The Programme

Delivered by Digital Catapult, as part of the FutureScope cross-technology acceleration programme, this branch of the Experiment Track allows companies to learn about the art of the possible in Smart Manufacturing Technologies , this programme aims to provide you with the opportunity to discover and push the limits of your technology capabilities, by applying what you learn here to challenges and opportunities identified in your organisation.

This call relates to a programme, “Digital Catapult Smart Nano Acceleration Programme : Smart Manufacturing” (“Programme”), which addresses the challenge of upskilling SMEs and their staff in Smart Manufacturing Technologies and Innovation Practice. The Programme provides tools, techniques, resources and support in various aspects of Smart Manufacturing Technologies via workshops and webinars with 1-2-1 access to innovation teams and technologists across multiple fields such as IoT, 5G, XR.

The Programme is a series of 3 accessible, cross-sector workshops, optional additional talks and resources, and a finale event which will help participants from up to 10 manufacturing businesses gain the necessary skills and knowledge to implement the technologies, tools and techniques of Industry 4.0 in their workplace.

By running a series of bespoke workshops, events, introductory seminars, tailored literature and sessions with technical experts in the field, the Programme aims to help companies understand how to create robust business cases and plans to implement Smart Manufacturing Technologies that align with their own needs and circumstances.

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 technologies, 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 have/will be chosen based on their experience and expertise. The Programme Judges are as follows:

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

The Programme Partners

The following organisations are partnering with Digital Catapult to deliver the Programme:

Seagate Technology, Queen’s University Belfast, Causeway Sensors, Cirdan Imaging, Yelo, Ulster University, Analytics Engines, North Western Regional College and GEMX – part of the InvestNI Collaborative Growth Network Programme – make up the (“Programme Collaboration Partners”).

During the Programme, the Programme Collaboration Partners may elect to support the Programme through organising events, delivery of relevant learning material, lessons, talks or workshops and hosting office hours.

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 Participation Agreement).

I have stated that they won’t be involved in judging but they will have an opportunity to see applications anonymously and then the pool of successful applicants


Participants on the Programme will receive the following benefits:

  • Regular interactions with the Digital Catapult team, industry and domain experts, to assess, iterate and accelerate their business processes, and expand their network of peers.
  • Diagnostic sessions with their leadership team to determine current technological, manufacturing, commercial and strategic needs.
  • Workshops to develop and improve the understanding of innovation practice and smart technologies in manufacturing.
  • Peer support from other participants on the Programme, sharing learnings and insights gained from the Programme as well as previous expertise.
  • A showcase Graduation Event during which Participants will present to an invited audience of manufacturing stakeholders, partners and industry representatives.
  • Access up to 36 hours of support across Industrial Photonics, Internet of Things, 5G, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Systems, and Innovation Practice.
  • 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 (please note these dates are subject to change):

  • Make every reasonable attempt to have representatives attend a minimum of the following engagements
    • Onboarding call – Wednesday 4th October 2023 – Remote (Zoom)
    • Workshop Session 1 – Wednesday 18th October 2023, 10am to 4pm – In person at North Western Regional College (“NWRC”)
    • Workshop Session 2 – Wednesday 1st November 2023, 10am to 4pm – In person at NWRC
    • Workshop Session 3 – Wednesday 15th November 2023, 10am to 4pm – In person at NWRC
    • Graduation Session – Wednesday 29th November 2023, 10am to 2pm (including lunch) – In person at NWRC
  • In person events are hosted primarily in the Industry 4.0 centre at North Western Regional College ,Springtown Industrial Estate, Springtown Rd, Londonderry BT48 0LY, United Kingdom, but optional off site visits may also be organised by agreement.
  • Workshop sessions are expected to cover 10am – 4pm with lunch, snacks and refreshments provided.
  • Deliver a presentation at the Graduation Event and report a roadmap and justification to implement a smart technology within their organisation.
  • Participant agrees to be visibly (name, logo and photograph) 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 brief, twice yearly survey issued by Digital Catapult
  • Participants agree for photographs to be taken and media to be shared throughout the programme.


