Made Smarter Innovation: Sustainable Smart Factory

UK registered businesses and organisations can apply for a share of up to £20M for digital innovation projects that will improve the resource efficiency and energy efficiency of manufacturing processes in factories. Interested? Feel free to contact us!


Competition closes: 26 January 2022

Invite to interview: 28 February 2022

Interviews: 14 March 2022

Applicants notified: 04 April 2022

Project start date & duration: 01 September 2022; between 12 – 24 months


Projects must focus on developing digital solutions to:

  • reduce the amount of waste or other in-process material losses through the manufacturing steps
  • reduce the energy consumed by a manufacturing process
  • better sequence or schedule the manufacturing operations to reduce material or energy consumption
  • better separate waste materials to facilitate material reuse

Developments must result in either reduced material consumption or reduced energy consumption. Material or energy savings must be estimated using the Resource Efficiency and Energy Efficiency (REEE) definitions.

Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) can include, but are not limited to:

  • AI and machine learning;
  • industrial internet of things (IIoT) and connectivity;
  • robotics and automation;
  • augmented reality and virtual reality;
  • additive manufacturing;
  • digital twin


  • a tested proposal for digital solutions to deliver more sustainable manufacturing processes
  • a deployment within a manufacturing facility or very near equivalent for example a comparable development facility
  • a case study outlining the digital solution, project results, and qualitative and quantitative evidence of benefits

Where possible, you should provide open access to the set-up of the project as a demonstrator of the digital solution.

Specific Themes

Strand 1 – Digital innovation with manufacturing data: data capture; data visualisation; pattern identification; autonomous decision & action. IDTs within strand 1 can include AI and Machine Learning. Projects must be data centric and can involve significant use of data sets.

Strand 2 – Digital innovation in manufacturing processes: any other Industrial Digital Technology (IDT) where the activity meets the scope of the call. This includes, but is not limited to: industrial internet of things (IIoT) and connectivity; robotics and automation; augmented reality and virtual reality; additive manufacturing; digital twin. Projects can have a significant focus on other IDTs, but may still be supported by data sets. Data use will be secondary to the main technology focus.


  • subsidy control funding rules apply
  • involve a single factory or multiple factories and be applicable to at least 1 manufacturing sector
  • include both manufacturing and digital technology capabilities in your consortium
  • project work must be carried out in the UK and project results exploited from or in the UK

Funding Rates

  • Total eligible project costs between £1-8M (£20M pot).
  • Strand 1: the total grant funding must not exceed 50% of your total eligible project costs.
  • Strand 2: the total grant funding must not exceed 40% of your total eligible project costs.
  • For industrial research you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:
    • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
    • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized organisation
    • up to 50% if you are a large organisation
  • Research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the UK total eligible project costs.

Contact us for further information

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