closed Opened: 20 April 2022 | Closes: 08 June 2022
Organisations can apply for a share of £7,610,000, inclusive of VAT, to deliver innovations to address railway priorities across 3 themes.
This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The aim of the competition is to deliver high maturity demonstrations of innovations to the UK railways.
This competition is part of a larger ‘first of a kind’ demonstrator initiative, on behalf of DfT. The initiative aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system. This competition is the sixth in the first of a kind portfolio.
This first of a kind competition has three themes:
- Theme 1 - Low emissions and a greener railway
- Theme 2 - Rail Freight
- Theme 3 - Cost efficiency and performance priorities for a reliable railway (this theme). This will support industry cost efficiency and network performance priorities to support a reliable railway for customers.
It is your responsibility to ensure you are submitting your application to the correct theme for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process.
Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.
This competition closes at 11:00am UK time on the date of the deadline.
Your project can range in size up to total costs of between £150,000 and £250,000, inclusive of VAT for 6 months.
Who can apply
- can start by 1 October 2022
- must end by 31 March 2023
- can last up to 6 months
To lead a project, you can:
- be an organisation of any size
- work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
Applicants are welcome from all sectors.
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 separate organisations.
You must also:
- include a potential integration partner
- have a letter of support signed by a senior individual, from a potential railway customer organisation
Proposals into this competition must already be high maturity at Rail Industry Readiness level 5 or above. You must evidence this as part of your application.
Innovate UK welcomes 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
This competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.
Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists 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 2023 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 us. The date and location of the event will be announced on the KTN website in December 2022. This is anticipated to be a live event.
Previously funded projects
If you have previously been funded for the same or similar innovations, you will not be eligible for this competition. Applications for this competition need to be materially different from previously funded innovations. The decision of Innovate UK and DfT on this matter will be final.
If your online application is assessed as eligible, you may be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place either online or at a designated location. The date and time of your interview will be included in your invitation, with instructions for your presentation.
Text update 20 April 2022: Innovate UK has corrected the project duration to be for 6 months.
For theme 3 - Cost efficiency and performance priorities for a reliable railway a total of up to £2.5million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated. Contracts will be between £150,000 and £250,000, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 6 months. Innovate UK expects to fund between 10 and 15 projects.
The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to:
- adjust the provisional funding allocations between the themes and phases
- apply a ‘portfolio’ approach
The contract is completed at the end of the competition, and the successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
You must select whether you are VAT registered before entering your project costs.
VAT is the responsibility of the invoicing business. Innovate UK will not provide any further advice and suggest you seek independent advice from HMRC.
If you select you are VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT. As part of the application process VAT will be automatically calculated and added to your project cost total. Your total project costs must not exceed £250,000.
Not VAT registered
If you select you are not VAT registered, you must enter your project costs exclusive of VAT and no VAT will be added. You will not be able to increase total project costs to cover VAT later should you become VAT registered. Your total project costs must not exceed £250,000.
Research and development
Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. This lets you incorporate the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.
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