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Digital Catapult’s Hydrogen Sensor Accelerator competition terms


Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, we accelerate industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy.

We bring together an expert and enterprising community of researchers, startups, scaleups and industry leaders to discover new ways to solve the big challenges limiting the UK’s future potential. Through our specialist programmes and experimental facilities, we make sure that innovation thrives, and the right solutions make it to the real world.

Our goal is to accelerate new possibilities in everything we do and for every business we partner with throughout the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

Digital Catapult works with organisations on projects involving at least one of the technologies from its “Advanced Digital Technology Stack”: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies, 5G/Future Networks and Quantum Technologies.


2.1 The Programme

Delivered by Digital Catapult, as part of the FutureScope cross-technology acceleration programme (“Programme”), the Experiment Track allows companies to trial new technologies experimenting with the art of the possible (“Participants”). The Experiment Track aims to provide Participants with the opportunity to trial technologies and experiment with the art of the possible, Participants will discover and push the limits of their tech capabilities. Whether you want to take your core technology to the next level, or explore what adding a new technology to your solution could look like – our technologists will be there to help you take the next step, develop proofs of concept,  and developing minimum viable products and demonstrations to show how your tech solutions can solve real world industry challenges.

  • Digital Catapult’s Hydrogen Sensor Accelerator is a pioneering programme translating the UK strategy for hydrogen technology developed with industry-wide input and partners including the Catapult Network, the Aerospace Technology Institute, the Net Zero Technology Centre and the National Physical Laboratory.
  • This programme is part of the Hydrogen Innovation Initiative (HII). HII is a transformative initiative, supported by Innovate UK and the Industrial Advisory Board, with a vision to propel hydrogen technology into a cornerstone of the UK’s industrial landscape. 
  • Digital Catapult’s Hydrogen Sensor Accelerator offers a unique opportunity for startups, scaleups and SMEs engaged in sensor development, both within and beyond the hydrogen sector, aligning with the surging demand for hydrogen sensors in the UK’s strategic plans. 
  • Businesses will benefit from strategic guidance, mentorship excellence, holistic diagnostics, tailored support, cutting-edge testing facility, and a showcase platform, to accelerate their product readiness for the Hydrogen supply chain, explore R&D funding avenues, and revolutionise their market presence.
  • Selected businesses are poised to play a pivotal role in laying the foundation for a robust and flourishing hydrogen sector and become integral contributors to shape the future of hydrogen technology.

2.2 Programme objectives

The Programme objectives include:

  • Enable and encourage innovative companies with sensoring products to participate and develop for the UK hydrogen sensor market 
  • Support UK based companies through mentoring and tailored sessions to increase their readiness for R&D funding in the market
  • Foster the growth of the hydrogen sector ecosystem by connecting industry players across multiple stakeholder groups

2.3 Programme Judges

During the application stage, the judges will be responsible for scoring the applications according to the process and criteria set out in these Competition Terms. The judges will be chosen based on (i) their experience and expertise, and (ii) ability to exercise independent judgment. The Programme Judges comprise of a number of judges from Digital Catapult. 

2.4 The Programme Partners

The following organisations are partnering with Digital Catapult to deliver the Programme:

Programme collaboration partners: Digital Catapult is working in collaboration with the following other Catapults to deliver the HII Seed Initiative more generally:

  • HIGH VALUE MANUFACTURING CATAPULT LIMITED, a limited company registered in England (company number 08773552) whose registered office is at F27b Preston Technology Centre Marsh Lane, Preston, PR1 8UQ ( “HVMC”)
  • CONNECTED PLACES CATAPULT, a limited company registered in England (company number 11837978) whose registered office is at 170 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK9 1BP ( “CPC”)
  • ENERGY SYSTEMS CATAPULT LTD, a limited company registered in England (company number 08705784) whose registered office is at Cannon House 7th Floor, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, B4 6BS ( “ESCL”)
  • SATELLITE APPLICATIONS CATAPULT LIMITED, a limited company registered in England (company number 07964746) whose registered office is at Electron Building Fermi Avenue, Harwell, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QR ( “SACL”)
  • OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY CATAPULT, a limited company registered in England (company number 04659351) whose registered office is at Offshore House, Albert Street, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 1LZ ( “OREC”)
  • COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTOR APPLICATIONS CATAPULT LIMITED, a limited company registered in England (company number 10255214) whose registered office is at Csa Catapult Imperial Park Innovation Centre, Celtic Way, Newport, Wales, NP10 8BE ( “CSACL”)

Members or representatives from these Catapults may be involved in providing advice or mentoring Participants in the Programme. 

