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Open call

Tenfold NetZero Challenge Accelerator Programme

Open date: Monday 20 November 2023   Close date: Wednesday 31 January 2024


Digital Catapult is working alongside the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to run the Tenfold NetZero Accelerator Programme in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the pilot project is to begin development of an innovation ecosystem and to identify up to six challenges from organisations within sectors under DAERA’s remit that would benefit from innovative digital solutions and take them to the proof of concept stage.

The programme has been designed specifically for businesses to solve some of the industrial challenges that are inhibiting the drive towards NetZero in their sector by working in partnership with the UK’s world class technology community to deliver on commitments for NetZero.

We are currently seeking challenge owners from across Northern Ireland in:

  • Agri-food
  • Environment
  • Marine and fisheries
  • Forestry
  • Rural affairs

Challenge owners will be invited to scope and define their business challenge in a wide range of areas.

As part of the programme, challenge owners will work collaboratively with innovative technical solution providers recruited through an open call to tackle these industry challenges, as well as technologists from Digital Catapult.

Together, they will develop proof of concepts as a first step to addressing the defined challenges, utilising a range of advanced digital technologies including;

  • 5G and Internet of Things
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Virtual and augmented reality technology

The group is further supported by a facilitator to help the team fulfil their potential and ensure everybody is engaged.


The Tenfold NetZero Accelerator programme provides challenge owners:

Strategic guidance: Regular interactions with the Digital Catapult team of experts to define your industry challenge

Unique opportunity: Be part of a pilot programme to address challenges in reaching NetZero in DAERA’s key sectors

Cutting-edge technology access: Utilise a range of advanced digital technology including 5G, IoT, AI, VR and AR technology

Who should apply

Northern Ireland-based businesses in Agri-food, environment, marine and fisheries, forestry and rural affairs who are facing challenges in the drive towards NetZero within their industry and want to tackle these real-word problems together with small groups of highly talented, carefully selected innovators.

Why get involved?

This a unique opportunity to be part of a pilot programme to address challenges in reaching NetZero within specific industries in Northern Ireland.

What is the commitment needed from challenge owners?

  1. £20,000 investment for their industry challenge to be addressed by the technology solution providers.
  2. Time commitment for:
    • Participation in challenge framing workshops and share knowledge and data to define the open call brief.
    • Contribution in Webinars to answer questions from the interested startups and scaleups.
    • Supporting the judging and selection of applications.
    • Commitment to giving the information to the selected participants to make the Proof of Concept (PoC) a success.
    • Attending the final showcase and indicating a roadmap of how to advance with the PoC.
    • Attend at x3 one-day workshops:
      • Workshop 1 – Discovery on potential challenges within scope
      • Workshop 2 – Framing of potential challenges and refinement to ensure viability.
      • Workshop 3 – Technologist approval, agreement and kickoff
    • Provide 1-2-1 time with solution providers on PoC development during the accelerator programme to ensure their PoC is relevant to the industry challenge. The more time a company can dedicate will result in a higher chance of success.
  3. Provide adequate access to your site/place of work to enable solution providers to set the context of the challenge (if required).
  4. Support the trial and testing of any PoC developed to address your identified challenge.
  5. Programme will include a demo day, in which all technology companies will showcase their PoCs to an audience of Challenge Owners, DEARA, Industry and other stakeholders.
  6. Any IP generated by the technology companies will be owned and retained by the technology companies.

How to apply and next steps

If you are interested in being a challenge owner please contact [email protected] for further information