About the programme

  • What is Made Smarter?

    Made Smarter is a national movement to drive growth amongst UK makers and advance the UK economy. Backed by world-renowned businesses and the UK Government, it will improve the development and adoption of emerging technologies. Making a real, everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor.

    Made Smarter was formed following a nationwide review into UK manufacturing that recommended three key changes:

    • More ambitious leadership
    • More innovation in developing new technologies
    • Faster implementation and adoption of those technologies

    We’ll be boosting the digital skills of industry leaders, bringing businesses and research development together to develop new technology, while helping makers embrace new digital tools. In doing so, we’ll inspire the next industrial revolution and make the UK a leader in digital technologies.

  • What is the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator?

    Delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the national Made Smarter movement, Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is a national programme, set to fast forward and shape the UK’s technology innovation directly into industry.

    The programme works with both UK manufacturers and the UK’s leading digital technology innovation community, to develop cutting-edge technology solutions to many of the UK’s core manufacturing challenges.

    Made Smarter Technology Accelerator has been designed for industry; it will speed up the opportunities and unlock the known benefits technology adoption has for the UK economy. It is a match-funded programme for medium and large manufacturers who will be part of a select group at the forefront of digital adoption. This group will be helping to define the scope of challenges and be directly involved in the programme, the outputs of which will generate a direct impact to achieving a competitive edge for business.

    Once the challenges are set and partners onboarded, the programme is made real by the UK’s leading technology innovators, providing them with funding and a platform to grow as they develop prototypes that will pivot some of the UK’s most relevant manufacturing challenges.

  • How does the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator sit within the main Made Smarter movement?

    Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is a programme delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

  • What are the objectives of the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator?

    The programme will drive innovation and recovery in the manufacturing sector across the UK. The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is a national programme, set to shape the technology innovation and acceleration of advanced digital technologies for the manufacturing sector. Working with both manufacturers and UK early-stage innovative technology companies, the programme aims to pivot and provide solutions to some of the UK’s most relevant manufacturing challenges.

    The programme’s objectives are to aid recovery, improve productivity, increase market capitalisation, export growth and accelerate manufacturing sectors towards industrial net zero.

  • What is the significance of the accelerator programme?

    The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator aims to boost the technology adoption and acceleration of advanced digital technologies for the manufacturing sector across the UK. By doing so, we will create a highly competitive and fertile environment for the manufacturing sector which will then improve productivity, increase market capitalisation, export growth and accelerate sectors towards industrial net-zero.

  • Why should UK manufacturers participate in the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator?

    Made Smarter Technology Accelerator has been designed directly for industry and provides UK manufacturers the opportunity to take advantage of UK’s largest and most prominent, industry focused acceleration programme.

    Participant companies will solve major manufacturing challenges through the application and adoption of advanced digital technologies, gain knowledge and capitalise on new industry relations.

  • What are the benefits of joining the programme?

    For industrial sponsors, the programme provides the opportunity to be part of the UK development and adoption of advanced digital technologies directly into the manufacturing sector. Industrial sponsors will be at the forefront of challenge scoping and benefit as early adopters driving industry forward. The programme will provide industrial sponsors with a competitive advantage alongside the positioning and marketing for being part of the programme. Further to this, our industrial sponsors will be able to access the innovation community and be part of our industry events and showcases.

  • What are the programme phases?

    The programme operates in three phases:

    Phase one – partner onboarding and challenge setting
    The first phase seeks our industrial sponsors to join the programme. At this phase we’ll work together with industry to set and define the challenges to be addressed by technological advancements.

    Phase two – innovation community onboarding and prototypes
    From December 2020 we’ll put out an open call to the innovative technology community. Following judging and contracting, up to 20 applicant teams will be selected to each receive up to £20,000 funding and the opportunity and support to develop prototypes that will pivot industry challenges. Successful applicants, from across the technology stack, will work directly with the industrial sponsors and Digital Catapult experts to develop prototypes and leading solutions. During this phase, successful applicants will gain access to focused workshops, facilities and mentorship that will complement and aid the funding to develop prototypes for industrial sponsors. We’ll present the final prototypes at the Industry Prototype Presentation, currently scheduled for June 2021.

    Phase three – minimum viable products (MVP) and final showcase
    On successful completion of phase one and the development of prototypes, the programme will select three applicant teams for further funding and support to develop their solution into minimum viable products. These solutions will be presented and pitched at the final Showcase currently scheduled for December 2021.

  • What are the key dates* for the programme?
    • Open call for industry – September 2020 – 31 October 2020
    • Partner contracting and challenge setting – Starting from October to end of December 2020
    • Open call for technology innovators – 04 January 2020 – midnight 07 February 2021
    • Programme start date, prototyping starts – 29 March 2021
    • Industry Prototype Presentation – June 2021
    • Minimum viable product developing – July 2021 – November 2021
    • Final showcase and programme close – December 2021

    *Timelines are approximate and can be subject to change

  • Who is the programme delivered by?

    Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is a programme delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

  • How will the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator respond to COVID-19 implications?

