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Catalyst Grant 

Get your idea off the ground with a Catalyst Grant of up to £25,000

At Digital Science, we want to support your innovative research software ideas. So, if you’ve got an idea to help further scientific research, then we’ve got the funding and resources to bring it to life.



What we’re looking for

We like original, early stage software ideas that help benefit scientific research.

What we offer

We offer grants of up to £25,000 to help take your idea from concept to prototype.

Tell us about your idea

Submit your application and you’ll be on your way to bringing your idea to life.


Our grant explained in 60 seconds



Your application

Catalyst Grant ideaTo apply, send us a proposal of a max of 1,500 words (with diagrams) including the following:

  • a description of the product or innovation
  • an explanation of how it would benefit scientific research
  • background information, including competitor information
  • a timetable for its development
  • a budget breakdown and how you would spend the funds

Awards are considered twice per year, once in June and once in December.



The selection process

We rigorously evaluate applications and aim to get back to you with an initial response within three weeks.

Catalyst Grant selection processApplicants who pass this stage will be invited to present their idea to the Digital Science team. This can be done remotely (phone or video conference) or in person at our office in London or Boston. Following this, we will make our final decision.

Priority will be given to applicants whose ideas are truly innovative and who make the strongest case on how to make effective use of the grant. It’s that simple.



Our growing list of grantees…Catalyst Grant winner

Alok Tayi, TetraScience

An open Internet-of-Things start-up aiming to accelerate the pace of scientific research

“This funding enables us to pursue our vision of a cloud-based laboratory that can dramatically accelerate scientific discovery.  Additionally, we see this award as an opportunity to collaborate with the Digital Science team and portfolio companies based in Boston’s Kendall Square.”


Michael Schmidt, Nutonian   

Creating a Robotic Scientist to See Patterns in Massive Data Sets

According to Michael Schmidt, CEO at Nutonian, Inc. and a former researcher at Cornell University, we often take the massive complexity in the world for granted. That’s why Schmidt is working on a new direction in artificial intelligence – the creation of a “robotic scientist” that can identify patterns in massive data sets unseen to the human eye. He and his team at Nutonian have set out to map the world’s data sets, calling it the “data genome project”. The goal is to collect one million data sets in the first year, analyze them in the cloud, find out what hidden equations lie in them and link them together. This innovative process will reveal road markers that will allow scientists to look back and see what they say about science and data in general. Schmidt says that “the Catalyst Grant Program has been instrumental, and that we wouldn’t have been able to do the project without it”.


Reuben Robbins

Transforming neurocognitive research through technology

Reuben Robbins, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, studies the neurocognitive aspects of HIV through research and neurological testing that requires extensive manual processing. Robbins realized that the interactive nature of the electronic touchscreen could reduce most of the manual processing and an online database could make test results available to his peers globally – transforming research in the field. The new platform affords clinicians instant results and eliminates manual processing to save time and ensure consistency. According to Robbins, funding typically comes through the federal government and is a slow process. “The Catalyst Grant is intellectual and emotional support with fast and flexible funding.”


Nathan Jenkins and Alberto Pepe, Authorea

Dynamic content and data-driven figures for scholarly papers  

Nathan Jenkins and Alberto Pepe, of the University of Geneva and Harvard University respectively, cofounded Authorea to bring the modern capabilities of the Web to the previously staid world of scholarly publishing. The Web at some level has transformed most mediums, but the scholarly paper has remained a mostly static document, until now. Authorea allows researchers to dynamically present insights and collaborate on research data in real-time, and gives readers the ability to interact with source data directly. For the first time, scientists will be able to not only read a scholarly piece, but easily understand how the researchers came to their conclusions based on the data, and use it themselves in future studies.


Watch our grantee stories

“Catalyst Grant is intellectual and emotional support with fast and flexible funding.”

“The support we got from the grant was instrumental – we wouldn’t have been able to do the project without it.”


Grant FAQs

How many grants are given per year?

We award a minimum of three grants per year. Closing dates for each round are 30 June and 31 December.

If I am selected, does Digital Science own my product/idea?

Nope! We just want to support your idea, so we give you the opportunity to grow and develop it yourself.

Do you help us at all after we get the grant?

Of course, we are here to support you! We have check-ins with you to see how your idea is coming along and give you advice and/or ideas to think about to improve further.

If I am selected, does this mean I am part of the Digital Science portfolio?

No. But it doesn’t mean you won’t be someday! We regularly monitor the market for new and disruptive ideas, so further investment is not off the table.

Can I apply again if I am not selected?

Yes, you are encouraged to apply again if you are not selected.

Who selects the winners?

We have an experienced team of scientists, analysts and industry thought leaders that evaluate all the submissions.

Who can apply?

Anyone with an early stage scientific software idea.

Can I see who I am competing against?

We do not share other competitor’s ideas, without their permission first. We do promote the winner and they are featured on our webpage.

Are there restrictions on how to spend the money?

Funds can be used for any purpose that serves the project, including equipment purchases, software licensing, travel and reasonable living expenses.


Grant Conditions

  • Digital Science does not act as an employer with respect to the grant.
  • The anticipated run time for funded projects is six months, and recipients are required to present their final work to our team.
  • You must ensure that all the necessary legal and regulatory requirements in order to research and develop your idea are met, and all the necessary licences and approvals have been obtained.
  • The grant may be any amount up to a maximum of £25,000. We reserve the sole discretion to determine which applications best address our aims and are, therefore, most worthy of funding and in what amount.
  • Payments will not be made on the grant until the successful applicant has formally accepted the grant, the grant deed and the conditions under which the grant is awarded.
  • You must ensure that the grant is used for the purposes for which it is awarded.
  • By applying for the grant all applicants consent to the use of their personal data by Digital Science for the purposes of the administration of this grant and the application process and any other purposes to which the applicant has consented.
  • All submissions will be treated as confidential.
  • Digital Science’s decision is final and we reserve the right not to correspond on any matter.
  • Digital Science reserves the right to cancel or amend these Grant Conditions Terms as required by the circumstances.
  • These conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Disputes arising in connection with this Agreement shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.