Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9million, 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.
Projects are expected to start by 1 July 2021, must end by 31 March 2022 and can last up to nine months. This project end date is fixed and non-negotiable.
To lead a project, you must:
- Be an organisation of any size registered in the UK, EU, or EEA
- Carry out your project work in the UK
Applicants are welcome from all sectors. You can work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors.
Your project must involve:
- An owner of railway assets (for example stations, rolling stock or infrastructure)
- An experienced railway organisation
- A rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer
These criteria can be met by a single organisation or up to three.
You must also:
- Include a potential integration partner
- Have a letter of support from a potential customer organisation
Innovate UK welcome projects that include either an:
- Innovative start-up supply company that is already delivering in another sector
- Organisation with railway expertise, such as train operating companies, a freight operator, rolling stock manufacturers or operators and infrastructure owners
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.
If you are awarded a contract, you will be required to exhibit your project at the 2022 Innovate UK annual rail exhibition. Innovate UK will provide the space and advise you of any technology you need to organise. You will also be able to lease equipment from the venue through Innovate UK. The date and location of the event will be announced on the KTN website in December 2021. This may be a live or on-line event.
Previously submitted applications
Organisations that have been previously funded for the same or similar innovations will not be eligible for this competition. Applications for this competition need to be materially different from previous funded activities. The decision of Innovate UK and DfT on this matter will be final.
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 total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to take a portfolio approach across two 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:
- Be eligible under scope themes 1 or 2 only
- Have total project costs from £50,000 to £150,000 inclusive of VAT.
- Have a duration of three to six months
Group 2 projects must:
- Be eligible under scope themes 1, 2 or 3
- Have total project costs from £50,000 to £400,000 inclusive of VAT
- Have a duration longer than six months
- Have a maximum duration of nine months
Research and development
Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to research and development services, including solution exploration and design.
Research and development can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration, design, and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.
Research and development does not include:
- Commercial development activities such as quantity production
- Supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
- Integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes
Innovate UK will not fund projects that:
- Are not likely to be successfully exploited by the rail industry to deliver benefits to rail or light-rail organisations and their customers
- Are not within a year of being ready for market
- Do not create a significant change in the level of innovation available in the rail industry
- Are not well-developed technology or do not have low technical risk
- That cannot effectively deliver a demonstration within a railway environment
- Do not deliver an immersive, innovative demonstrator in a railway context
- Do not feature a demonstration phase, offering the customer a chance to use the innovation and give feedback
- Have total eligible costs or project terms outside of the eligibility guidance
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.
Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.
Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.
We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.