Transport Decarbonisation Demonstrators

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million to work with Local Authorities to develop place-based solutions to transport decarbonisation. This funding is from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £2 million

Opens: 27th Nov 2023

Closes: 8th Jan 2024

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Department for Transport (DfT) to invest up to £2 million in innovation projects.

These projects will demonstrate innovative solutions which support the decarbonisation of transport systems within a local area.


The aim of this competition is to support innovative R&D solutions that can demonstrate the potential to:

  • reduce transport carbon emissions in local areas
  • facilitate collaboration between Local Authorities (LA) and businesses

Your proposal must:

  • detail the potential to reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from the existing local transport network
  • demonstrate the consideration of a place-based approach and how the solution proposed best meets the needs and attributes of the selected demonstration area
  • identify the Local Authority capacity to support and be involved with the project
  • illustrate how the innovation activity fits in with, and will support local strategies or plans, such as a Local Authorities’ Local Transport Plan (LTP) or Net Zero strategy
  • provide evidence of Local Authority senior leadership or senior level support for the proposed activity
  • detail how the solution will be demonstrated

On completion of the funded project, you must submit a report

The report must:

  • quantify how the project supported the overall reduction in transport carbon emissions for the selected region or area
  • identify any positive or negative outcomes or impacts as a result of the trial outside of decarbonisation
  • describe the impact of adopting your local or place-based solution
  • indicate whether the demonstrated solution could be replicated elsewhere and if so, where
  • describe the future of the proposal in and beyond the local demonstration

Portfolio approach

Innovate UK want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, geographies and types of place. We call this a portfolio approach.


Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request of between £100,000 to £500,000
  • start on 1 June 2024
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 6 to 10 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • involve a minimum of two collaborative grant claiming partners

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Project team

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead must collaborate with a minimum of at least one grant claiming Local Authority (LA) as part of their project team.

The term Local Authority includes, county councils, district councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs. Regional collaborations coordinated through bodies such as combined authorities are also eligible.

Associated transport bodies such as local transport authorities, integrated transport authorities and sub-national transport authorities will also be eligible. In addition to this, we are allowing National Parks to also apply as a considered LA.

In addition, you can also invite other collaborative partners. To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in the Innovation Funding Service. They are responsible for entering their own project costs and completing their Project Impact questions in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

Local Authorities, or similar organisations as described within the Project Team section, can only collaborate on two separate applications.

Academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTO), charities, not for profits or other public sector organisations can be included as a collaborator in any number of applications.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that are:

  • looking solely at data gathering
  • focusing on large scale infrastructure and not considering a place-based approach
  • maritime projects including shipping and ports
  • based on developing airport infrastructure or urban airports
  • solely focused on on-vehicle developments
  • using vehicles which are not zero-emission
  • using vehicles are that over 7.5 tonne that do not support passenger transport, local authority operations or emergency services

Innovate UK cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Up to £2 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Of the £2 million allocated, up to £1 million will be reserved for rural transport solutions, including national parks and geographies with similar rural-associated transport challenges.

Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the provisional funding allocations
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.