Digital Challenge Innovation Tool

The Digital Challenge innovation tool was designed to create partnerships between industry leaders and technology startups, SMEs and mid-caps to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies within the CPS and Embedded Systems sector while addressing some of the key challenges and opportunities across the industry.

Through this open innovation initiative, external organisations have been invited to participate in the programme and support European companies with funding and access to training, sites etc. to develop a solution for a proposed, realistic, challenge.

This is a match funding opportunity where advanced digital technology startups, SMEs and mid-caps are selected through an open call to solve industry challenges set by corporate businesses, the Digital Challenge Owners (DCOs), who are acting as early adopters of CPS and Embedded Systems to address key digitalisation challenges. The selected third parties receive up to a total of Euro 110K programme funding, including co-funding from DigiFed and the DCO, to develop and build new solutions, products and services to match the DCOs business needs. Moreover, the innovators have between 9 and 12 months to develop and test these solutions, ideally at the DCO facility.


Digital Challenge Owners

  • Reduced risks by offering an alternative way of procuring new European suppliers
  • Access to tech innovators, experts to develop a bespoke solution which addresses the business challenge
  • Acceleration of the company’s digital transformation journey
  • Opportunity to learn about new technologies and uncover new markets
  • Opportunity to develop new partnerships with leading Digital Innovation Hubs across Europe
  • Benefits from a de-risked, cost-efficient, and accelerated digital transformation of the business operations, products, and services

Technology Innovators

  • Opportunity to respond to a real-world industry challenge adding a relevant use case to the existing value proposition
  • Opportunity to bid to implement the full solution for the DCO
  • Added value to company’s product, through high-level technical expertise, innovation support and access to pilot sites to deploy the solution
  • Innovation management support focusing on sustainable business development – to help the innovation get to the market via DigiFed and the Smart Anything Everywhere ecosystem
  • Access to Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) services to identify technical partners, commercial opportunities in Europe


DigiFed has designed and implemented an innovative and collaborative scheme which allows large organisations to deeply focus on one challenge at a time, to look for bespoke solutions and European technology innovators to propose CPS based solutions which respond to the DCOs business needs.

DigiFed has engaged with the wider ecosystem, DIH network and extended community and launched various open calls throughout the project lifetime, providing windows of opportunities for applicants across Europe to come forward with innovative ideas to be supported by DigiFed and the Digital Challenge Owners:

Digital Challenge Open Calls outcomes:

  • Onboarded 3 European large organisations as Digital Challenge Owners: GE Hydro France, Acciona from Spain and EDF Hydro France
  • Attracted interest from more than 80 innovators across Europe
  • More than 20 applications have been submitted for the final stage of the open calls
  • 3 proposals have been selected for the 3 proposed Digital Challenges
  • 4 European technical innovators are currently working with the Digital Challenge Owners and DigiFed to develop bespoke solutions
  • Distributed 115k Euro Cascade funding to selected SMEs
  • Leveraged 115k Euro private funding from the DCOs


AIOT System of Systems

GE Hydro France is entering Industry 4.0 and looking for solutions to build an AIOT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) system of systems. Critical success factors identified were time to market, set-up time, deployment costs and solution versatility to the GE Hydro’s Assets families. The selected proposal came from two French companies, CATIE, a digital technology transfer centre that brings the 6TRON platform and its expertise in embedded system design, and Aquila Technologies which brings its industrial know-how and industrial design expertise, who are set to offer a complete IIoT solution with embedded AI enabling rapid and customizable prototyping, designed for scalability and industrialisation.

More information about this project can be found HERE

Next-generation sensors for predictive operation of water treatment

Acciona is looking to establish an end-to-end digital solution for measuring, reporting, and visualising the performance of each reverse osmosis membrane from pressure vessels part of their desalination plants. Acciona is working with Instrumentation Technologies, a high-tech company from Slovenia, with extensive experience in the field of high energy physics and in developing customised Data Acquisition devices, focusing on Sensorics, Data Acquisition and Processing and Communication , to build an end-to-end digital solution to assess the performance of the reverse osmosis  membranes  in  real-time  allowing  Acciona  to  remotely  monitor  these  membranes  continuously, without stopping the operation of the plant.

More information about this project can be found HERE

Drone visual inspection in a confined, metallic, humid, and complex environment

EDF HYDRO seek to improve its turbines’ inspection, reducing time and costs whilst enhancing inspection quality and predictive maintenance. This challenge is critical for business operations because electricity generation is key for modern society. In the winter season, Europe just about satisfies its needs in terms of electricity generation. All the countries are relying on an interconnected electricity grid to respond to the demand. EDF Hydro will be working with ISY map, a French start-up which main expertise is around the conception and realisation of embedded systems for remote and wireless measurements.  ISY map will develop a miniaturised, lightweight, and wireless inspection robot with an ultra-high-resolution camera and strong mobility which will be able to navigate inside small and complex environments.

More information about this project can be found HERE

DigiFed contributes to the European Commission Initiative to help digitize European Industry, the Smart Anything Everywhere Initiative.