2.5 Applicants & participants

You are considered an “Applicant” if you apply to this competition.

You are considered a “Participant” if you are successful with your application and complete all pre-Project activities (e.g. signing the Programme Agreement).


  • Regular interactions with the Digital Catapult team of experts to assess, iterate and accelerate the readiness of your product for the Hydrogen supply chain and potential for R&D funding.
  • 1:1s with mentors ranging from the Hydrogen ecosystem, Catapult network Programme Collaboration Partners & other HII Initiative partners
  • Diagnostic sessions with your leadership team to determine current IoT technological, commercial and strategic needs.
  • Hands-on support to develop and improve product, technical and investment roadmap, business planning and marketing strategy.
  • Access to IoT lab and testing with different comms, architecture, services for data collection
  • Peer support from other SMEs on the Programme, sharing learnings and insights gained from the Programme as well as previous expertise.
  • A showcase during which Participants will present the progress and meet an invited audience of senior industry representatives and potential customers.
  • Upon successful completion of the Project, the opportunity to join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and which provides additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other Alumni.


  • Attend the kick-off event hosted by Digital Catapult virtually.
  • Attend 75% of the sessions, progress check-in meetings/calls, and/or webinars hosted by Digital Catapult from January to March 2024.
  • Attend, present and/or demonstrate at the Showcase event in March 2024 in person at the Digital Catapult London office (101 Euston Rd., London NW1 2RA).
  • Participant agrees to be visibly (name and logo) associated with the Programme, whilst on the Programme and afterwards as a former participant and beneficiary.  This includes marketing collateral, such as website, print and digital materials.
  • For a maximum period of five years following the Project end date, Participant shall use its reasonable endeavours to answer specific questions from Digital Catapult relating to its growth and progress to assist Catapult demonstrate the impact of its activities. This shall include: (i) participation in an annual telephone conversation of one hour, and (ii) participation in two early surveys issued by Digital Catapult.


5.1 Minimum Requirements 

  • Applicants must be working in, or are looking to enter the UK hydrogen market.
  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the activity in the UK.
  • Applicant must be considered an SME by the EU’s definition.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive up to £20,000 in Special Drawing Rights/De Minimis Aid (see section “Competition Terms – paragraph 8.2 “State Assistance” for further details).
  • Applicants must be able to attend all of the activities as stated in Programme Obligations.

5.2 What we’re looking for

  • Hydrogen sensor SMEs that are facing the challenge around readiness and accuracy of sensors and scale their products.
  • Hydrogen sensor SMEs enhancing their analytical capabilities when it comes to extracting and interpreting data.
  • Sensor SMEs that can benefit from entering the hydrogen market. 
  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the activity in the UK.


  • Open Call – Applications Open – 20th November 2023
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – 4th December 2023
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – 18th December 2023
  • Intended public announcement of successful Participants: 29th January 2024
  • Programme Start Date: 29th January 2024
  • Programme End Date: 31st March 2024


7.1 What information should my application contain?

Applicants must answer all required questions in the full online application form. 

7.2 Who will see my Application?

The following people will see your application:

Catapult Representatives: Relevant Catapult representatives will see your application in order to assess the application, and otherwise in the administration of your application and, if successful, participation in the Programme.

Judging Applications

Programme Judges: will see your full application, except for your personal information fields.

7.3 Key contact 

Applicant will appoint a main contact for the Programme (“Key Contact”). This person will be Digital Catapult’s main point of contact for the competition and, if successful, Applicant’s Programme activities, including workshop and event commitments, team members’ availability, ongoing activities, and assessment of progress during and after the Programme.

Digital Catapult will use this personal information for the purpose of carrying out due diligence on Applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme and to notify successful and unsuccessful Applicants over their submissions. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by Programme Partners for the purpose of assessing the Applications and for the provision of benefits to the Participants in the Programme, as set out in these Competition Terms.

7.4 Submitting your application

You must submit your application via Skipso Labs (“Submission Method”).

All applications must be submitted via the Submission Method by the Application Deadline.  

