How to submit a GovTech Catalyst challenge

How public sector bodies can submit a challenge for the £20 million GovTech fund.

Follow these steps to submit a challenge.

  1. Make sure your challenge meets the challenge criteria.

  2. Make sure your organisation commits to the challenge owner responsibilities.

  3. Answer the questions in the challenge submission form - submit your form by midnight on 12 November.

Apply now

Make sure your application:

  • is from the main contact person for your challenge
  • has the backing of the director or senior organisation representative supporting your challenge proposal

Organisations can submit more than one challenge in each round.

Contact the GovTech Catalyst (GTC) team with any questions at

You can also sign up for a live webinar on 26 October where the GovTech team will answer questions on challenge round 3.

Challenge selection criteria

Your challenge must meet the following criteria:

  1. The challenge must solve a current service or policy delivery problem that you understand very well. Avoid explaining the solution you want.

  2. The challenge must meet a clearly defined user need.

  3. Your challenge must require technology innovation to solve it - if there’s a solution that’s already understood and available on the market, use your organisation’s existing procurement process.

  4. Other organisations beyond yours will benefit from solving this challenge. We recognise that some technology innovation solutions may be more transferable than others.

  5. Your challenge must be the right size to respond to a feasibility budget of £50,000, with prospective solutions ready to buy with £500,000 of further investment.

Assessment scoring

This is how your challenge will be scored.

Criteria Maximum possible points
The challenge describes an important public sector problem which could result in a new digital solution from business with a significant improvement in efficiency, policy or cost reduction for the public body. Yes/no
Demonstration of evidenced, clear user needs within the scope of public policy. 40
Understanding of the market, including approaches that have been tried in the past, in order to demonstrate the opportunity for innovation. 30
Demonstration of an empowered challenge owner team with sufficient time, money and people available to invest in the solution and plans to procure the final product. 30

Challenge submissions are reviewed by experts on:

  • innovation challenges
  • the policy area or the topic the challenge addresses

See the challenge owner responsibilities during the challenge selection phase.

Read about the overall GTC process.

GovTech Catalyst funding rules

GovTech Catalyst funds can only be spent on certain activities and at agreed times.

Eligible activities

GTC funds can be spent on:

  • funding for research and development services contracts for the winning bidders
  • costs of external experts or assessors for phase 1 (the challenge owner and the Government Digital Service will evaluate phase 2)

GTC funds cannot be spent on:

  • internal staff costs
  • staff travel and subsistence
  • costs for staging competition launch events

See the challenge owner responsibilities for more information about the team and budget challenge owners must provide to support their challenge.

Challenge owners are expected to work actively with the GovTech Catalyst team, with Innovate UK and with the solution providers to proactively manage the development process and report on progress toward a solution.

Contract funding and length

Research and development contracts are awarded at phase 1 and phase 2.

This is the amount of funding available and expected time for solution development for each phase.

Phase Funding per challenge Funding per winner Phase duration
Phase 1 Total funding available for each challenge: £250,000 £50,000 for each winning solution (5 solutions per challenge) 12 weeks
Phase 2 Total funding available for each challenge: £1,000,000 £500,000 for each winning solution (2 solutions per challenge) 12 months (including testing by the challenge owner)
Published 21 May 2018
Last updated 9 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Processes updated for Round 3.
  2. First published.