4.1 Minimum Requirements  

  • Applicants must be working in or adjacent to the UK Manufacturing Sector.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £1500 (equivalent to €1,740) in State Assistance (see section 8.2 below for further details).
  • 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 have the need or desire to develop solutions enabled, supported or augmented by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack: Industrial Photonics, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Technologies, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.
    Applicants must be working in or adjacent to the UK Manufacturing Sector.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £1500 (equivalent to €1,740) in State Assistance (see section 8.2 below for further details).
  • 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 have the need or desire to develop solutions enabled, supported or augmented by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack: Industrial Photonics, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Technologies, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.

4.2 What we’re looking for

An established SME within the Manufacturing Ecosystem that can clearly identify a need for upskilling in Smart Manufacturing Technologies, and/or how said technologies can contribute to solving a challenge or challenges that they are willing to identify within their organisation.


  • Open Call – Applications Open –30 August 2023
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – 8th October 2023
  • Judging complete – W/C 9th October 2023
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – W/C 9th October 2023
  • Intended public announcement of successful and confirmed Participants: W/C 9th October 2023
  • Programme (Please note these dates are subject to change):
    • Start Date: 18 October 2023
    • End Date: 29 November 2023


6.1 What information should my application contain?

 Applicants must answer all required questions in the full online application form which is hosted on Typeform see section 6.4

6.2 Who will see my application?

The following people will see your 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.

Programme Collaboration Partners: will see your full application except for your company name and personal information fields.in order to provide bespoke support during the Programme including 1:1 office hours, mentorship, workshops and/or webinars. Note that Programme Collaboration Partners will not see your personal information fields when judging applications.

The Programme Judges will see your full application, except for your company name and 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 Typeform (“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 ”Smart Manufacturing Workshops Application Submission”.

6.5 Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In addition to your application, you will be encouraged to complete Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey (‘Survey’). The completion of this Survey by all applicants is encouraged at application. Completion of the survey by successful applicants is mandatory for participation. 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/legal/privacy-policy) or contact us at .
If you have specific queries on our use of your Survey data (including a request to delete your Survey data), please contact us at  .


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 and scored by the Programme Judges. The highest ranked Applicants will be accepted onto 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:

1. Relevance to the programme theme

The applicant should demonstrate that their company aims to tackle problems or challenges within a manufacturing or manufacturing adjacent environment.

2. Significance of problem identified

The applicant should describe in clear terms how those problems or challenges are impacting their company such as efficiencies, supply chain, output, skills etc.

3. Relevance to each technology area
The applicant should describe in clear terms their need for advanced digital technologies in manufacturing within their organisation and articulate how a better understanding of those technologies can help address the challenge(s) identified.

4. Willingness to participate, learn and benefit

The applicant should demonstrate their interest and commitment to attend, participate in, learn and derive benefit from the Programme

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 a maximum value of  £1500.00 (equivalent to €1,740.00) for Participants.

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/legal/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 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.

9.4 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.

Nothing in these Competition Terms shall limit or exclude any liability for fraud.

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.

Digital Catapult and the Applicant agree that they have not relied on any statement, representation, assurance or warranty (whether made innocently or negligently) that is not set out in these Competition Terms. Digital Catapult and the Applicant agree that they shall have no claim for innocent or negligent misrepresentation or negligent misstatement based on any statement in these Competition Terms.

9.6 Jurisdiction

These Competition Terms are governed by English law.

Any dispute arising out of or in connection with these Competition Terms, including any question regarding their existence, validity or termination, shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration under the London Court of International Arbitration Rules, which Rules are deemed to be incorporated by reference into this clause.

The number of arbitrators shall be one.

The seat, or legal place, of arbitration shall be London.

The language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be English.

The physical location of the arbitration shall be London, where Digital Catapult is defending proceedings, and either London or Belfast where the Participant is defending proceedings, as elected by the Participant.

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