Made Smarter: Rapid Demonstrator Projects May 2024

This call focusses on developing rapid demonstrator solutions (sensor installation, data analysis or similar) that enable SMEs to advance their smart manufacturing journeys.

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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.

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

  • All applications must be led by an SME manufacturing organisation. However, in the case of consortium applications, it is permissible for the application to include non-SME industrial partners.

    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.

  • 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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