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Open-Call: UK-Germany Digital Catapult Global Challenge: Applying AI and DLT to industrial challenges - pitch to Siemens and CHEP Europe

The Digital Catapult is looking for established UK and Germany based startups to pitch pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions to address core international challenges for the industrial manufacturing sector, with the opportunity to pitch to two corporate challenge owners, Siemens Plc UK and CHEP Europe.

The UK-Germany Digital Catapult Global Challenge will drive international innovation and collaboration and help industry leaders Siemens Plc UK and CHEP Europe explore opportunities around sustainability and new business models and drive change within industrial settings. Six finalists (three from the UK and three from Germany) will be selected to pitch in Germany to a judging panel of high calibre industry and technology experts. While in Germany, the finalists will have opportunities to network and develop business relationships that could lead to potential future collaborations. 

Through the UK-Germany Challenge, Digital Catapult provides the support and expertise that startups and scaleups need to embrace and utilise advanced technologies. Facilitated through collaborating with large corporations it provides the opportunity for these startups to create real-world proof of concepts that can be put into practice.

The competition focuses on two challenges, under the overall theme of 'applying AI and DLT to industrial challenges', set by Siemens Plc UK and CHEP Europe. Both challenge owners are seeking startups to create a solution within the relevant area - applicants can apply to both challenges but must do so separately.

For more information on the individual challenges, please access them below:

Siemens Plc UK: How can artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technologies be used to interpret and share IoT sensor data from industrial manufacturing? 

Siemens Plc UK is a German multinational headquartered in Munich and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe



Through this challenge Siemens Plc UK will be exploring how AI and machine learning (ML) can interpret data to understand customer usage and behaviour, and inform new business models and how distributed ledger technologies can facilitate the sharing of this data from the users to Siemens Plc UK.

Click here to view the Siemens Plc UK challenge in detail

CHEP Europe: Minimising carbon footprints by optimising supply chain logistics with early flexible forecasting of resources. 

CHEP Europe provides a ‘pallet as a service’ concept to a high proportion of the flow of goods from grocery suppliers into retailers across Europe.



CHEP is looking to use its transport scale and visibility to help customers improve truck fill and take unneeded capacity off the roads, with consequential benefits in cost, CO2, pollution, congestion and drivers’ time. Through this opportunity CHEP Europe will challenge AI and ML startups to demonstrate a proof of value based on historical transportation data.

Click here to view CHEP Europe challenge detail

Why get involved?

The UK Germany Digital Catapult Global Challenge is a high profile competition for pioneering AI and DLT innovators. Digital Catapult is looking for six finalists to join (three from the UK and three from Germany) for the final pitch day in Germany. 

Successful applicants will receive: 

  • For selected UK startups, one return flight to Germany with accommodation for one representative per company, for the final pitch day
  • For selected German startups, one return flight to the UK with accommodation for one representative per company, for the semi-finals held in the UK 
  • The opportunity to pitch to key stakeholders within Siemens Plc UK and CHEP Europe and a judging panel of industry experts 
  • The opportunity to meet with key internal stakeholders to discuss a potential collaboration

Following the global challenge conclusion and announcement of winning startups, each challenge owner will determine opportunities for further collaboration with the winning startups through a technology readiness level (TRL) review of the solutions.

Who should apply?

Startups and scaleups, specifically with expertise in fields such as predictive modelling, data analytics, and distributed ledger technologies. Please specify in the application form which component(s) of the challenge are being responded to. 

Applicants should ensure at least one person would be available to pitch ideas at the semi-final pitch day in London on Thursday 26 March and the final pitch day in Germany in late April.

Applicants should note the following events and activities in relation to this challenge: 

  • Sunday 16 February - open call closes
  • Week of 24 February - phone interviews with shortlisted applicants (30-45 mins)
  • Week of 2 March - webinar (2 hours)
  • UK startups - Thursday12 March - pitch readiness workshop (full day)
  • Thursday 26 March - semi-final pitch day in London
  • End of April (TBC) - final pitch day in Germany

Please note application to this open call does not guarantee participation in the above activities but it is recommended to save these dates to ensure that if successful, participation in the global challenge is possible. 

Additional detail

The main focus for applicants should be creating solutions and developing an approach to address the challenge(s), and demonstrate relevant  experience and capabilities. 

All applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Understanding of and response to the open call and challenge
  • Feasibility of the solution proposed
  • Expertise in the areas being addressed
  • Expertise in the appropriate technology areas
  • Applications of successful shortlisted companies will be passed on to respective challenge owners.

Application process

  • The first stage will be based on the open call submission, applications close on Sunday 16 February, midnight (GMT) 
  • Applications that demonstrate existing capability and relevant experience will progress through to the next stage and be invited to take part in a phone interview (30-45 minutes) the week commencing 24 February. 
  • After the phone interviews we will shortlist a number of UK and German startups to take part in the semi-final pitch day in London on Thursday 26 March. Participants will be asked to take part in a webinar briefing with Siemens Plc UK beforehand to ask questions on the challenge and hone pitches
  • UK startups will be asked to participate in a pitch-readiness workshop on Thursday 12 March in London
  • The semi-final pitch day will take place on Thursday 26 March in London, where finalists from both countries will be selected by an expert panel of judges 
  • The final pitch day will be in Germany at the end of April.

The Digital Catapult Global Challenge for UK and Germany has been developed together with the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for International Trade, and is supported by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Science and Innovation Network (SIN). Partners for the project include the Royal Academy of Engineering.