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Digital Innovation for Growth

Banner image showing logos of Digital Innovation for Growth, European Regional Development Fund, Sheffield Hallam University, Northern Powerhouse and Barnsley Council

Digital Innovation for Growth (DIfG) closed on 30 June 2023. While DIfG is no longer accepting new project requests, both Sheffield Hallam University and Barnsley DMC will continue to support organisations through academic expertise and research, access to facilities, project collaborations and more. 

Free digital support

Digital Innovation for Growth (DIfG) is a free service that helps SMEs in the Sheffield City Region* use digital technology to improve products and services, maximise efficiency and adopt new ways of working.

Our experts can support your business with bespoke research and innovation-based consultancy. We also run free practical workshops and events to help you learn more about new digital technologies and how they can be implemented in your business.

As part of the programme, you can also access prototyping and testing facilities at the DMC MakerLab in addition to the CreatorLab, an exclusive space for audio and visual content creation.

We’re already supporting businesses in the region to advance their technologies. Find out how local SME WorkfromHub improved the efficiency and security of their hub spaces. This has helped streamline their business model and offer a positive workspace experience to their users.

Get in touch

*The programme is available to SMEs across the Sheffield City Region, as well as Chesterfield, North-East Derbyshire, Derbyshire Dales, Bolsover and Bassetlaw.

Two people sat at a computer

Speak to our team today

0114 225 5000

Key areas of support

Our academic experts and business consultants can help you with a variety of techniques and processes including:

  • Artificial intelligence - mirroring human skills and capabilities with technology
  • Data acquisition, monitoring and analysis - sensor technologies inside your system to optimise processes and maintenance
  • Data analytics - understanding and discovering more large and diverse data sets
  • Embedded systems - designing dedicated systems inter-operating with and controlling devices and sensors
  • Interaction design - ensuring that systems are well designed for their users’ needs and experiences
  • Networks and cyber security - ensuring safe, secure and reliable communication and information exchange
  • Smart technologies - digital systems which monitor, learn and adapt to their environment
  • Software engineering - future proofing the design, development and integrity of software
  • System level electronic design and prototyping - a blend of off the shelf system components and custom designed circuitry
  • Systems integration - increase performance, efficiency and quality whilst reducing cost

State Aid and Brexit

*Digital Innovation for Growth (DIfG) is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and support provided by the programme is classified as State Aid, delivered through De Minimis (EC regulation No 1407/2013).

The ERDF programme is covered by Article 138 of the Withdrawal Agreement. This requires that the ERDF programme continues to be delivered in accordance with all applicable EU law for the remainder of the programme. This means the ERDF requirements regarding state aid remain exactly as before the UK left the EU.

However, as of the 1 January 2021, projects must take into account potential cumulation with UK subsidies which fall beneath the applicable threshold (expressed as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)) of the new UK subsidy control regime (as set out under Article 3.2(4) of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”), Chapter 3 (Subsidy Control)).

The total of De Minimis Aid and Special Drawing Rights should not exceed €200,000 as set out in Article 5 of the de minimis regulation.

For example, a company received:

  • €100,000 of de minimis aid in 2019
  • €50,000 of de minimis aid in 2020
  • €25,000 of aid under the SDR system

It has received €175,000 of cumulated aid and may receive no more than €25,000 of de minimis aid within the limit of €200,000 of de minimis aid in three years.

Beneficiary SMEs must fully complete DIfG Form 1 with details of state aid received in the last 3 years to allow assessment of eligibility, taking into account previous de minimis aid and subsidies considered SDRs, before the support commences. You may wish to seek your own expert advice on this.

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