Challenge 02: Sustainable Structures

Applications to Challenge 02 have closed. View the Future Industries Demonstrator page to find out about the latest challenges and register your details.

Future Industries Demonstrator

Shaping the future of our urban landscape

This challenge is an urgent call out to all of the London innovators working to reimagine buildings and energy systems for a net zero future.

East London is one of the fastest changing urban locations in the UK and presents the ideal opportunity to demonstrate solutions that make urban areas more sustainable. By reshaping our skyline for a more resilient future here, we can set the standard for resilient cities worldwide. 

This isn’t a call for piecemeal change; it’s a demand for bold, systemic responses that consider the complexity of how different aspects of our built environment connect and interact. 

If you’re an SME working on a solution that addresses one or both of our challenge areas, we want to hear from you.

Building for the Future

The building industry generates 62% of the UK’s waste and 20% of built-environment emissions. We want to support solutions that integrate sustainability into the construction of new buildings or enable the retrofit of existing structures. Proposals should address one or more of the following areas:

  • Updating measurement and communication of the environmental impact of buildings
  • Pioneering materials that are environmentally friendly, durable and cost-effective
  • Breaking down financial barriers to retrofitting at scale
  • Implementing retrofit solutions that enhance energy efficiency and living conditions while reducing costs

Fuelling the Future

The overreliance on fossil fuels puts our collective future at risk. While renewable energy sources exist, we lack the systems and structures to adequately meet consumer needs.
We want to support solutions that create a change in east London’s energy landscape. Proposals should address one or more of the following areas:

  • Reshaping the future of energy by diversifying and enhancing the energy mix
  • Supercharging the capture, storage and management of renewable energy sources
  • Demonstrating the power of micro-scale solutions that empower individuals and businesses to play an active role in sustainability


The Prize

In this five-month programme, you will benefit from direct access to an extensive pool of resources and support designed to open the door to mass market adoption. We’ve assembled experts from across east London’s innovation ecosystem to work hand in hand with your team to build, test and scale up your solution at the urgent pace the climate crisis requires.

Successful applicants will also receive…

Up to £20,000 grant

to supplement scaling plans

£5,000 budget

to support testbed activity

Free co-working space

at Plexal innovation hub or The Loop circular economy hub 

1:1 coaching

with a UCL specialist in circular business, plus connections into wider UCL expertise

What We’re Looking For

This challenge is for solutions that are beyond ideation — from teams that have an understanding of their market and end-users, or have had some initial commercial success, and have demonstrated potential to scale.
Icon representing the criteria

Aligns with one of our challenge impact areas

Icon representing the criteria

At least an early stage prototype

Icon representing the criteria

Fulfils a clear, evidenced market need

Icon representing the criteria

Requires financial or non-financial support to scale

Icon representing the criteria

Created by a London-based SME or startup

This challenge is open to all types of solutions that support the transition to a resilient capital. As well as new tech, we want to uplift innovators who are: building new services and business models; using digital tools to monitor and manage the environment; thinking about climate justice; supporting behavior change; driving opportunities for new economies; and more.

Important: before applying, please download and review the Application Guidance to see the full criteria.

Download application guidance

What is the Future Industries Demonstrator?

The Future Industries Demonstrator (FID) is a mission-led scale up programme focused on supporting London-based enterprises who are working on innovative solutions to tackle the climate crisis. It focuses on the real problems that citizens face in east London and the market solutions that, with investment and tailored support, will accelerate our collective transition to Net Zero and fairer economies.

FID provides pioneering start-ups and SMEs with financial backing, as well as linking them to collaborative networks, workspaces and local knowledge resources that give them the best chance to succeed.

Delivery Partners

Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for

Supporting Partners

Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for
Logo for


The Future Industries Demonstrator is led by SHIFT. We’re a local east London innovation agency with a mission to accelerate innovation that transforms how we live in cities.

One of our key roles is to facilitate access to the internationally recognised testbed at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which innovators can use to test and demonstrate the potential of new solutions. Through our carefully curated ecosystem, we build connections and spark collaboration between startups, corporates, universities, community groups and policymakers.

Need More Info?

You can also sign up to attend our open guidance webinar, which will be held on 28th February at 2-3pm GMT.

Get access to our ecosystem of innovators, opportunities and partnerships in east London.

Join the ecosystem