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ISCF digital security by design – Software ecosystem development

Overview:

UK-registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £8million for projects to work on the development of the DSbD software ecosystem.

The Digital Security by Design challenge will work with Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), both part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £8million in research and development projects. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

The aim of this competition is to fund a range of projects that work to enrich and expand the Digital Security by Design (DSbD) software ecosystem prior to the availability of commercial hardware. Projects will leverage the DSbD Technology Hardware Prototype (also known as Morello Board) to work on a focused area within a selected and specified software stack or Operating System (OS) or developer toolchain used by a digital system.

Your project must focus on either of the following:

  • Enriching the evolving Morello Stacks
  • Expanding overall support and make available additional DSbD enabled software stacks, toolchains and components

Innovate UK expect to fund a range of projects requesting grant from £200,000 to £1.4million.

Open Date:

04/10/2021

Close Date:

08/12/2021

Digital Security by Design (DSbD) technologies have the capability to safeguard systems from a range of vulnerabilities that are typically exposed through various parts of the software stack. The technologies can also be used to enable new fine-grained memory protection and scalable fine-grained software compartmentalisation mechanisms. These can further isolate data and protect a system’s functionality, starting for the first time from the architectural centre of a memory-managed processor.

The aim of this competition is to fund a range of projects that work to enrich and expand the DSbD software ecosystem prior to the availability of commercial hardware. Projects will leverage the DSbD Technology Hardware Prototype, also known as Morello Board, to work on a focused area within a selected and specified software stack or an Operating System (OS) or a developer toolchain used by a digital system.

Your application must focus on either of the following:

  • Enriching the evolving Morello Stacks
  • Expanding overall support and make available additional DSbD enabled software stacks, toolchains and components

All projects are required to evaluate the performance impact of using DSbD technologies based on specified performance requirements and objectives while taking into account the expected maturity of the specified software stack or OS or developer toolchain. Projects are therefore expected to take a flexible approach in their workplans as appropriate.

Projects will be working with the Morello board prototype that uses an Arm 64-bit Neoverse-based processor that supports the DSbD technologies and provides the concepts of the Capability Hardware Enhanced Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) Instructions (CHERI) protection model.

You must specify your use and need for the Morello boards within the project. You must include scenario analysis between the requirement for the availability of on-premise boards in a limited number, along with any requirement for cloud-based virtualised access to potentially a larger number of boards. Quantities and virtual access considerations for each respective scenario must be specified.

You must show how your project will deliver value and benefit to application developers and the growth of the DSbD software ecosystem. You must describe the availability of project outputs, along with how and whether you will be making them available to others using a Morello board, as software upstreaming would not be feasible. You must describe your route to impact on how project results can be exploited on the availability of commercial hardware.

During your project’s duration, you are expected to interact with relevant groups developing DSbD technologies, and to engage at the DSbD networking workshops organised by the ‘Discribe’ DSbD Social Science Hub+ project.

Innovate UK want to fund a portfolio of projects, that will balance contributions including across:

  • Businesses and research organisations
  • Software stacks and components
  • Enriching the evolving Morello Stacks and expanding overall support

Specific themes

Innovate UK will fund applications that will realise the benefits of DSbD technologies for software development within:

  • OS and developer toolchains, for example, compilers, linkers, debuggers, verifiers
  • Shared libraries and dependent packages
  • Language runtimes
  • Developer frameworks or middleware
  • Other platform services across Linux-based or other open-source operating systems

Your project must:

  • Request total grant from £200,000 to £1.4million
  • Start on or after 1 April 2022
  • End by 31 December 2024
  • Last between 12 and 30 months
  • Carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You are expected to undertake your project using the Trusted Research guidance.

To lead a project or work alone, your organisation must be a UK-registered business of any size or a research organisation

Project team

If a research organisation is the lead on a project, any partners who are non-research organisations cannot receive funding directly from the grant. Research organisation led applications must include letters of support from all partners.

You can find further information in the EPSRC standard guidance.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK-registered:

  • Business of any size
  • Research organisation

Each partner organisation claiming grant must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

Your project can include other partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Partners not claiming grant do not need to be invited into the Innovation Funding Service. Their costs will not count towards the total eligible project costs. You must include letters of support from the partners where appropriate.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must also provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you.

Innovate UK expect all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. Innovate UK will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

Number of applications

Any eligible organisation can lead on one application and can be included as a collaborator in any number of applications.

An eligible organisation taking part as a collaborator in multiple applications must show and specify that they are working on different topics and ecosystem areas.

Previous applications

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

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

Applications to this opportunity are exempt from EPSRC’s repeatedly unsuccessful applicant policy.

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK’s obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. Innovate UK will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see the general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.


Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. Innovate UK are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must make sure at all times that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK need to change the terms of this competition, they will tell you as soon as possible.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £8million to fund research and development projects in this competition.

For research organisation-led projects, 100% of project costs can be claimed at 80% FEC.

If the majority of your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For industry-led projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 80% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 80% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • Up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Please note that the research participation section below only applies to industry-led research projects.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are a Research Technology Organisation, charity, non-profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • Developments which do not deliver benefit to a software developer
  • Not making use of, enable software targeting or benefitting from capability enabled hardware as made available by the Morello board
  • Requiring enhancement of additional hardware capabilities, for example, accelerators
  • Developments that do not clearly require a platform level processor, for example, it supports a memory management unit
  • Dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • Dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

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.