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SBRI rail demonstrations: first of a kind 2020

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
13 Jan 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
04 Mar 2020, 12:00
04 Mar 2020, 12:00
We expect to fund projects with total eligible costs between £100,000 and £400,000, including VAT. Successful projects will be 100% funded.
Innovate UK

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition and is open to organisations of all sizes from the UK, EU, or EEA.

The aim of the competition is to demonstrate innovations to stakeholders and railway customers in a representative railway environment.

This competition has 4 themes:

  • environmental sustainability
  • customer experience
  • optimised railway operations
  • optimised and cost-effective maintenance

We expect to fund projects with total eligible costs between £100,000 and £400,000, including VAT.

Projects must plan to start by 1 July 2020 and can last no more than 9 months. All work must be completed by 31 March 2021. This completion date is fixed and non-negotiable.

If your project’s total costs fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will then decide whether to approve your request.

You can work alone or collaborate with others as subcontractors.

To lead a project you can be an organisation of any size, and must carry out your demonstration work in the UK.

Applicants are welcome from all sectors. Your project:

  • must involve an owner of railway assets (such as stations, rolling stock or infrastructure), an experienced railway organisation and a rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer (this can be the same organisation or 3 separate organisations)
  • must include a potential integration partner
  • must have a letter of support from a potential customer organisation
  • will ideally include an innovative start-up supply company that is already delivering in another sector
  • will ideally include an organisation with railway expertise, such as train operating companies, a freight operator, rolling stock manufacturers or operators and infrastructure owners

We understand it may be a challenge to access railway assets and get permission to make modifications. We expect you to develop your own relationships with railway asset owners.

To aid you in building your consortium we recommend you:

  • attend the competition briefing and consortium-building events (see below)
  • contact the Knowledge Transfer Network
  • contact railway organisations such as the Rail Industry Association

To contact our Transport team, click here.

The aim of this competition is to demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into a railway environment for the first time (‘first of a kind’ demonstrations). It aims to encourage innovation in the rail industry through the use of novel technologies (for example automation) and innovative uses of data. We will help innovative suppliers 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, for instance:

  • within a railway station
  • in rolling stock
  • on railway infrastructure
  • in the environment close to the railway

We may also consider demonstrators in settings highly representative of these environments.

There are three briefing events planned, one of which will also be available online:

21 January – London.  As part of the Department for Transport, Innovate UK and KTN Rail Innovation Expo, a competition briefing will be held in the morning.  Click here to register – you will be able to attend just the briefing or also visit the Rail Innovation Expo.

21 January – webcast.  If you’re unable to attend any of the briefings in person, the London event will be webcast.  You can register to join here.

23 January – Manchester.  Click here to register.

29 January – Cardiff.  Click here to register.

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