Research and development funding for businesses in the UK to deliver high-value, low-cost rail solutions or improve user experience through stations.
IUK has allocated up to £9 million to fund collaborative research and development (R&D) projects addressing the competition’s technical challenge.
IUK expects to distribute:
- up to £4.5 million for projects on ‘high-value, low-cost railway innovation’
- up to £4.5 million for projects on ‘improving customer experience through stations’
This is a single-stage competition. Projects should last between three and 12 months. IUK expects the total cost of projects to range from £150,000 to £1 million. It may consider larger projects, but these should be discussed with IUK before making an application.
According to IUK, the integration of new technologies into the railway system 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, better journeys and better value as a core part of the UK transport system.
The Accelerating Innovation in Rail Round 4 Funding Competition will support growth in national and international rail markets. The focus is on improving the potential that exists in UK industry to innovate in the rail and light-rail domains. IUK is particularly looking for novel approaches to the competition challenges that have potential for exploitation in the near-term, and innovations that will deliver real benefits to the travelling public.
Projects must demonstrate a strong route for exploitation and potential to deliver real benefits to rail or light-rail industries. IUK will not fund applications that:
- are early-stage or with low technological maturity;
- have a low probability of exploitation;
- lack a visible route to market.
Although applications proposing the development of smartphone apps are in scope, only a limited number of such applications will be supported.
Proposals must be collaborative, business-led and involve a UK small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Projects must clearly present the benefits to business and the impact on UK and international rail.
All projects must:
- be led by a UK-based business and carried out in the UK;
- include at least one UK-based SME; and
- meet the description of industrial research.
International partners are welcome to participate in consortia, but are not eligible for IUK grant funding.
IUK is looking to fund industrial research, with businesses attracting 50% public funding for project costs (60% to 70% for SMEs). IUK expects to fund industrial research projects with business partners generally attracting up to 50% public funding for project costs (with 60% to 70% for SMEs). The remainder of any necessary costs must be secured from alternative sources.
Summarising, for industrial research, applicants could receive:
- up to 70% of eligible project costs for small businesses
- up to 60% for medium-sized businesses
- up to 50% for large businesses
The funding can be used for collaborative research and development (R&D) projects addressing the technical challenges outlined in the scope. The specific competition themes are:
- High-value, low-cost railway innovations
- Improving customer experience through stations
The Competition is currently closed. It opened at Midday on Monday 20 March 2017. Registration deadline: Midday on Wednesday 10 May 2017 (now passed). Application deadline: Midday on Wednesday 17 May 2017 (now passed).
Details and deadline information for any future rounds will be reported when available.
Further details can be accessed directly from Innovate UK.