Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory

UK registered businesses and organisations can apply for a share of up to £20m for digital innovation projects that will improve the resource efficiency and energy efficiency of manufacturing processes in factories.

Opportunity Details


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Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £1 million and £8 million. For strand 1, the total grant funding for your project must not exceed 50% of your total eligible project costs. For strand 2, the maximum is 40%.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects. These will be for innovation in digital technologies to reduce environmental impact within manufacturing processes.

The aim of this competition is to develop digital innovations to improve the sustainability of manufacturing processes. This must result in either reduced material or reduced energy consumption.

Your proposal must deliver sustainable solutions through applying digital technology development to manufacturing processes within a production facility.

Your project must demonstrate the digital innovations that will deliver sustainability improvements.

This competition is split into 2 strands:

  • Strand 1 – Digital innovation with manufacturing data
  • Strand 2 – Digital innovation in manufacturing processes

Your project must apply to either Strand 1 or Strand 2.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £1 million and £8 million
  • not exceed the maximum grant limit of 50% of your total eligible costs for strand 1
  • not exceed the maximum grant limit of 40% of your total eligible costs for strand 2
  • start by 1 September 2022
  • last between 12 and 24 months
  • involve a single factory or multiple factories
  • include both manufacturing and digital technology capabilities in your consortium
  • be applicable to at least 1 manufacturing sector
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

We encourage projects that cover multiple manufacturing sectors.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations (see below)
  • involve at least one SME

Projects must be collaborative. To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

business can only lead on 2 applications within this competition but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications. If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 4 applications within this competition. Research organisations can collaborate on any number of applications.

Your project must apply digital technology development to improve manufacturing processes within a production facility, to deliver more environmentally sustainable production processes.

Your project must focus on developing digital solutions to:

  • reduce the amount of waste or other in-process material losses through the manufacturing steps
  • reduce the energy consumed by a manufacturing process
  • better sequence or schedule the manufacturing operations to reduce material or energy consumption
  • better separate waste materials to facilitate material reuse

Your project must be an innovative development or novel application of data or an industrial digital technology (IDT). This must result in either reduced material consumption or reduced energy consumption.

For more details on the full scope, click here.

An online briefing event will be held from 10am to 12pm on Tuesday 9th November: click here to register to attend.

If you would like further advice or help to find a collaboration partner, contact KTN’s manufacturing team.


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