    The programme was designed before the COVID-19 outbreak and is delivered during the pandemic, which continues to have an impact on the manufacturing sector. The outputs and impact of the programme present an opportunity to boost the UK economy and aid recovery. As we also work to set challenges faced by industry, there is the potential to develop challenges focused specifically on the problems that COVID-19 presents and the opportunities that technology adoption offers. Challenges will be set by Digital Catapult, UKRI and our industrial sponsors and aligned to the five themes.

    Intensifying the market of digital innovators will drive multiple outcomes for the manufacturing sector; to aid the recovery, improved productivity, increased market capitalisation, export growth and accelerating sectors towards industrial net-zero.

    In addition to the challenges the pandemic presents to the wider industry, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our activities accordingly. For example, a number of our programmes are successfully adapting and being run completely online, including our showcases and events.

  • What are the technology solutions that will be considered as part of the Made Smarter Technology?

    The four core technologies are:

    • Future networks an advanced digital infrastructure (5G and the internet of things including; low powered wide area networks, NB-IoT, LIFI etc. including sensors, edge devices, wearables etc.)
    • Immersive technologies – Extended reality (virtual, augmented, mixed reality and haptics)
    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning (natural language processing, machine vision, deep learning)
    • Distributed ledger technologies (Blockchain etc.)

Challenge setting

  • What are the programme challenges?

    Together with Digital Catapult and Made Smarter the programmes Industry Challenge Owners will work together to define and agree on real-world challenges faced by industry. Set by UK manufacturers, these challenges ensure the programme is of relevance and in line with their business needs. The UK’s powerful technology innovation community will have the opportunity to apply their solutions and develop prototypes that solve or directly respond to these challenges.

  • Why is Digital Catapult asking the innovator community to respond to these industry challenges?

    The UK’s technology and digital innovator community is the strongest in Europe, with London being one of the leading global tech hubs in the world. The programme is made real by the UK’s powerful technology innovator community (startups and scaleups) developing prototypes to these challenges. Digital Catapult runs a number of similar acceleration programmes and has expertise and knowledge of the most innovative solutions coming from this community of innovators.

  • What are the challenge themes?

    The programme will innovate across five themes to deliver impact for industry

    • Intelligent factory/site management and control
    • Intelligent product verification and validation
    • Transparent and data-driven procurement
    • Digitally enabled factory/site workforce
    • Resource measurement and analytics

    These five themes and the outputs of the programme will have the following impacts for business and the wider industry, with the potential to lead the way forward for innovation by the manufacturing sector and into wider industry settings.

    • Optimising manufacturing operations
    • Creating trusted and resilient supply chains
    • Delivering higher quality with lower waste
    • Generating new revenue opportunities
    • Encouraging more sustainable business
    • Improving factory/site productivity
  • What are the differences between challenges and themes?

    Through the existing work and research with Made Smarter we have identified five themes.

    Challenges will sit within one of these five themes, requiring a clear demonstration of scalability, innovation, sound business case and impact on the manufacturing industry in the UK. Industry Challenge Owners will set a focused business challenge their organisation is facing and have it solved through an industrial open-call, then down-selecting and working with innovative startups to have two exciting, cost effective, new prototype solutions built for their use.

  • What is the challenge setting phase of the programme?

    Designed for industry, our match-funded sponsors will have the opportunity to scope and define the challenges set by industry. During the challenge setting phase from October to December 2020, our industrial sponsors will work with Digital Catapult and Made Smarter to define and agree on real-world challenges faced by industry. These challenges will then be responded to by the UK’s powerful technology innovator community developing prototypes to these challenges.

  • Who can set a challenge?

    The programme has a range of partnership opportunities for UK manufacturers designed to be suitable for SMEs through to large UK manufacturers. Within these packages it is our Industrial Sponsors who will be able to work collaboratively with Digital Catapult to scope and define the challenges.

  • Why is Digital Catapult asking the innovator community to respond to these industry challenges?

    The UK’s technology and digital innovator community is the strongest in Europe, with London being one of the leading global tech hubs in the world. The programme is made real by the UK’s powerful technology innovator community (startups and scaleups) developing prototypes to these challenges. Digital Catapult runs a number of similar acceleration programmes and has expertise and knowledge of the most innovative solutions coming from this community of innovators.

Industrial Steering Group

  • What does the interaction between all stakeholders look like?

    All stakeholder engagement will be facilitated by Digital Catapult. A committee will be formed at the start of the programme incorporating the industrial sponsors and key members of Made Smarter, UKRI and Digital Catapult.

    During the programme there will be multiple scheduled opportunities for the Committee and the successful applicants to engage with one another. The committee will advise and guide the cohort teams through a series of workshops, check-ins and office hour meetings in both the prototyping and the minimum viable product phases.

  • What is the purpose of the Steering Group for the Industrial sponsors?

    The Steering Group is empowered to set the strategic direction of the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator and nominate technology areas of interest for exploration, for example: internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G. The Steering Group also has the final decision on what applicants are onboarded to the programme with final agreement coming from the Chair of the Steering Group.

Sponsorship of the programme

  • Who can get involved and what are the partnership opportunities?

