Businesses can apply for a share of £720,000, plus VAT, to develop a demonstrator for automated railway structure gauging processing.
This is phase 1 of a two-phase Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition open to organisations of all sizes based in the UK, EU or EEA. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1.
Network Rail will invest up to £720,000 (plus VAT) in phase 1 of this competition. An extra £1,080,000 (plus VAT) will be available for phase 2. This will support the development of a technological demonstrator for automated structure gauging processing. The competition process is managed by Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation.
The competition also supports the objectives of Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (CP6) funding strategy for research and development.
Gauging is the process through which Network Rail ensures adequate clearance between passing trains and lineside objects and features. The objective of this competition is to:
- Demonstrate innovations to Network Rail that will enhance the interpretation of point-cloud data
- Provide accurate information on the location and identity of trackside features to enable accurate gauging clearance processing
The two phases will have the following objectives.
- Training the application
- Categorising 10 types of structure
- Demonstrating the application
- Analysis and recording of structures
For phase 1, your project’s total eligible costs must be up to £90,000 plus VAT. Phase 1 projects must plan to start by May 2020 and end by July 2020. Innovate UK expect to fund up to eight phase 1 projects.
Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2. Innovate UK will monitor changes between your phase 1 and phase 2 submissions. Innovate UK will not accept unjustified major changes in the project team or costs at phase 2.
For phase 2, your project’s total eligible costs must be up to £360,000, plus VAT. Innovate UK expect to fund up to three phase 2 projects. Phase 2 projects must plan to start by September 2020 and last up to 12 months.
Your organisation must:
- Be an organisation of any size
- Be based in the UK, EU, or EEA
Your organisation can work alone or, if you do not have all the required expertise, you can work with others as subcontractors. Successful applicants will be expected to support quarterly progress meetings held in the UK.
Project teams must include organisations with expertise in infrastructure inspection, surveying and measurement.
Innovate UK expect your demonstration to focus on data from an operational railway environment. If your organisation is new to the rail sector, we would encourage you to partner with organisations with appropriate rail experience. However, you will need to develop your own relationships with organisations with appropriate expertise.
To get help building your team, you may want to:
Innovate UK have allocated up to £720,000 plus VAT to fund innovation projects in phase 1. Successful projects will be 100% funded. The funding is provided by Network Rail and the competition process is managed by Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation.
Applications must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for research and development (R&D) services. For this competition, your application should focus on prototyping and field-testing your product or service in a representative railway environment.
R&D 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
For this competition, Innovate UK and Network Rail will use a portfolio approach to maximise the benefit of the investment of public funding. The portfolio approach will be based on project costs, including demonstrating value for money.
Innovate UK do not fund projects that:
- Cannot be successfully exploited by the rail industry to deliver benefits to rail or light-rail organisations and their customers
- Do not create a significant change in the level of innovation available in the rail industry
- Are not high maturity
- Have high technical risk
- Are collaborations that cannot deliver an effective demonstration in a railway environment
- Do not have a demonstration phase, offering the customer a chance to use and give feedback on the innovation
- Include anything that presents a risk to the operational railway or safety of workers
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.