Catalyst Systems Improvements are proposals that have or will have a high likelihood of advancing the state of the art for the innovation platform for Cardano offered by Project Catalyst. Proposals entered in this category must demonstrate improvements in one or more of the following areas:
- Engineering of decentralization and/or distribution of decision-making advances for the Catalyst Voting System
- Systemic improvements (Technical or Procedural) that streamline or otherwise enhances Project Catalyst processes.
- Academic research that clearly defines a known Catalyst-specific problem-space where the intention is to identify facts and/or clearly stated opinions that will likely assist in solving Catalyst-specific problems, or a detailed study of a Catalyst-specific subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding.
- Community assent to promote a previously completed Catalyst System Improvement project from testnet to pre-production OR from pre-production to production.
- Proposals to take a testnet or pre-production candidate to the next stage can only be submitted by the original proposer or the fund operator
-  is NOT a requirement for promotion, and is only applicable if more resources are required to implement in the next stage or the fund operator has not prioritized the candidate release.
Technical proposals that cannot prove that they are feasible in their state of project readiness or which do not demonstrate that high degrees of testing and validation can be, or have already been achieved will not be eligible.
The process for testing and validation is as follows:
- The solution must first be deployed on Catalyst continuous testnet
- It must demonstrate security and stability to the satisfaction of the community, or the fund operator where the community has instructed the fund operator to advance the solution to pre-production
- Unless security and stability flaws are demonstrated during the pre-production environment testing, a production-ready release candidate will be scheduled for the next production deployment window.
In the absence of a community-appointed arbitration committee, it is proposed that an interim committee be formed, made up of representatives from Catalyst Circle and the major Cardano entities, to assist in evaluating the applicability and feasibility of a Catalyst Systems Improvement proposal voted for by the community.
All project output developed or used by the proposer for projects in this category must, as a minimum:
- Be fully open source subject to the conditions of the following approved open source licences (Apache 2.0, MIT License, or equivalent for software code; CC-BY-4.0 Apache 2.0, MIT licenses or equivalent for documentation);
- be universally accessible on a public repository by any community member, by the time the project has completed;
- Be available for use and further development by any person in whatever way they deem fit, without any limitations or encumbrances. If the project output is subject to 3rd party rights, the Proposer must provide a free, perpetual and non-revocable license for the community to use whatever rights belong to such 3rd parties without limitations and for whatever purpose.
- Milestones must clearly include timelines for community review feedback, and standardized testing, and validation as set out in the process stated above.
Where deployment to production would measurably increase Catalyst fund Operator costs, the fund operator is entitled to seek a variation to its operation budget to cover the increased cost of its operations before deployment.