Your chance to Innovate and Win £2,500

The Digital Innovation Challenge, in association with the University of Manchester, aims to showcase and recognise the capabilities of students in digital innovation. A prize of £2,500 will be given to the individual or team that presents the best innovation to meet any challenge relating to Industry 4.0 (Smart Manufacturing).

This competition offers students the chance to present in front of a panel of Industry 4.0 experts as well as exhibit at the Factories of the Future Expo. A fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your innovation and network with companies, investors, employers and individuals from government and academia.


Reza Gheisari
Loughborough University

Nik Ramzi & Team
The University of Manchester

Billy White
Manchester School of Art

Yannick & Julian Treichel
Institute of Communication and Leadership, Lucerne  &
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Alex Agboola-Dobson & Team
The University of Manchester


10:30 Introduction of the competition and the judges by Dr. Yvonne Hung, Business Engagement Officer, University of Manchester

10:40 Pitch 1 | Alex Agboola-Dobson & Team (The University of Manchester)

11:00 Pitch 2 | Nik Ramzi & Team (The University of Manchester)

A chance to walk around the Factories of the Future Expo, attend the Open Technology Forum, see the many exhibitor demonstrations and network at lunch.

14:30 Introduction of the judges by Dr Yvonne Hung, Business Engagement Officer, University of Manchester

14:40 Pitch 3 | Billy White (Manchester School of Art)

15:00 Pitch 4 | Yannick & Julian Treichel (Institute of Communication and Leadership, Lucerne & University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)

16:00 Presentation to the winner by Stephen Dyson, Special Operations Manager, Europe, Protolabs, UK


What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is a term that describes the next technological breakthroughs that will power the next industrial revolution. It’s about connectivity, between people, machines and devices, analysing large volumes of ‘Big Data’ to boost efficiency, working with cobots (collaborative robots which work closely with humans), using augmented reality and 3D printing. It’s about making industry smarter, more flexible and more efficient.


The 2018 competition is open to both individuals and teams. Teams can contain up to six people but the team must be either current students (undergraduate or postgraduate from any Higher Education Institution) or have graduated after June 2013.

Judging Criteria

We are looking for innovative applications that can be developed for industrial use. The expectation is that your solution will be more than an idea and you will have developed this into a prototype or further.

  • Innovation and novelty
  • Relevance to Industry 4.0
  • Practicality
  • Market opportunity
  • Presentation skills

Submission Details

Applicants must submit a 250 word summary and a 30-60 second video. The video does not need to be professional (using mobile phones is fine).


The competition takes place in 2 stages:

  1. First round
  2. Final round

In the First round, up to 8 entries will be shortlisted and invited to the Final round.

The Final round will be held at the Industry 4.0 Summit on Wednesday 28th February in front of a judging panel.  This will be a 15 minute presentation followed by up to 10 minutes of questions from the panel.

1. First Round

The deadline for competition entry is Monday 22th January 2018 at 23:59Hrs.

The judges will evaluate the viability of your innovative solution based on the information provided in the 250-word summary and 30-60 second video.

Entrants can submit more than one entry, but remember this is not an ideas competition and the judges will be assessing how well developed your innovative solution is.

All finalists will be notified by 5pm, Wednesday 31st January 2018. An email will be sent to the lead entrant only, who will need to confirm within 48 hours that they can present to the panel as specified.

2. Final Round

Each finalist will be asked to present to the Final Round Judging Panel.  Each presentation will last no more than 15 minutes and will be followed by up to 10 minutes of questioning.  The presentation can be in any format. A table, projector and laptop will be provided. At least one member of the submitting team must attend and make the presentation. Any Finalist not able to present for any reason will be disqualified from the competition.

Presentations will take place at Manchester Central on Wednesday 28th February between 10am-5pm.

The exact timings of finalists presentations will be confirmed in February 2018.

Exhibition Space

All finalists will be offered a space to exhibit their solution at the Factories of the Future Expo which runs alongside the Industry 4.0 Summit. Details will be provided.

Competition Schedule:

  • Competition opens: 17th Nov 2017
  • Submission deadline : 22nd Jan 2018
  • Finalists will be announced: 31st Jan 2018
  • Finalist Presentations: 28th Feb 2018


To enter the UoM Digital Innovation Challenge 2018, email the following two documents to by the deadline of Monday 22th January 2018 at 23:59Hrs.

  1. UoM Digital Innovation Challenge 2018 Entry Form and Executive Summary (UoM DIC – Entry Form Word doc)
  2. Video [max 60 seconds, acceptable formats MP4, FLV, MOV, AVI]

These documents should be sent as attachments within one e-mail. If your attachments exceed the maximum file size of 10MB please contact for alternative arrangements.