Once your completed application has been received, Digital Catapult will send you a confirmation receipt by email. If you do not get a receipt within twenty four (24) hours of the next working day, please email us at [email protected] with the subject ”Hydrogen Sensor Accelerator Application Submission”.

7.5 Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In addition to your application, you will be required to complete Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey (‘Survey’). Whilst the completion of this Survey is mandatory, please note that your responses to this Survey will be kept separately from your application and will have no effect whatsoever on your application to the Programme.

Digital Catapult (as the Data Controller) will collect and process your personal data, including the following special category data to help Digital Catapult improve its services in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion:

  • Racial and/or ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health (including disability)
  • Religious and/or philosophical beliefs

The data collected and processed may be shared with relevant third parties and/or published but only in an aggregated form, which means you will not be personally identifiable. 

Your personal data will be kept for 15 months from the time you respond to the Survey. Should you apply to another of Digital Catapult’s opportunities within the 15 month period, we will provide you with the option to allow us to re-use the data we already hold, to resubmit the Survey or to delete your Survey data. If you choose to complete the Survey again, we will keep your updated data for 15 months from the time you resubmit the Survey.

Please note you are responsible for the accuracy of the data you share with Digital Catapult and you agree to inform us if your data needs to be updated. 

For more information on Digital Catapult’s collection, use and protection of your personal data and your rights in regards to your personal data, please see Digital Catapult’s privacy policy ( or contact us at [email protected]. If you have specific queries on our use of your Survey data (including a request to delete your Survey data), please contact us at [email protected].


8.1 Qualification

The Catapult will undertake an initial assessment of the Applicants against the Programme Requirements.

8.2 Selection process

All qualifying applications will be reviewed and scored by the Programme Judges.

Generally, the highest ranked Applicants will be accepted onto the Programme, but Digital Catapult reserves the right to select the cohort on a portfolio basis to ensure the Programme as a whole is able to deliver consistent support and activities that provide value to all Participants and optimise the impact of the Programme.

8.3 Application Scoring criteria and weighting 

The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas below. Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criterion and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criterion. This scoring will be applied to all applications and will be equally weighted. 

There are 4 criteria upon which applicants will be assessed:

1. Problem and Solution (25%)

Section Guidance: The applicant should demonstrate that their company is addressing a clear problem, as well as applying IoT technologies to tackle the challenge in the selected focus area.

2. Growth Potential (25%)

Section Guidance: The applicant should be capable of identifying goals and key challenges their company is facing in the market.

3. Business Strategy (25%)

Section Guidance: The applicant should be able to articulate its company’s business model to drive towards product implementation and commercialisation.

4. Ability to Execute (25%)

Section Guidance: The company and its employees should have the required capabilities and experience that are required to develop and deliver the solution.

The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas above. Each will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criteria and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criteria. Uniform weighting will be applied across each scoring criteria (25%)

Furthermore, Participants will be selected on a portfolio basis to ensure the Programme is able to deliver consistent support and activities that provide value to all Participants.

8.4 Due diligence 

We will carry out due diligence on applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme. Applicants must be willing to submit further information or documentation upon request to qualify as ‘successful’.

8.5 Successful applicants 

Successful applicants will be notified and provided with a standard agreement for review and execution (“Programme Agreement”).  

The Programme Agreement is a standard agreement and not negotiable.  We do try and ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable.

In order to be accepted onto the Programme, successful applicants must sign the Programme Agreement.


9.1 Benefits

All the benefits provided under the Programme by third-party organisations (“Suppliers”) are subject to the Supplier’s terms and conditions stated in the Programme T&Cs. 

Any optional benefits provided by third party organisations whose terms and conditions are not contained in the Programme T&Cs will be agreed between the Participant and the Supplier directly.

Digital Catapult reserves the right to amend the list of benefits at its sole discretion.

9.2 State Assistance

Participants shall receive the grant as Minimal Financial Assistance (“MFA”), or to the extent applicable under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the de minimis aid regulations (COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1407/2013), collectively referred to herein as “State Assistance.

The total State Assistance received or due to be received by an individual Participant (including any associated companies e.g. subsidiaries), originating from a United Kingdom source, must not exceed £315,000, or €200,000 (approximately £165,000) for Northern Ireland Companies (or any other company subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol), each in aggregate across the Participant’s current fiscal year (as at the Agreement Date) and the previous two fiscal years.

