+44 (0)1509 261182

Development of the Digital Security by Design Software Ecosystem


UK-registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £1.5million for fast-start short-term projects. Funding is to investigate requirements for adoption of Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies across the software development ecosystem.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1.5million to support SMEs working alone to explore and investigate the:

  • Requirements
  • Dependencies
  • Range of potential complexities

associated with the adoption of the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies.

The aim of the competition is to enable the growth of the software ecosystem that will be crucial for the successful adoption of DSbD technologies.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £40,000 and £80,000.

Open Date:


Close Date:


This competition is an opportunity for SMEs working in software development, to investigate the requirements, dependencies and potential complexities associated with the adoption of the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies.

This competition aims to enable the growth of the software ecosystem that will be crucial for the successful adoption of DSbD technologies.

Your proposal must focus on detailed investigation of a problem framed around a system and software stack concept. This could lead to a subsequent implementation that will benefit from the use of DSbD technologies.

Your proposal must:

  • Describe your use case or cases and related scenarios, and explain how your area of detailed investigation will enable a full software stack approach to increased security
  • Show how DSbD technologies will be incorporated into your detailed investigation work
  • Frame your solution under investigation in the context of a full software stack and describe how your work will address identified technical challenges, requirements, dependencies and related complexities
  • Explain how you will use the available Fixed Virtual Platform (FVP) model to inform your detailed investigation, or if you choose not to use it, explain your rationale and justify your decision
  • Explain how DSbD security will enhance your approach to security, qualitatively and quantitatively, and how you will confirm if it is a viable way forward
  • Identify and describe how you plan to overcome any dependence on other technology, ecosystem or business requirement for the transition and adoption of your innovation

You will have access to DSbD’s Morello Platform Model. This is a software-based, Fixed Virtual Platform (FVP) model representation of the DSbD technology platform prototype hardware-based platform. The model will initially be capable of building and running nano Android kernel (reduced headless) and user-space examples.

You will have access to the evolving support software in terms of toolchain, libraries, kernel development and user-space components. You can find additional details and download links in the public software releases and associated documentation.

UKRI are looking to fund a portfolio of projects, featuring a mix of detailed investigation, use cases and technological approaches.

Final project report

Successful projects must submit a final report to UKRI as part of the project close out. This must report your findings, including challenges and lessons learnt during your detailed investigation effort.

A template will be provided by UKRI as part of the project close out documentation. The report will be confidential, and its use will be restricted to DSbD Programme activities within UKRI.

Specific themes

This competition is open to investigation of multiple approaches to applying DSbD security for fine-grained memory protection or software compartmentalisation.

Using a full software stack approach, projects can focus on one or more of the following aspects without intending to be an exhaustive list:

  • Software frameworks
  • Tooling
  • Development environments
  • Operating systems
  • Language runtimes
  • Libraries and ancillary support
  • Middleware

Your project must:

  • Have total eligible costs between £40,000 and £80,000
  • Be no longer than six months in duration
  • Start on or after 1 April 2021
  • End by 30 September 2021

Lead organisation

Your organisation must:

  • Be a UK-registered SME
  • Carry out its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

The lead must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. They must be UK-based SMEs that you normally work with. A subcontractor must be selected through the participant’s usual procurement process. Additionally, the grant recipient must adopt such policies and procedures that are required by Innovate UK, as stated in the grant offer letter, in order to ensure that value for money is obtained in the procurement of goods, services or works funded by the grant. The procurement process must reflect what a participant would typically use concerning its own money, with equal, or greater, vigilance. An inferior process will not be accepted.

Subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs.

Number of applications

You can submit a maximum of two applications.

Previous applications

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

You will not be awarded funding if you have:

State aid

The funding will be made as a de minimis grant.

All applicants for a de minimis award must complete and provide to Innovate UK, a de minimis declaration. This declares any and all de minimis awards, from any source of public funding, during the current and previous two fiscal (tax) years.

Total grant must not exceed 200,000 euros for any one organisation in line with the above de minimis regulations.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £1.5million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

De minimis

In order to minimise distortion of competition, the European Commission sets limits on how much assistance can be given without its prior approval, to organisations operating in a competitive market. Total grant must not exceed 200,000 euros for all de minimis aid provided to any one organisation over a three fiscal year period.

You need to declare any de minimis aid awarded to any other public funding body which requests it. You must also keep all documentation associated with the award for 10 years from the date the award is granted.

Ineligible costs

Capital usage costs are not allowed in this competition.


SMEs can self-fund their project beyond their allowable total eligible costs.

The total self-funded contribution must not exceed £160,000. The SME must identify and quantify this self-funding for additional project activities.

Innovate UK are not funding projects:

  • That are not allowed under de minimis regulation restrictions
  • That are not based on using DSbD capability hardware extension technologies
  • That are not based on use cases benefiting from DSbD security and do not describe a full software stack approach to increased security
  • That do not focus on a detailed investigation

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.