Made Smarter Innovation: manufacturing sustainability accelerator

UK research organisations can apply for up to £2 million for delivery of an artificial intelligence focused manufacturing sustainability accelerator.

Opportunity Details


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Your project’s total costs must be between £1.95 million and £2 million. The award from Innovate UK to grant recipients for this competition will be at 100% on a no-subsidy basis.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £2 million in an innovation project. This will be to deliver the Made Smarter Innovation: manufacturing sustainability accelerator through the Made Smarter Innovation challenge.

The aim of this competition is to identify the delivery partner organisations.

Your proposal must evidence why your organisation or organisations are best placed to recruit Industrial Challenge Owners, technology sponsors and start-up or scale-up participants. You must explain how you will innovate to maximise impact with the resources and capabilities at your disposal.

Your project must:

  • have total costs between £1.95 million and £2 million
  • start on 1 April 2023
  • end by 30 September 2024
  • last between 12 and 18 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Your proposal must involve one or more Catapult Network organisations either as the lead organisation or as a grant claiming part of the project team.

The Catapult involvement is required to facilitate the cascade of funding from Innovate UK. The award from Innovate UK to grant recipients for this competition will be at 100% on a no-subsidy basis.

Your proposed cascade funding to start-ups and scale-ups will be awarded by your accelerator under minimal financial assistance (MFA), with the start-ups and scale-ups self certificating.

A research organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO) can lead on multiple applications and can also be included as a collaborator in multiple applications.


The aim of this competition is to identify the delivery partner organisations for the Made Smarter Innovation challenge: sustainability in manufacturing accelerator.

Your proposal must show how you will:

  • recruit Industrial Challenge Owners, representative of the spectrum of manufacturing industry in the UK, and assist in identification of resource and energy efficiency challenges that can be realistically addressed by UK start-ups and scale-ups
  • recruit technology sponsors able to provide expertise and financial support
  • recruit technology start-ups and scale-ups, particularly those specialised in artificial intelligence (AI) through fair competition
  • execute an accelerator programme where start-ups and scale-ups are mentored technically and commercially to respond to the industrial challenges identified and increase their commercial maturity
  • deliver events at key milestone points to showcase outcomes and facilitate start-up and scale-up pitches to a curated group of investors
  • demonstrate how a minimum of 50% industry form 2 co-investment will be achieved, such as through Industry Challenge Owners, technology sponsor contributions or other means

You must:

  • evidence how you have the best possible project team to deliver your project
  • demonstrate innovation in your approach to delivery to maximise impact, considering factors such as participant engagement strategies, financial structure, use of stages, cohort groups and sub-contract support, for commercial mentoring and development
  • show how financial contributions will flow and how the project will conform with subsidy control regimes

Your project must focus on:

  • recruitment of industrial challenge owners, technology sponsors and start-up and scale-up participants to maximise impacts, for example identifying industrial challenges that are generalisable and that lead to rapidly scalable technological solutions
  • contributing to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy in the areas of resource efficiency and energy efficiency (REEE)
  • maximising the likelihood of forms 3 and 4 follow-on co-investment


An online briefing will be held on Friday 14th October at noon: click here for the joining link.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Manufacturing team.


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