This Programme has been assessed as providing £20,000.00 (23,000 euros) in State Assistance.  Before signing the Programme Agreement, Applicants will therefore be asked to sign a declaration confirming that you are eligible to receive the State Assistance.

9.3 Accessibility 

We aim to make all of our programmes accessible. We welcome feedback as to how we may be able to improve the accessibility of our programmes in the future. If you have any feedback with regards to accessibility, please send your feedback by email to: [email protected]. Your feedback may be used by us in our programmes and activities.

9.4 Applicants

Digital Catapult reserves the right to accept any application which does not fulfil the minimum requirements. 

9.5 Key Dates

Digital Catapult reserves the right to change the Key Dates at its sole discretion. No extension to deadlines will usually be granted, with very limited exceptions where the Applicant requests an extension due to reasonable extenuating circumstances, beyond the Applicant’s control and unforeseen to them, subject to the Applicant providing evidence that proves the extenuating circumstance; and the Applicant informing Digital Catapult as soon as reasonably practicable following the extenuating circumstance becoming apparent. Digital Catapult reserves the right to consider the factors and decide whether such circumstances are extenuating and whether granting an extension is fair to other applicants. No extension granted will usually be for greater than two working days.

9.6 Applications

All information and documents requested must be submitted. Failure to submit all requested information and documents may result in the application being rejected.  Catapult will not use outside information in respect of your application unless otherwise indicated, other than to undertake due diligence.  Digital Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which it believes could impact its reputation.

9.7  Previous Applications

Not used. 

9.8  Personal Data

Digital Catapult is the Controller for the personal information submitted in the Application for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018.

In submitting the Application, the Applicant confirms that it has made the Key Contact and any other person whose personal data has been submitted, aware of, and has the lawful grounds to enable each Controller (including its processors) to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person named in the Application and open call process) as set out in these Competition Terms and in accordance with the respective privacy policies: Digital Catapult (

9.9 Programme Agreement

Digital Catapult reserves the right to make amendments to the Programme Agreement it issues up until the point of execution by both parties.

9.10 Participant Programmes

Digital Catapult reserves the right to offer Participants access to its Participant Programmes, such as its Platinum Awards.


10.1 Data Retention 

Digital Catapult will store your application and the scoring it has received for the entire duration of the Programme, or up to two (2) years, whichever the greater.  If you are a successful Applicant, we shall also store your Application for a period of up to seven (7) years following the end of the Programme.  For administration purposes, contracts may be stored for up to seven (7) years, contracts providing State Assistance for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

10.2 Confidentiality 

The information provided in your Application will be kept confidential and only used and disclosed as reasonably necessary for the purpose of assessing Applications, and, if admitted onto the Programme, for working with you in the Programme.  This may include with our Programme Partners as indicated above.  

For practical reasons, NDAs will not be signed by Digital Catapult or the Programme Partners as part of this Programme Competition. The activities we provide can only be achieved through trust of the tech community. It is therefore not in our interest to release your sensitive information. Confidentiality provisions are included in the Programme Agreement.

The scoring of your Application will be treated as sensitive information.

As your Application will be transmitted over the Internet, ultimately Digital Catapult cannot guarantee its security.

10.3 Intellectual Property 

We respect the intellectual property of others and we ask our Applicants to do the same. 

In submitting the Application, you promise that you have and continue to have all necessary rights, licenses, permissions and consent to provide the content in your application to us, and for Catapult to use the Application as we have set out.

We will not remove from Applications any proprietary labels or copyright assertions. 

10.4 Disclaimers, Exclusions & Limitations

We accept no liability for any consequences, whether direct or indirect, that may arise from your participation in the Programme Competition, your reliance on any statements we may have made about your application, the Programme, or its suspension or withdrawal.

In any case, to the extent permitted under law, Digital Catapult’s liability shall be limited to one thousand (£1,000) pounds. 

10.5 Entire Agreement

These Competition Terms constitute the entire agreement between Digital Catapult and the Applicant and extinguish all previous and contemporaneous agreements, promises, assurances, and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to the subject matter of these Competition Terms

10.6 Jurisdiction

The Programme Competition is governed by English law and the Applicant agrees that any dispute shall be exclusively resolved in the English courts.