Digital Catapult launches Made Smarter Technology Accelerator and calls for manufacturing industry partners

Posted on 30 Sep 2020 by Tom Lane

The Digital Catapult and Made Smarter are set to drive adoption and digitalisation of the sector that will address UK manufacturers challenges.

The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator has been launched by the Digital Catapult and has called for medium and large manufacturing industry partners to participate in the project. The Digital Catapult is the UK’s leading advanced digital technologies innovation centre and is aiming to solve some of the key challenges to help businesses adopt digital technologies.

Following successful onboarding, partners will work together to set the industry challenges which will see companies from the UK’s world-leading digital technology innovation community develop prototypes that ultimately answer and solve these problems. There are varying levels of involvement for partners depending on the level of investment and – uniquely for a programme of this type – eight Industry Challenge Owners are being invited to shape and set the challenges addressed by the startups and scaleups with their technology innovations.

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In return for match-funded financial contributions, partners will gain direct access to the outputs and learnings of the programme as well as have prototypes developed for challenges they set.

The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is currently seeking partners who have challenges in five programme themes:

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

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult said: “This last year has been incredibly difficult for many industries, and manufacturing has not escaped the impact of COVID-19. At the same time, the industry is grappling with the major global challenge of reaching net zero by 2050 and figuring out how technology can help to do that. The combination of these forces means that innovation and collaboration have never been more necessary. The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is designed to help boost productivity and aid the recovery of industry. Ultimately, we hope this will lead to the creation of a more sustainable and resilient manufacturing sector in the UK.”

The programme is set to drive forward the adoption of technologies in four focus area, with solutions in the following technology areas:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning (natural language processing, machine vision, deep learning etc.)
  • Immersive technologies including extended reality (virtual, augmented, mixed reality and haptics)
  • Future networks and advanced digital infrastructure (5G, low powered wide area networks, the internet of things, NB-IoT, LIFI etc.)
  • Distributed systems (distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain )

Jürgen Maier, Chair of Digital Catapult and Co-Chair of Made Smarter added: “In the tumultuous times we face, it can be tempting to simply cut costs rather than invest. Yet, in the long-term, this approach runs the risk of businesses getting left behind. For the UK manufacturing sector to thrive and become a world leader, we need to find ways to encourage innovation and adoption of digital technologies. The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator – and the wider Made Smarter national movement – is designed to do just that by fostering relationships between technology innovators and manufacturers to solve genuine industry challenges.”

The programme forms part of the Made Smarter national movement, it is delivered by technology and industry experts Digital Catapult and funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Businesses – both industry partners and those in the digital technology innovation community – can register their interest via