Transport Research & Innovation Grants 2023

TRIG is open to any UK organisation to support proof-of-concept projects leading to successful new transport research products, processes, or services.

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For TRIG 2023, DfT will offer innovators grants of up to £45k per project across five separate challenge areas, in addition to an Open Call challenge to undertake early stage feasibility studies. This can cover up to 100% of costs.



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Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) provide early-stage funding for innovations in science, engineering, or technology delivered by The Department for Transport’s (DfT) project delivery partner, Connected Places Catapult. TRIG is open to any UK organisation to support proof-of-concept projects that could lead to the development of successful new transport research products, processes, or services. TRIG is designed to support organisations by providing easily accessible grants, alumni, and wrap-around support from Connected Places Catapult to bring innovations closer to the market. The programme also provides a collaborative space for innovators, including academics, SMEs, and large businesses, to work with DfT’s policy teams on realising shared goals. Since 2014, over £12 million has been awarded to 361 projects. 

TRIG aims to: 

  • Stimulate the development of new technology solutions to DfT challenges.  
  • Provide innovators with support to try out new ideas – to show early promise; or fail fast.  
  • Join up innovators with DfT colleagues in a safe setting and allow them to learn together. 
  • Help create future leaders in transport, whilst driving jobs and growth. 

For TRIG 2023, DfT will offer innovators grants of up to £45k across five separate challenge areas, in addition to an Open Call challenge to undertake early stage feasibility studies.

  • TRIG is open to public, private and third sector organisations in addition to universities and research and technology organisations.

    Your organisation must have a UK registered company number and office.

    We will consider proposals from consortia. However, the lead applicant who will receive the funding must be identified.

    Applicants submitting more than one competition entry need to demonstrate the ability to deliver the projects concurrently.

  • Proposals should all prove an innovative concept, taking an idea typically from TRL 2 (basic research) to TRL 4 (proof of concept/small scale prototype).

    These are the vital elements to focus on within your application: 

    • The Challenge – What challenge are you proposing to solve and how does it align to DfT strategies? 
    • The Solution – What is new about your idea, what is the key step change you are proposing to take that no-one else has done ? 
    • The Impact – How big could your innovation’s impact be on the economy / society etc.? What other changes will it enable; how much carbon could this save; how many jobs could this idea create?

    For the scope of each challenge, see below.

  • For the Open Call, the Department is specifically seeking innovations that have the potential to address the DfT strategic aims and are not suited to any of the targeted calls. DfT’s Strategic Aims are:

    • Grow and level up the economy – Improve the connectivity across the UK and grow the economy by enhancing the transport network on time and on budget
    • Improve transport for the user – Improve transport users’ experience, ensuring that the network is safe, reliable and inclusive
    • Reduce environmental impacts – Tackle climate change and Improve air quality by decarbonising transport

    We will consider any science or technology that could contribute to improving the transport system. For example, this could include:

    • Investigating equality of access to transport services for all users
    • Investigating the performance of a new low carbon fuel
    • Exploring new ways of exploiting DfT and other transport datasets to improve services e.g., open bus data
    • Designing new tools to increase the safety of women on public transport
    • Creating tools for encouraging mode shift and active travel.

    Please note this is by no means an exhaustive list and we are keen to hear from applicants developing new ideas in other areas of transport innovation.

    We are looking for up to 3 projects of up to £45k each.

  • Innovative technologies and processes with the potential to accelerate local transport decarbonisation across the UK are welcome, especially those taking a place-based approach and demonstrating an understanding of the specific needs of a local area. 

    Projects could include mobility hubs, initiatives that support communities to make greener transport choices and tools to address challenges faced by rural areas. Areas of interest may include Mobility as a Service, shared mobility solutions and ways of supporting businesses to reduce their transport emissions.  

  • Projects that help deliver on two policy commitments set out in the Jet Zero Strategy from Government are sought, namely supporting airports to develop ground infrastructure to handle zero emission aircraft, and working towards all airport ground operations in England becoming zero emission by 2040. 

    Project outcomes should either help develop and commercialise technologies which can support airport decarbonisation, increase the visibility of airports as a market to develop low and zero carbon technologies, or support innovators working to develop hydrogen ecosystems.

  • Ideas to improve sustainability within the freight and logistics sector and which follow the goals outlined in the Government’s Future of Freight plan are welcome. Areas of focus could include decarbonisation, the circular economy, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. Other areas which may feature include waste management, freight packaging and sustainable energy sources. 

    Testing and implementation of emerging technologies such as automation, and the sharing of data to design and optimise systems are among further areas of focus.

  • Projects that demonstrate an innovative use of communications networks or technologies to share data, feedback between digital and physical assets to improve processes and outcomes, and the use of Artificial Intelligence or machine learning to process data and generate insight are welcome to apply. 

    The scope of this challenge is not limited to one transport mode, but projects will need to exploit at least two – and ideally all three – of the technologies listed in the headline. 

  • Clean maritime solutions that are innovative, promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime and support the transition to net zero by 2050 are invited to be put forward. Projects could focus on low and zero emission fuels, energy sources and vessel technologies; landside infrastructure and energy efficient measures to allow their uptake; and smart shipping technologies, automation and artificial intelligence that deliver indirect emissions savings for any size of vessel. 

  • Winners will receive:

    • Innovation Funding – Up to 100% funding to develop your innovation (£45k grant)
    • DfT Collaboration – Gain insight from policy teams at DfT
    • Networking – Join a cohort of like-minded innovators, shaping ideas and exploring new opportunities
    • Business Support – Support from Connected Places Catapult covering a range of business areas including investment readiness
    • Solution Showcase – Opportunities to showcase your innovation projects to industry experts and representatives from DfT
  • The Connected Places Catapult are holding an application support webinar with the Department for Transport on 9 November, 10am-11.30am, which will include an overview of the programme, challenges, guidance on the application process and a live Q&A. Click here to register for a place.

    If you would like help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Transport team.


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