Made Smarter accelerator: sustainability through innovation

Enabling UK manufacturers to fast forward their adoption of digital solutions: solve challenges from BAE, HS2 and Creagh Concrete and win up to £175,000.

Opportunity Details


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In phase one, 8 selected companies will receive £75,000 funding and the support to develop a challenge focused proof-of-concept addressing some of the most pressing sustainability challenges in manufacturing. In phase two, 4 of the companies will receive an additional £100,000 to further develop their prototypes.


Innovate UK

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In a world where sustainability is paramount, the UK government has set a clear target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This ambitious commitment underscores the need for transformative change across industries, especially in manufacturing.

The Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator is a national programme, designed to enable UK manufacturers to fast forward their adoption of digital solutions that deliver resource efficiency and energy efficiency (REEE).

Funded by the Made Smarter Innovation Challenge and Innovate UK, the programme is led and delivered by Digital Catapult, designed to accelerate sustainable manufacturing and leverage cutting-edge technologies to drive environmental impact.

By joining this programme, participants will get the opportunity to be at the forefront of driving digital innovation and helping to transform the UK manufacturing industry into a sustainable powerhouse.

  • The programme seeks applications from technology innovators from the UK ecosystem who will be interested in developing technology solutions to some of the UK’s core industrial challenges.

    The technology solutions that will be considered for the Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator are:

    • Future networks and advanced digital infrastructure (5G and the internet of things including; low powered wide area networks, NB-IoT, LIFI etc. including sensors, edge devices, wearables etc.)
    • Immersive technologies (Extended reality – virtual, augmented, mixed reality and haptics)
    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI & ML)
    • Distributed ledger technologies (blockchain)
    • Quantum technologies

    Applicants will need to illustrate technological expertise that can be applied to the industry challenges set in a way that has the potential to propel these challenges forward. The solutions proposed will need to sit within the above technology categories to be considered.

    These are the core technology areas that have been identified by Digital Catapult and the partners of the programme as technologies that offer the most impact and outputs to the manufacturing sector.

    To help companies understand if their initiative fits into what the programme is looking for, companies from Technology Readiness Level 4-5 (TRL 4-5) are specifically invited to apply.

  • Below is a list of all the challenges open for applications: click on the links to find out more about each challenge.

    BAE Systems

    Factory of the Future – Environment control system

    Creagh Concrete

    Data analytics for manufacturing process


    Data-driven decisions for the circular economy

    Creagh Concrete

    End to end life cycle tracking of custom concrete facades/products

  • Phase one – Prototype development

    From February 2024, tech innovators will have the opportunity to apply for the open call. Following judging and contracting, eight selected companies will receive £75,000 funding and the support to develop a challenge focused proof-of-concept addressing some of the most pressing sustainability challenges in manufacturing. Successful applicants will work directly with the industrial sponsors and Digital Catapult to develop prototypes and leading solutions. During this phase, the companies will gain access to business expertise, sustainability masterclasses and access to facilities. The companies will have the opportunity to pitch, demonstrate product development progress and share lessons learned at the Midpoint Development Review online event in the week commencing 14 October 2024.

    Phase two – Further prototype development within a pilot environment

    Up to four companies will be down-selected from the original teams and will receive additional £100,000 to further develop their prototypes within a pilot environment. During this phase, the cohort will gain access to investment readiness modules and networks, mentorship, workshop and support from key manufacturing and industry leaders. These solutions will be presented to an audience of ICOs, investors, partners and industry stakeholders currently scheduled for February 2025.

  • The program offers several benefits to potential participants, targeting those who are interested in advancing their ideas or projects. These benefits include:

    Grant funding

    Selected companies will be provided with £75,000 funding to develop challenge-focused solutions. Up to four companies will get access to additional £100,000 funding for continued development of their prototype within a pilot environment.

    Business expertise

    Support network of industry and technology experts to help develop impactful proof of concepts and build new technology prototypes.

    Group learning

    Group sessions with the other companies on the programme, sharing learnings and insights gained from the programme as well as previous expertise.

    Sustainability masterclass

    A focused session to help companies develop and build technology solutions for sustainability-focused manufacturers.

    Technical monitoring

    Engineering expertise to increase confidence in the product development and push the boundaries of the technology – this monitoring also includes inputs from Digital Catapult technologists.

    Get investment ready

    The programme will increase a company’s investment readiness level through tailored support.

  • Digital Catapult and Made Smarter will hold a briefing webinar on Tuesday 5 March, 11am-12:30pm: click here to register for a place.

    If you have any additional questions about the Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Programme, please email

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