Industry Challenge Owners

Industry Challenge Owners work to directly address current and future industrial challenges to deliver business benefits such as lower operating cost, improved customer service, better quality, reduced waste and energy consumption. Each partner sets individual challenges for the programme.

Babcock International Group

Industry Challenge Owners

Babcock International Group is a provider of critical and complex engineering services to customers across defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.

For more than a century, Babcock, the aerospace and defence company, has been trusted to deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering services.

Babcock helps its customers in the UK and around the world to improve the capability, reliability and availability of their most critical assets within the four market sectors of Marine, Land, Aviation, and Nuclear, underpinned by a deep understanding of technology integration, unique infrastructure, and specialist training.

BAE Systems

Industry Challenge Owners

BAE Systems provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions. it employs a skilled workforce of 85,800 people in more than 40 countries.

BAE Systems helps its customers to stay a step ahead when protecting people and national security, critical infrastructure and vital information. This is a long-term commitment involving significant investments in skills. It also works closely with local partners to support economic development through the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.


Industry Challenge Owners

As a Standard Industries company, GAF is part of the largest roofing and waterproofing business in the world. With customer-driven innovation, the company has protected homes, businesses, families, and communities for over 130 years. GAF is committed to making its products better, stronger, safer and in more sustainable ways that are faster and easier to install.

Northumbrian Water

Industry Challenge Owners

Northumbrian Water provides water and sewerage services to 2.7 million people in the north east of England. The major population centres of Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside are in our area but we also serve large rural areas in Northumberland and County Durham (provision of wastewater services only in Hartlepool).

O’Neills Irish International Sports Co. Ltd.

Industry Challenge Owners

O’Neills is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Ireland, employing over 800 staff across the island. Established in 1918, O’Neills specialise in the design, manufacture, personalisation, and supply of performance multi-sportswear globally. The brand is synonymous with quality, combining cutting edge leading sportswear design and customer service excellence. Its business is based on over one hundred years of innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit and empowering athletes to achieve their best. O'Neils is constantly innovating, thinking ahead, responding and improving.

Safran Landing Systems

Industry Challenge Owners

Safran Landing Systems is the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems. It is a partner to 30 leading commercial, military, business and regional airframers. It supports more than 31,200 aircraft making over 73,000 landings every day. Company capabilities encompass the full life cycle of our products, ranging from design and manufacture to in-service support, testing, repair and overhaul.


Industry Challenge Owners

Offering delicious great quality food at competitive prices has been at the heart of what Sainsbury's does since John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury opened the first store in 1869. Today, inspiring and delighting our customers with tasty food remains the priority and Sainsbury's purpose is clear - driven by a passion for food, together Sainsbury’s serve and help every customer.

Tech Sponsors

Technology providers have the opportunity to play a crucial role in the transformation of the manufacturing industries by driving innovation and development through the use of their products in collaboration with large manufacturing customers and startups to solve business challenges.

Software AG

Tech Sponsors

Software AG began its journey in 1969, the year that technology helped put a man on the moon and the software industry was born. Today its infrastructure software makes a world of living connections possible. Every day, millions of lives around the world are connected by our technologies. A fluid flow of data fuels hybrid integration and the Industrial Internet of Things. By connecting applications on the ground and in cloud, businesses, governments and humanity can instantly see opportunities, make decisions and act immediately. Software AG connects the world to keep it living and thriving.


Tech Sponsors

Thousands of businesses, organisations and agencies rely on Verizon’s network leadership and deep understanding of technology. Verizon has a track record of helping teams big and small with products and solutions that are flexible, reliable and secure. Digital transformation begins with a partner you can trust.


Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is a programme delivered by Digital Catapult, funded by UKRI through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the national Made Smarter movement.

Digital Catapult


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 the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

UKRI Industrial Strategy Fund


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. It operates across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government and charities.

The UKRI vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally. It’s mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good.

UKRI continues to support the research and innovation community to navigate the transitions associated with the exit of the UK from the EU.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aims to bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It was designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation.

Made Smarter


Made Smarter is a national movement to drive growth amongst UK makers and advance the UK economy. Backed by world-renowned businesses and the UK government, it will improve the development and adoption of emerging technologies. Making a real, everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor.

The Made Smarter Review outlines there is £455 billion value-add into the UK economy by adopting industrial digital technologies, increasing manufacturing sector growth between 1.5-3% per annum, with a 25% improvement in productivity and a 4.5% reduction in greenhouse gases.

Community Partners

Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Community Partners help deliver a bigger impact and build a stronger manufacturing community.