Funding for industrial research and development that integrates new railway technologies in order to address the numerous challenges faced by the rail industry.
Funding body: Innovate UK (IUK)
Maximum value:£ 1,500,000
Innovate UK (IUK) is the UK’s innovation agency and an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It works with people, companies and partner organisations to de-risk, enable and support innovation, and promote UK economic growth.
IUK is working with the Department for Transport (DFT) on this Accelerating Innovation in Rail Competition in order to invest up to £7.9 million to support growth in national and international rail markets. It is a joint initiative with the rail industry and is closely aligned to the DFT’s objectives and the opportunities for innovation identified through the Rail Technical Strategy Capability Delivery Plan 2017 and the Network Rail Challenges.
The integration of new technologies into the railway has the potential to address numerous challenges faced by the industry. It can also open new markets and create a sustainable rail industry that offers better services, journeys and value as a core part of the UK transport system.
For this competition, proposals are sought that address the following two competition themes:
•High-value, low-cost railway innovations ◦Railway rolling stock and infrastructure need to meet the future needs of passenger and freight customers. The railway must therefore make these more reliable, more readily available and easier to maintain.
◦Solutions must be economical, and can be designed to help make better use of existing assets.
•Intelligent trains ◦Capable of operating in a fully autonomous mode under remote supervision, intelligent trains can reduce the railway’s reliance on complex and expensive infrastructure and control systems, and will improve capacity, punctuality and reliability.
IUK will fund a portfolio of projects, including industrial research and experimental development. Proposals should contribute to the high-level programmes developed by the rail industry, and future exploitation is a key priority. Applications should provide evidence of a market need for specific solutions and engagement with potential rail industry customers.
Projects must include proofs of concept and demonstrate how the technology can be applied across the network. They must also account for human behaviour to ensure acceptance by users (rail industry employees or passengers). Applicants are encouraged to discuss requirements in relation to regulations and policy with potential customer organisations prior to finalising submissions.
The lead applicant must:
•Be a UK-based business of any size.
•Carry out the project in the UK.
•Work collaboratively, including with at least one UK-based SME.
Applications are welcome from within and outside the rail sector. Consortia are encouraged to work in partnership with organisations that have rail sector expertise, either directly or in an advisory role. To be considered collaborative, at least two organisations must be claiming grants from IUK. UK research organisations are eligible to be project partners.
International partners are welcome to participate in consortia, but are not eligible for IUK grant funding.
For further information see the website.