Global Centre of Rail Excellence: railway construction innovation

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.

Opportunity Details


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Your project’s total grant funding request for your phase 1 feasibility study can be up to £25,000. Phase 2 will fund up to 12 of the phase 1 projects to deliver demonstrations, with a total grant funding request of up to £570,000 each.



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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to invest up to £7.44 million in innovation projects. These will be to propose, deliver and demonstrate innovation in Railway Construction.

The aim of this competition is to support initial feasibility studies outlining how you would deliver a demonstration of innovation in railway construction to the GCRE site (in South Wales).

Your feasibility study must develop your plan to work with the construction teams at GCRE to deliver and demonstrate your innovation.

Your project must:

  • have a total grant funding request of up to £25,000
  • have total project costs of up to £40,000
  • start by 1 May 2023
  • end by 31 July 2023
  • last up to 3 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size, academic institution, a research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not for profit or public sector organisation
  • plan to work with other organisations that are leading the construction of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE)

This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition.

  • Phase 1 Feasibility studies (this phase) – up to £25k funding per project
  • Phase 2 Demonstration: potential invite only competition for successful phase 1 projects to develop and demonstrate their innovations, up to £570k funding per project


The aim of this competition is to deliver feasibility studies outlining plans to demonstrate innovation in railway construction working with the teams building the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) facility.

Successful feasibility studies will be invited to a phase 2 competition to apply for additional grant support to deliver and demonstrate their innovation at the GCRE site.

Your proposal must outline how you will work with the teams at GCRE to deliver an innovation in railway construction.

Your project must propose innovations to deliver as many of these improvements as possible:

  • reduced construction costs
  • lower carbon footprint and environmental benefits
  • reduced through life costs
  • improved resilience
  • enhanced safety
  • reduced timescales
  • efficiencies in materials handling or efficient use of resources

You must develop a working relationship with the GCRE lead construction teams to allow sharing of information and other support activities as part of your feasibility study. Introductions will be made to these teams by GCRE. These relationships must be developed as part of your phase 1 feasibility study to deliver an effective phase 2 project.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes: specific details for each theme are available at the competition link below.

  • Trackwork challenges
  • Overhead line electrification (OLE) challenges
  • Earthworks and structures, including bridges and underpasses
  • Power supply infrastructure, including alternative power supply technologies
  • Telecommunications for railway based, 5G and line of route communications to operate the railway
  • Security for perimeters, rail-side, physical and cyber security
  • Monitoring and maintenance, digital twin, instrumentation of structures or monitoring of infrastructure
  • Railway operation and automated systems
  • Ecology and habitat creation

A briefing event will be held in Cardiff City Hall on 3rd November, noon-4pm.

If you would like application advice or to find a collaboration partner, contact Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain, KTM Rail.


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