SBRI Rail Demonstrations - First of a Kind 2020 competition

Posted on: 07/01/2020

Businesses can apply for a share of up to £9.4m to develop demonstrators for sustainability, customer experience, operations or maintenance.

This Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition aims 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.


Opening on 13 January, the competition has four themes:

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


Projects 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


Applications must demonstrate potential benefits to passengers and customers, including:

  • why customers would buy the product
  • how the funding will help companies in the consortium grow and result in broader economic benefits
  • how you will obtain a clear route to market


Competition briefing events are being run in January (see below) and registration for the competition closes 4 March with the competition itself closing noon 11 March.


Briefing events

There are three briefing events planned.

21 January РLondon.  As part of the Department for Transport, Innovate UK and KTN Rail Innovation Expo, a competition briefing will be held in the morning.

21 January – Webcast.¬† If you’re unable to attend any of the briefings in person, the London event will be webcast. Webcast recording and slides are now available.

23 January РManchester.  Click here to register.

29 January РCardiff.  Click here to register.


For more information about the scope of the competition, visit the Innovation Funding Service site here.

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