First of a Kind 2022 Winners Announced

Posted on: 14/11/2022

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK are delighted to announce the first set of winners for the First of Kind (FOAK) 2022 competition. Winners will receive funding to help develop novel technology which improves rail freight services and lowers carbon emissions from trains.

To demonstrate and highlight the UK Government’s continuous commitment to improve and transform rail travel for passengers, we will be announcing the winners below, with projects creating a greener railway and freight network, cost efficiencies and improved network performance, plus those focussed on lowering emissions.

FOAK has been funded by DfT and managed by Innovate UK, delivered in partnership with Innovate UK KTN, since 2017/18 to help overcome barriers that can make it difficult for new entrants to bring novel technologies to the rail market. Funding is provided through competitions, with successful bidders partnering with rail industry bodies to develop and test products that can then be offered for sale.

Mike Biddle, Executive Director for Net Zero at Innovate UK, said: “The innovations funded though this competition will help to deliver a greener, lower-emissions railway carrying increasingly higher proportions of the U.K.’s freight. Delivered by Innovate UK, on behalf of the Department for Transport through the Small Business Research Initiative, it seeks the best and brightest ideas. Companies from all over the UK have demonstrated the quality of their innovations in previous rounds of this scheme. Now we will support even more innovations to help deliver a greener railway that benefits passengers, employees and customers for rail freight.

Winners include:

  • G-Volution – using fuel cells to make auxiliary power in trains cleaner
  • Varamis – transforming high-speed rail logistics to send parcels
  • PathPlanner – making rail freight an easier option
  • Hack Partners – automating freight access right management and spot bidding using novel software to drive the shift from road to rail
  • TDI – “Freight Skate”, a self-powered freight bogie and platform
  • Peak to Peak – a rapidly deployable rail stress sensor for next generation freight monitoring
  • EventGo – Intelligent Rail Service Demand Forecasting for Event-based Travel
  • Artonezero – NextGen Data-Driven Timetable Performance Optimisation Tool
  • One Big Circle – Protection and Resilience for overhead lines using Computer Vision Techniques
  • Thales – Fibre Optic Acoustic Sensing Enabled Intruder Detection System
  • University of Sheffield – Rail Flood Defender
  • Govia Thameslink – Optimal Prediction of Sand for Adhesion, reducing delays in wet conditions
  • Focus Sensors – Unauthorised Cable Removal and Fault Triage (preventing cable theft)
  • Trains with Brains – a head to toe monitoring solution
  • Optimising Railway Possessions – simplifying planning and management of worksites
  • Monirail – Portable Track Geometry Measurement System, analysing track damage after incidents to ensure safety
  • Park Signalling – open access real-time signalling data
  • Siemens Mobility – directly connecting large-scale renewable generation to the East Coast Mainline
  • Echion – ultra-high power battery for low emission rail
  • Eminox – Zero Emissions Repowering of Railway Construction Infrastructure
  • WABTEC – Axle mounted motor to recover energy from braking and enable zero emissions in stations
  • WABTEC – Zero Emission Powering of Auxiliary Loads in Stations (to reduce emissions from idling diesel engines)
  • Porterbrook – Emissions Reductions in Closed Stations
  • Siemens – 25kV Battery Train Charging Station Demonstration

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Related Opportunities

Global Centre of Rail Excellence: railway construction innovation

Opens: 21/10/2022 Closes: 14/12/2022

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £575,000 for feasibility studies with projects to propose, deliver and demonstrate Innovation in Railway Construction. Funding is from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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