DECaDE-DLT Field Lab


DECaDE is an applied research centre with a remit covering both novel research, and the translation of that research to commercial impact.  Traversing this so called ‘valley of death’ is even more challenging for projects involving decentralized systems, where deployment beyond a lab-based proof of concepts requires co-ordination and buy-in from multiple stakeholders – essentially, spinning up a sustainable eco-system of organisations motivated to engage in a decentralized framework.  This in turn enables DECaDE to study critical socio-technical research questions such as the socio-economic drivers and business cases that represent a key blocker to the creation and adoption of sustainable decentralized platforms.

DECaDE addresses this challenge both through its ready pool of 30+ industry and public sector partnerships excited to engage and collaborate in this space, and crucially, through building its innovation around the Digital Catapult’s DLT Field Labs. The Field Lab is a collaborative process that brings organisations together with innovators and academia to explore the potential of decentralised platforms, de-risking innovation and fast-tracking research translation.

The Field Lab intended to be a safe place for convening multiple demand-side parties simultaneously around a shared industry challenge, to draw upon expertise from the academic, innovator, and regulatory communities in order to create practical solutions to be trailed in near-real-world conditions. This is particularly important for decentralized platforms (e.g. Blockchain) where multiple organizations and communities must spin up prototypes together. 

The primary focus is therefore on identifying and solving coordination problems. Each of these problems requires shared, decentralised digital infrastructure, and pushes the boundaries for solutions with novel socio-economic underpinnings. It is in essence a demand-side accelerator, with a heavy emphasis placed on convening, educating, supporting, and guiding the challenge owners and the innovators.

DECaDE is part-way through its first Field Labs process in the Creative Industries context, and in coming years will run two more to cover two further contexts. Each Field Lab will house (at least): one end-user with a challenge to address or market opportunity to unlock and one commercial development partner with a positive track record, and will be monitored by DECaDE and a Digital Catapult project officer.

As of now, DECaDE Project Teams have discovered different exciting use cases. DECaDE and the Digital Catapult are working to select, and will take forward, a promising use case from one of the thematic projects now underway. 


Responsible innovation framework is an essential component of the DLT Field Lab model employed within DECaDE is the development and application of a Responsible Innovation Framework led by independent experts in the field of Technology Ethics. The purpose of the Responsible Innovation workstream is to embed ethical practices within project teams and hold space for deep and reflective discussions about the ethical implications of the innovations being developed. Although, the primary focus will be the DLT field lab, the framework will be developed which would broadly encompass all projects undertaken at DECaDE. Our independent ethics committee members with wealth of experience in technology and data ethics, law, social sciences and philosophy, together with DC technologists, will help project teams to think about ethical risks, intended and unintended consequences, inclusive stakeholder engagement and the distribution of power and responsibility that occur due to new distributed digital systems. As part of the process, a tailored Responsible Innovation Handbook tool will be developed for the project team to follow as a guideline throughout the field lab process. Facilitating responsible technology adoption by the industries is the primary goal of the DLT field lab.