.

    Week 1 – 5 April 2023
    Week 2 – 12 April 2023
    Week 3 – 19 April 2023
    Week 4 – 26 April 2023
    Week 5 – 3 May 2023
    Week 6 – 10 May 2023
    Week 7 – 17 May 2023
    Week 8 – 24 May 2023
    Week 9 – 14 June 2022

  • What are the benefits of this programme?
    • Training in photonics, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, their industrial application, use cases and market potential
    • Additional six hours with global experts in photonics, IoT and data science
    • Training in innovation methodologies and tools as well as business challenge and opportunity mapping
    • Increase awareness and adoption of photonic technologies, particularly with regards to augmenting and digitising the quality control processes – (including automation, accuracy, traceability) – and enable greater productivity
    • Add efficiencies, reduce waste and increase sustainability in business operations
    • Work through a design process to create a proposal for an actionable prototype photonics solution for an internal business challenge or opportunity
    • Networking and learning opportunities from peers in the same and similar fields
  • What are the eligibility criteria for the programme?
    • Applicants must be working in Northern Ireland
    • Companies must be industry facing, and have a current quality control process
    • Applicants must be eligible to receive £8,000 in-kind of State Assistance
    • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they are a company that has an establishment in the UK
    • Applicants must have the need or desire to develop solutions enabled by photonics technology
  • Who can apply to the programme?

    Northern Ireland companies working in manufacturing, construction, agritech, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

    FutureScope Photonics Experiment: Learn is suitable for people in the following types of job roles (*please note that the programme requires at a minimum the attendance of two people per company at each session):

    • Management team
    • Innovation team/department
    • Change Managers
    • Quality Assurance Managers
    • Quality, Manufacturing, Process and/or Operations Engineers
    • IT / Integration
    • Quality Technicians
  • What is Smart Nano NI?

    Smart Nano NI is a Northern Ireland consortium which aims to develop game-changing advanced prototyping and smart manufacturing methods to deliver new technologies. The consortium shares a niche capability around nanomanufacturing and world-leading knowledge in photonics.

    The consortium has been awarded £42.4m by UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund. The total project value including leveraged funding from other sources is £63.9m. Our collaboration is aimed at driving self-sustaining local industry and economic growth through research and innovation.

  • Who will be running the FutureScope Photonics NI Programme?

    Digital Catapult is delivering the programme as part of the Smart Nano NI consortium. Digital Catapult will run the accelerator alongside our technologists in photonics and nanotechnology, the industrial internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

  • What are the features of this programme?

    It is an accessible and practical nine-week educational workshop series for up to ten Northern Ireland companies working in either manufacturing, construction, agritech or medical devices and pharmaceuticals, covering how to use photonics technologies and data within quality control processes in industry. Participants will use their new knowledge to design actionable solutions for their own identified business challenges or opportunities.

  • What is the FutureScope Photonics NI programme?

    The FutureScope Photonics NI programme from Digital Catapult will increase the level of knowledge and skills in photonics technologies within industry in Northern Ireland, enabling businesses to take advantage of the substantial market opportunities offered by photonics – particularly in quality control processes.

  • What is Photonics?

    Photonics is the science and technology of light and underpins much of modern technology, such as smartphones, medical instruments and the internet. In terms of industrial applications, it provides, for example, powerful techniques to monitor products, processes, environments and equipment, as well as offering efficient means for processing materials and enabling optimised lighting solutions.

FutureScope Application Process

About FutureScope

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