Digital Security by Design: Technology enabled business-led demonstrators

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for up to £5.8 million to collaborate on a digital security by design demonstrator project in which an additional technology ‘ingredient’ is required. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £5.8 million

Opens: 16th Mar 2020

Closes: 13th May 2020

! This scheme is now closed

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition:

Phase 1 is an expression of interest (EoI) for which no funding will be allocated.

The success of phase 1 applications will be subject to the outcome of a scope check, and an interview process involving a panel of experts. Successful applicants in phase 1 will be invited to proceed to phase 2 and apply for funding.

In phase 2 short-listed consortia will be invited to prepare and submit a full project proposal.


The objective of this competition is to develop a demonstration of a product and/or service in which capability enabled hardware will be used to provide a more secure solution.

Capability enabled hardware’ includes security features or safeguards that are built in the processor architecture and hardware system so that it becomes more secure in the face of a range of security vulnerabilities.


The ISCF Digital Security by Design (DSbD) challenge aims to update the digital computing infrastructure by creating a new, more secure hardware and software ‘ecosystem’. These new security capabilities will underpin future digital products and services.

Your project should include something complementary which adds value to the demonstration of the technology platform prototype in order to make use of or further develop its capability hardware extensions.

These complementary technology components are known as ‘ingredients’.

The aim of this competition is to develop a demonstrator of a product and/or service in which capability enabled hardware will be used to provide a more secure solution.

The competition provides an opportunity to develop and integrate an additional technology ingredient or ingredients into a demonstrator, which must be based on the technology platform prototype hardware that is being developed by the DSbD programme.

This approach is expected to increase the breadth of use-cases to drive future DSbD demonstrators and ultimately increase pathways to market adoption and to economic impact.

Your application must describe:

  • the use case or use cases and why and how it will benefit from the proposed demonstrator
  • why the demonstrator requires an additional technology ingredient or ingredients
  • how you will justify the social and economic benefits realised by the demonstrator
  • how you will assess potential productivity increase through the use of the demonstrator
  • how you expect the results of the demonstrator to affect future products or services
  • how the consortium will engage with the DSbD’s Social Science Hub+ activities, including a bi-annual event


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The lead organisation must show one of the following:

  • that they operate in an industry sector requiring secure products or services
  • evidence of a credible and recognisable influence that they have on the target market or markets
  • that they can lead on a new market or sector

The project team must consist of at least 3 partners, including the lead organisation.

To collaborate with the lead organisation your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, public sector organisation, charity or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead applicant

A typical consortium may be constructed around 3 areas:

  • one or more partners responsible for the new technology ‘ingredient’
  • one or more partners responsible for the new product or service
  • the partner responsible for the adoption or use of the product or service

Funding Costs

You can claim up to £5.8 million in grant for your project. Your project’s total eligible costs must be greater than £5 million and no more than £25 million.

Organisations that are primarily engaged in commercial or economic activity (known as selective advantage) as part of the project must ensure their request for funding does not exceed the limits defined below. This includes organisations that typically act non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

Your project could get funding for its 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

The research organisations in your consortium undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can claim up to 100% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. However, the consortium must be appropriately balanced to justify that the objectives and eligibility conditions of the competition are fully met and do not breach state aid rules.

Projects must start by 1 October 2020 and end by January 2024. Innovate UK expect projects to last a minimum of 24 months.


Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects that do not construct a physical demonstrator using the technology platform prototype
  • technology ingredients that are not demonstrated in the context of capability enabled hardware as specified in the DSbD challenge
  • projects that do not demonstrate the need for more secure products or services