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 challenge submission questions.

  4. Email your answers to the GovTech Catalyst team at by the challenge submission deadline.

Make sure your email:

  • is from the main contact person for your challenge
  • copies in 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

Challenge design 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. Your challenge must require technology innovation to solve it - it can’t have an obvious solution, or have a solution already available on the market.

  3. Other organisations beyond yours will benefit from solving this challenge. We recognise that depending on the technology innovation developed, some solutions may have potential beyond the original challenge or may not be transferable.

  4. Your challenge must be the right size to respond to a feasibility budget of £50,000, and that the solutions will be ready to buy with only £500,000 of further investment.

  5. If your challenge is solved, your organisation would buy the solution.

Use your organisation’s existing procurement process for challenges for which the solution is already well understood.

Assessment scoring

Challenge submissions are reviewed by:

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

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 client-side team with sufficient time, money and people available to invest in the solution and plans to procure final product. 30

See the challenge owner responsibilities during the challenge selection phase.

Read about the overall GTC process.

Challenge submission questions

To submit a challenge for consideration, answer these questions as clearly and specifically as you can.

  1. Give the applicant organisation name and address, contact details.

  2. Summarise your challenge proposal in the form ‘How might we ___ ?’ For example: ‘How might we tackle traffic congestion using data and emerging technologies?’

  3. Describe a public sector challenge that you would like to address. You could use a problem statement in the form: ‘We have a public policy commitment to ___, and ___ currently works well. However, it is difficult to ___ because ___. ‘

  4. Describe the kinds of users you imagine for the solution, inside and outside your organisation. Describe what each kind of user needs to accomplish, and some positive and negative experiences they currently have.

  5. Describe the impacts on your organisation of a successful solution. You might include cost savings (financial value), policy results (social value) or improved services for people (user value).

  6. Which other organisations (local, national or international) have this or a similar problem? How have other organisations tried to solve this?

  7. Describe the suppliers of potential solutions to this challenge. You might want to list some of the more prominent solution providers who you think have tackled this issue, even in another context. In what ways are existing market solutions not sufficient to meet this challenge?

  8. List any other organisations or sources of investment you plan to work with during the challenge.

  9. Tell us about the people, facilities, money and data that you can make available to invest in a solution to this challenge. Separate your estimates for what you generally expect to provide during the phase 1 prototyping and phase 2 development stages.

  10. Describe your resources and process for investing in the procurement of the full solution, provided that it is successful.

GovTech funding rules

GovTech 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.

Maximum contract amount 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 duration for each phase.

Phase Funding per challenge Funding per winner Phase duration
Phase 1 Total funding available for each challenge: £250,000 Up to £50,000 for each winning solution (up to 5 solutions per challenge) up to 12 weeks
Phase 2 Total funding available for each challenge: £1,000,000 up to £500,000 for each winning solution (up to 2 solutions per challenge) up to 12 months (including testing by the challenge owner)

Funding amounts for each phase will be approved by the GTC board.

Published 21 May 2018