Made Smarter: Rapid Demonstrator Projects March 2024

This funding aims to support SMEs with sensor installation, data analysis or similar to advance their smart manufacturing journeys.

Opportunity Details


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Grant funding of up to £50,000 will be provided to enable you to develop your concept into a market ready solution for deployment.


Innovate UK

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The key objective of SMDH (Smart Manufacturing Data Hub) is to support SMEs on their digitisation journey. It will develop and promote SME access to key enabling Industry 4.0 technologies through a series of rapid demonstrator projects designed to stimulate the transition from legacy manufacturing solutions towards Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 solutions.

This call focusses on developing rapid demonstrator solutions that enable SMEs to advance their smart manufacturing journeys, de-risking major investment yet enabling growth. This funding aims to support SMEs with sensor installation, data analysis or similar to enable levelling-up the opportunities for SMEs across the UK to exceed and expand.

Funding is available to all manufacturing SMEs across all regions of the UK. Through the Digital Innovation Fund, we aim to provide financial support and opportunities for SMEs to embark on a smart manufacturing journey. The funding is available to all SMEs in any state of digital readiness.

Application forms should be received by 12 April 2024 at 12 noon. Once you have registered your EoI the full application form will be sent to you via email.

  • This call is open to manufacturing SMEs only; companies can apply individually or as part of a consortium. All funded organisations must reside within the UK. In all cases the project must demonstrate how it addresses manufacturing SME market needs with resulting data to be shared on the SMDH Manufacturing Data Exchange Platform (MDEP).

    Grant recipients must be UK-registered, must carry out the majority of the funded work in the UK and have a UK business bank account.

    Grant recipients must self-certify that they are eligible to receive subsidies and that this funding will not bring them over the thresholds stipulated for Minimal Financial Assistance or de minimis by the UK Subsidy Act 2022 or Commission Regulation (EU) No 2023/2831.

    There is no limit to the number of members a consortium can have, but all grant recipients must be UK-registered and eligible to receive funds from both IUK and Ulster University.

  • The grant recipients must commit to the following key deliverables:

    • Successful delivery of the funded Concept development project within the term;
    • Evidence of commitment to the  sustainability of the project through an implementation phase ideally delivering co-investment of three times the Concept Development Grant received;
    • Data must be uploaded to MDEP;
    • Engagement with the SMDH community;
    • Participation in showcases and key events.

    Ideally, all projects will be completed by 31 December 2024 to allow grant processing and payment before programme close on 31 March 2025.

  • Your project should develop transformational and disruptive solutions, processes, or services, using the data generated from your factory and optimised through the SMDH Manufacturing Data Exchange Platform (MDEP). 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 SME operating in the manufacturing sector which can demonstrate demand for a new data driven solution. Grant funding of up to £50,000 will be provided to enable you to develop your concept into a market ready solution for deployment. This must be completed within 6 months of the grant award.

    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 three times the grant value and will be delivered within the project lifetime.

  • SMDH rapid demonstrator projects are established to create a digital manufacturing ecosystem within which innovative technology solutions can be tested in order to deliver business improvements across the sector.  This means that participating companies will be able to benefit in the following ways:
    • A grant of up to £50,000 to develop your concept and create your initial build;
    • The opportunity to create and test a pipeline of technology solutions tailored to SME needs;
    • 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.

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