    Made Smarter Technology Accelerator works with both leading UK manufacturers and the UK’s digital innovation community to develop innovative technology solutions to many of the UK’s core manufacturing challenges.

    For industrial sponsors, we have a number of partner options to cater for medium to large manufacturers. Our offerings are available for:

    • Industrial sponsors
    • Tech sponsors
    • Attendee membership
    • SME membership

    To find out more about the match-funded opportunities and how to get involved as one of these partners please complete the registration form here.

  • For SME manufacturing membership, what qualifies a business as an SME?

    SMEs are defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 persons employed. They should also have an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million.

  • As an industrial sponsor what is my participation during the accelerator?

    Other than the challenge submission and preliminary contractual activities, industrial sponsors are required to assign a working group that will be responsible to communicate with Digital Catapult and successful applicants from the innovation community. In addition, industrial sponsors will have the authority to share relevant data that will assist in the creation of the prototypes.

    Industrial sponsors will be required to commit resources throughout the programme, both from senior stakeholders but also from their legal and marketing departments. In addition, there will be set times during the programme where further input will be necessary.

  • The programme is currently live, how can I get involved as a manufacturer?

    Once we’ve onboarded our industry partners, there are still plenty of ways to get involved in the programme – register your interest and we’ll discuss current or future opportunities.

  • What benefits do Industry Challenge Owners gain?
    • Directly address current and future industrial challenges to deliver business benefits such as lower operating cost, improved customer service, better quality, reduced waste and energy consumption
    • Prove the ROI for digital technologies across a range of different manufacturing organisations, processes and scenarios
    • A business case will be developed for each prototype to prove the value of the technology
      Guaranteed 2 prototypes created to address primary challenge set by owner, as well as access to cross-industry prototypes created to solve other challenges
    • Alongside UKRI, Digital Catapult and Challenge Owner Committee members, down-select impactful prototypes for further investment and development. Access and use of successful MVPs plus first-mover advantage when deploying these new solutions
    • Create new digital knowledge and skills within your organisation to be able to train others and develop new digital strategies and technology roadmaps
    • Develop new commercial opportunities and partnerships through premium branding, visibility and press release inclusion
  • I’m a technology provider. How can I benefit and join?

    Technology providers have the opportunity to play a crucial role in the transformation of the manufacturing industries by driving innovation and development through the use of their products in collaboration with large manufacturing customers and startups to solve business challenges.

    Benefits of engagement:

    • Unlock new market opportunities with industrial challenge owners who are the most prominent industrial leaders in the UK
    • Educate the programme participants about your technology solutions through demos/presentations at two showcase events, and up to five dedicated workshops
    • Become trusted advisors and technology solution providers through premium branding, visibility and press release inclusion across the 12-month programme
  • Would the other industrial sponsors be my direct competition?

    In relation to the accelerator programme no, but they could be your industry competition. The Industry Challenge Owners will form a Steering Group that will ensure to set the strategic direction of the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator and nominate technology areas of interest for exploration for example, internet of things, artificial intelligence and 5G.

    Industrial sponsors will submit a business challenge their organisation is facing and the Steering Group members will collectively nominate cross-sector challenges that affect the manufacturing industry as a whole and again, the innovator community will build prototypes to solve this.

  • I’m an industrial sponsor, how is the programme funded?

    The programme is funded in part by the industrial sponsors onboarded and by programme funding:

    We offer a range of pricing options for partners to take advantage of and levels of involvement aligned to these opportunities.

    The programme is also funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

  • Will I need to grant access to my manufacturing site or factory?

    At the moment and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not expected to grant access to your manufacturing site.

Legal

  • How long will the contracting process take?

    Guidance has been provided to both Participant and the Industrial Sponsor as to the scope of the benefits, so discussion and delay should be minimal, but it may need to be tailored to the Participant’s specific prototype.

  • To what extent can I share confidential information?

    In line with good practice, it is recommended that disclosure of confidential information is made on a need to know basis, with most of the programme operating on a pre-competitive or otherwise high summary level. Where there is real benefit in disclosing confidential information (for example, to inform the participants on the particular challenge) then this can be shared at the discloser’s discretion.

  • Is there any exclusivity period afforded to the Industrial Sponsors in regard to the products and services created during any stage of the Accelerator Programme?

    No. The benefit for the Industrial Sponsors is to get a grant leveraged prototype created that addresses their particular problem with a solution that works for them built into the design. No restrictions are placed on the participants to encourage full and dedicated participation.

  • Will my data shared with Digital Catapult be safe?

    Yes. Digital Catapult is experienced at managing and protecting confidential information and intellectual property on these types of programmes. Non-disclosure agreements can be signed with Industrial sponsors where necessary, for assessment of their challenge and following private discussions, only approved information is released for the challenges. Where additional confidential information needs to be released to the applicants participating in the programme to better inform its activities, this is arranged and disclosed directly by the Industrial Sponsors to minimise dissemination. It is not expected that any Industrial Sponsors’ confidential information or intellectual property will be used in the proof of concept or minimum viable product itself.

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