Innovate UK’s (IUK) competition for “Smart Factory and Digital Supply Chain Innovation Hubs” will be launched on 23 November as part of the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Expressions of Interest for setting up and managing these Innovation Hubs will open on 23 November.

IUK is running a briefing event on 25 November, and a Concepts & Collaboration Building workshop on 01 December. Details of this competition and how to register for the briefing or workshop webinars can be found at:

Applications for this competition are welcomed from single applicants and collaborations from UK registered organisations of any size from the following categories:

  • business
  • research organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • charity
  • not-for-profit
  • public sector organisation

Large software companies and system integrators are welcome to register interest for this competition.


The Made Smarter Challenge is investing more than £60 million to build an industrial digital innovation eco-system. In early November it launched £33m innovation hubs programme designed to support manufacturers of all sizes to undertake digital innovation. Please note that this £33 million was wrapped up into a BEIS announcement in September confirming £147 million for the Made Smarter challenge:

Innovation hubs will be part of existing facilities (i.e. no new infrastructure) and will identify and enable the use of capabilities and expertise developed in universities and other organisations. The £33 million will fund projects by innovative UK manufacturers and tech providers using these facilities and capabilities. The funding will go towards:

  • overall management of the hub
  • setting up testbeds, labs and other types of development environments (to test technologies)
  • projects using the hub facilities

Three pilot Innovation/test bed hubs will run from now until May 2021 - the pilot projects are aimed at testing out ideas and getting feedback from potential users of the Innovation Hubs, and to develop some test beds that will be ready for operation once the Innovation Hubs start in May.

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