DAERA announces pioneering Net Zero Accelerator Program

Date published: 29 November 2023

DAERA has announced a new innovation programme to provide local businesses the opportunity to access the UK's world class technology community to tackle challenges they face in the drive towards Net Zero.


The Department is to partner with Digital Catapult Northern Ireland, to support the launch of their Tenfold NetZero Accelerator Programme. The programme aims to help in the delivery of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reductions locally as required under the Climate Change (Northern Ireland) 2022 Act (the Act) and so contribute to the UK Government’s target of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The programme, the first of its kind in the UK, will offer local business the opportunity to access the UK's world class technology community to assist on their journey to reduce GHG emissions and contribute to the UK’s drive towards Net Zero.  The one-year pilot will be open to business in all sectors for which DAERA has policy responsibilities.

Digital Catapult is seeking to recruit up to six industry partners with whom they will work to scope and define a specific business challenge they face in reducing GHG emissions. It will connect each industry partner with innovative technical solution providers to develop a proof of concept as a first step towards addressing the challenge, utilising advanced technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and virtual and augmented reality technology.

The Programme will also enable access to research facilities and expert technologists, both in NI and GB. Industry partners must each be able to contribute £20,000 of funding towards the development of the solution to their challenge.

DAERA is supporting this initiative as part of the implementation of its Innovation Strategy. Pauline Rooney, Director of Innovation and Science Transformation and DAERA’s Innovation Champion said: “I welcome the opportunity to partner with Digital Catapult on their Tenfold Net Zero Accelerator programme, which will enable local businesses to access Digital Catapult’s expertise in innovation.  I hope that through the programme we can encourage the development of new innovative proposals which will contribute to delivering sustainable climate action solutions and which will benefit local business in their drive to achieve Net Zero.”

William Revels, Managing Director at Digital Catapult NI, said: “We are delighted to be working with DAERA on this pioneering innovation programme for Northern Ireland. The outputs of the challenge-led accelerator programme will help create sustainable business models in the agricultural, marine and environmental sectors across Northern Ireland and create a model for future innovation programmes across the UK.”

DAERA and Digital Catapult are committed to driving economic growth by encouraging industrial adoption of innovative new solutions to help companies increase their competitiveness and resilience through a focus on sustainability alongside digitalisation, and this programme will demonstrate the value of strategic collaboration between key partners to meet this objective.

If interested in becoming an industry partner or to find further information on this opportunity, please visit: digicatapult.org.uk or contact: Sue.McGuire@digicatapult.org.uk

Notes to editors: 

  1. DAERA will contribute up to £250k to support Digital Catapult deliver the Tenfold Net Zero Accelerator programme in Northern Ireland.
  2. The DAERA Innovation Strategy was published in April 2021 and focuses on two aspects: (i) the establishment of an enabling environment within DAERA to support innovation and the implementation of innovation actions within the Department; and (ii) the development of an enabling, external environment to encourage and support the implementation of innovation actions across the sectors it serves. The DAERA Innovation Strategy will support the development of an innovation ecosystem which helps deliver for Northern Ireland’s environment, societal wellbeing and rural economy in line with the NI Executive’s Green Growth Agenda.
  3. Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, they accelerate industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy. They work with a range of organisations – including start-ups and scaleups, established businesses, investors, government and the public sector, research and academia – to discover new ways of solving industry challenges, increase productivity and open up new markets. Digital Catapult is part of the Catapult Network that supports businesses in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services. Established by Innovate UK (UK’s national innovation agency,) Digital Catapult is the only Catapult with a regional office in Northern Ireland.
  4. The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, which came into effect in June 2022, sets an ambitious target to reduce Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to Net Zero by 2050.
  5. Follow DAERA on X/ formerly called Twitter and Facebook.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk or telephone: 028 9052 4619.
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top