Made Smarter: National LightHouse Projects May 2024

This call focusses on projects designed to stimulate the transition from legacy manufacturing solutions towards Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

Opportunity Details


Registration Opens


Registration Closes



Grant funding of up to £315,000 will be provided to enable you to develop your concept into a market ready solution.

Share this opportunity

Find out more and apply

As we embrace the digital manufacturing revolution, it is vital manufacturers across the UK can capitalise on the productivity and growth gains that come with adopting the latest data-led digital technologies.

The key objective of SMDH (Smart Manufacturing Data Hub) is to develop and promote SME access to key enabling Industry 4.0 technologies through a suite of Lighthouse Projects designed to stimulate the transition from legacy manufacturing solutions towards Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 solutions.

This call focusses on establishing Lighthouse Projects that will enable SMEs to embark on a smart manufacturing journey, de-risking major investment yet enabling growth. This funding aims to support a range of industry partners (of any size) to develop Lighthouse projects that will support and enhance manufacturing SMEs across the UK to exceed and expand.

Funding is available to all organisations and industrial partners across all regions of the UK who have a suite of well-established processes, solutions or services that can be adapted quickly to be utilised by the SME Manufacturing industry.  Through the Digital Innovation Fund, we aim to fund Lighthouse projects that will support SMEs to embark on a smart manufacturing journey.

Application forms should be received by 27 May 2024 at 10 am. Once you have registered your EoI the full application form will be sent to you via email.

  • This call is open to all businesses, universities and research transfer organisations, provided that the proposed project is aligned to the overall project objective of promoting smart manufacturing approaches amongst SMEs.

    If an applicant can demonstrate that they have more than one unique project, they can submit more than one proposal.

  • The open call is available to all industrial and professional organisations who can apply individually or as a consortium. We welcome applications from businesses, academia, research and technology organisations, technology partners and domain experts. All funded organisations must reside within the UK. In all cases the project must explain how it addresses manufacturing SME market needs and demonstrate compatibility of data streams and sufficient data volumes with resulting data to be shared on the SMDH Manufacturing Data Exchange Platform (MDEP).

  • An objective of the SMDH is to create sustainable solutions that will be available to the SME community beyond the life of this project.  To support this objective, the SMDH Digital Innovation Fund will provide grant funding to Open Call projects with the expectation that additional investment (Co-Investment) will be needed to see the project through from concept build to full commercial delivery during the implementation phase.  This can include additional investment to the agreed project costs and/or additional investment in R&D. The application form will enable you to detail the co-investment being committed to the initial concept so that it can be sustained over the longer term. An ideal application will include co-investment of at least 3 times the grant value and will be delivered within the project lifetime.

  • Having already developed transformational and disruptive solutions, processes, or services, your Lighthouse project will describe how you will support Manufacturing SMEs on their smart manufacturing journey and encourage them to realise the potential of manufacturing data. All solutions, processes or services must be readily usable by an SME without risking business disruption or incurring significant cost.

    We are open to any established industrial or professional sector organisation which can provide skills, support or solutions for manufacturing SMEs. Grant funding of up to £315,000 will be provided to enable you to develop your concept into a market ready solution for deployment and dissemination to SMEs.

  • Collaborative SMDH projects are established to create a digital manufacturing ecosystem within which innovative technology solutions can be tested to deliver business improvements across the sector.  This means that organisations will be able to benefit in the following ways:

    • A grant of up to £315,000 to support the rapid development of your concept;
    • Engagement and support from a designated SMDH representative and relevant SMDH team/partners, who will work with you to capture progress and share advice and domain knowledge;
    • Upload of the resulting data to MDEP, allowing you to participate in and gain wider insights across the entire UK manufacturing community.

Related programme

Made Smarter Innovation Network

Made Smarter Innovation Network

From 2020 to 2025, Innovate UK Business Connect will be working on behalf of UKRI to join communities together to transform UK manufacturing. Join the Made Smarter Innovation Network and help us drive positive change.


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.