Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9 million inclusive of VAT, to develop demonstrators that: increase customers’ confidence and enhance experience, deliver a railway that is easy to use, offer low emissions and a greener railway
Programme: Innovate UK
Award: Share of up to £9 million
Opens: 8th Feb 2021
Closes: 10th Mar 2021
The aim of this competition is to demonstrate innovations to stakeholders and railway customers in a representative railway environment.
This competition is part of a larger ‘first of a kind’ demonstrator initiative, on behalf of DfT, to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system. This competition is the fifth in the first of a kind portfolio.
The aim of this competition is to demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into a railway environment for the first time as ‘first of a kind’ demonstrations.
It aims to encourage innovation in the rail industry using novel technologies, for example automation and innovative uses of data. Innovate UK will help innovative suppliers to take the final step to market readiness.
Your project must create a highly interactive and innovative demonstrator. This should be in an environment where railway customers and industry representatives can witness the product as a compelling business proposition.
Example environments can include:
This list is not exhaustive, Innovate UK may also consider demonstrators in settings highly representative of these environments.
Your project must:
You must provide relevant proofs, showing your innovation can attract customers, get insurance, supply warranties, and attract financing.
The relevant proofs are:
You must demonstrate potential benefits to passengers and customers, including:
Theme 1: Increasing customers’ confidence and enhancing their experience
Increasing confidence in rail services, attracting back customers and welcoming new customers by providing assurance that travel by train is safe, and making it an enjoyable and productive experience.
Theme 2: Easy to use for all
Making it easier for passengers to plan and manage their journey so as to reduce stress, exclusion and time lost. Personalised services and assistance, where requested, to make using rail as seamless as possible. Providing these in a way that minimises crowding and reliance on fixed information points for passengers.
Theme 3: Low emissions and a greener railway
Delivering a more sustainable, greener railway. Innovations in traction and non-traction decarbonisation, on-site decarbonisation, energy generation, noise reduction, biodiversity, light-weighting, the use of cleaner energy systems, carbon modelling, targeting specific ‘problem’ locations, reducing pollution from diesel trains and retro-fit options.
This competition will not fund projects that:
Note that although software (also known as applications) for mobile devices may be in scope, only a limited number of these projects will be supported.
Projects are expected to start by 1 July 2021, must end by 31 March 2022 and can last up to 9 months. This project end date is fixed and non-negotiable.
To lead a project, you must:
Applicants are welcome from all sectors. You can work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors.
Your project must involve:
These criteria can be met by a single organisation or up to three.
You must also:
Innovate UK welcome projects that include either an:
Contracts will be awarded only to a single legal entity. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can employ specialist consultants or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.
A total of up to £9 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition. Successful projects will be 100% funded. The funding is provided by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The funders have the right to take a portfolio approach across 2 project groups and all scope themes.
Innovate UK will assign your project to a group dependant on your total project costs and duration.
You must select which scope theme you are applying for. If a project covers more than one theme, choose one where most of the work is being undertaken.
Group 1 projects must:
Group 2 projects must: