Development of the Digital Security by Design Software Ecosystem

Key Features

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million for fast-start short-term projects. Funding is to investigate requirements for adoption of Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies across the software development ecosystem.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.5 million

Opens: 30th Nov 2020

Closes: 13th Jan 2021

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1.5 million to support SMEs working alone to explore and investigate the:

  • requirements
  • dependencies
  • range of potential complexities

associated with the adoption of the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies.


This competition is an opportunity for SMEs working in software development, to investigate the requirements, dependencies and potential complexities associated with the adoption of the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies.

This competition aims to enable the growth of the software ecosystem that will be crucial for the successful adoption of DSbD technologies.

Your proposal must focus on detailed investigation of a problem framed around a system and software stack concept. This could lead to a subsequent implementation that will benefit from the use of DSbD technologies.

Your proposal must:

  • describe your use case or cases and related scenarios, and explain how your area of detailed investigation will enable a full software stack approach to increased security
  • show how DSbD technologies will be incorporated into your detailed investigation work
  • frame your solution under investigation in the context of a full software stack and describe how your work will address identified technical challenges, requirements, dependencies and related complexities
  • explain how you will use the available Fixed Virtual Platform (FVP) model to inform your detailed investigation, or if you choose not to use it, explain your rationale and justify your decision
  • explain how DSbD security will enhance your approach to security, qualitatively and quantitatively, and how you will confirm if it is a viable way forward
  • identify and describe how you plan to overcome any dependence on other technology, ecosystem or business requirement for the transition and adoption of your innovation

This competition is open to investigation of multiple approaches to applying DSbD security for fine-grained memory protection or software compartmentalisation.

Using a full software stack approach, projects can focus on one or more of the following aspects without intending to be an exhaustive list:

  • software frameworks
  • tooling
  • development environments
  • operating systems
  • language runtimes
  • libraries and ancillary support
  • middleware


This competition is not funding projects:

  • that are not allowed under de minimis regulation restrictions
  • that are not based on using DSbD capability hardware extension technologies
  • that are not based on use cases benefiting from DSbD security and do not describe a full software stack approach to increased security
  • that do not focus on a detailed investigation


This competition is open to single applicants only.

Your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered SME
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £40,000 and £80,000
  • be no longer than 6 months in duration
  • start on or after 1 April 2021
  • end by 30 September 2021

Funding Costs

Up to £1.5 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

De minimis

In order to minimise distortion of competition, the European Commission sets limits on how much assistance can be given without its prior approval, to organisations operating in a competitive market. Total grant must not exceed 200,000 euros for all de minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a 3 fiscal year period.

You need to declare any de minimis aid awarded to any other public funding body which requests it. You must also keep all documentation associated with the award for 10 years from the date the award is granted.

Ineligible costs

Capital usage costs are not allowed in this competition.


SMEs can self-fund their project beyond their allowable total eligible costs.

The total self-funded contribution must not exceed £160,000. The SME must identify and quantify this self-funding for additional project activities in Question 5.