Department for Transport and High Speed Rail partner launch 2023 First of a Kind Rail Competition

Posted on: 11/05/2023

The Department for Transport (DfT) and High Speed Rail partner are launching a new Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.

Innovate UK KTN held a competition briefing event on 14th June – watch the recording here – where attendees heard from the UK Government’s Rail Minister about the funding available and learned about the information needed to develop a project proposal. Asset owners and integrators also spoke at the event, and there was an opportunity for potential applicants to present a two-minute elevator pitch to potential project partners.

The competition aims to develop demonstrators that offer innovations in:

  • Customer Experience
  • Reliable and Easy to Maintain Assets
  • Optimised Train Operations
  • High Speed Rail Systems Installation

The First of a Kind 2023 competition is open for applications from 14th June 2023. The DfT competition strand will close on Wednesday 26th July 2023 at 11:00, and the High Speed Rail competition strand will close on Wednesday 9th August 2023 at 11:00.

Competition details

The overarching principles for FOAK 2023 are Cost Efficiency and Increasing Value for Money.

The DfT competition strand has the following themes and requirements.

Priority themes:

To lead a project, you must:

  • Be an organisation of any size
  • Carry out your project work and demonstration 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 (i.e. stations, rolling stock or infrastructure)
  • An experienced railway organisation
  • A rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer

You must also:

  • Include a potential integration partner
  • Have a letter of support from a potential customer organisation

The High Speed Rail partner competition strand has the following themes and requirements:

Priority themes:

High Speed Rail Systems Installation:

  • Slab Track Installation Processes
  • Cable Troughing and Cable Laying
  • Installation of ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) related equipment.
  • Tunnel Fit Out Installations
  • Electric Multi-Purpose Vehicles Deployment

To lead a project, you must:

  • Be an organisation of any size
  • Deliver a demonstration of your technology

Applicants are welcome from all sectors. You can work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors.

Your project is welcome to involve:

  • An owner of railway assets (i.e. stations, rolling stock, track machinery or infrastructure)
  • An experienced railway organisation
  • A rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer

You must also:

  • Include a potential integration partner

It can be challenging to access railway assets and get permission to make modifications. You are expected to develop your own relationships with railway asset owners and your integration partners.

If you would like help in finding a collaboration partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Transport team.

Briefing event

The competition briefing event on 14th June was recorded on YouTube: watch the recording here.

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Related Opportunities

SBRI: FOAK 2023 High Speed Rail Systems Installation Demonstrations

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SBRI: FOAK 2023 – Reliable and Maintainable Assets Rail Demonstrations

Opens: 14/06/2023 Closes: 27/07/2023

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