Funding competition 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.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


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.

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

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

  • Phase 1 Feasibility studies (this phase)
  • Phase 2 Demonstration: potential invite only competition for successful phase 1 projects to develop and demonstrate their innovations

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total grant funding request for your feasibility study must be up to £25,000.

Who can apply

Your project

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

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

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)

If the lead organisation is categorised as a research organisation or an RTO it must collaborate with at least 1 eligible grant claiming business of any size.

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding when entering their costs during the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

An eligible organisation can lead on and can be included as a collaborator in any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must at all times make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.
This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.


Up to £575,000 has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this phase 1 competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The potential phase 2 competition has up to £6.865 million allocated to deliver and demonstrate the best innovations from the phase 1 feasibility studies. Phase 2 will fund up to 12 projects to deliver demonstrations, with a total grant funding request of up to £570,000 , for up to 12 months in duration.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the projects total grant funding requested. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

1.80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic

2.100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

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.

Your proposal must describe how you will work with the GCRE construction teams to deliver on-site demonstrations in South Wales.

Contracts for GCRE construction activities are being let sequentially over a period of time. Timing of an effective phase 2 activity may vary, depending on the element of the GCRE construction that your innovation will address.

You must initially plan for your phase 2 project to start in December 2023, and finish between late 2024 and early 2025. All activity must be completed before 31 March 2025.

At the completion of your feasibility study, you must produce an end of project feasibility report describing the outcomes of the phase 1 project and your plans for phase 2.

Your phase 2 plans must also allow for the continued presence of your innovation at the GCRE facility for an extended period after the completion of your funded project. This extended period will enable continued testing and demonstration activities. Any conditions associated with this should be outlined in your Phase 1 feasibility report.

Where access to the site is required after the completion of your phase 2 activity, this may require an additional commercial relationship be agreed with GCRE.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, and themes. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:

Trackwork challenges:

  • stability under loading and speed
  • use of modern sustainable materials or low-carbon sleeper design
  • reduction of moving components in switches and crossings
  • noise barriers with long life resilience to the passage of high-speed trains and high wind speeds.
  • slab to ballasted track transitions
  • slab track renewals from the perspective of carbon and whole life cost
  • low carbon, recyclable or reclaimed ballast
  • automated installation of trackwork, including robotics and efficiency in installation
  • acoustic performance of the track

Overhead line electrification (OLE) challenges:

  • lightweight OLE structures and foundations, the use of modern sustainable materials and alternative materials for OLE and the use of composites in OLE
  • stability of OLE to accommodate multiple pantograph vehicles, damping of OLE and the OLE-pantograph interface
  • innovation in foundation design and masts (lighter, shallower piles), or integration of OLE with the track without requiring separate piling
  • OLE and trackwork delivered as integrated elements, for example where OLE is a component of the track and not a separate element

Earthworks and structures, including bridges and underpasses:

  • grade-separated crossings, the use of innovative materials to deliver low carbon and reduced cost in bridge and underpass construction, and innovation to reduce the need for cut and cover underpass construction
  • retaining structures that deliver reduced construction costs, a lower carbon footprint, reduced through life costs, improved resilience, and enhanced safety
  • use of innovative materials to deliver low carbon and reduced cost noise barriers, and the innovative design of noise barriers, for example, smaller, lower or less obtrusive

Power supply infrastructure, including alternative power supply technologies:

  • the use of renewables, delivering a net zero operation of the GCRE site, including traction power,
  • power supply considerations during the construction phase, for example, greener supply of energy, offsetting between contractors or trading greener energy solutions
  • a railway capable system for energy storage, with suitable power and response time requirements for a railway
  • energy storage systems for supply of traction power
  • a feed of regenerative braking energy and on-site power generation back to the grid
  • miniaturisation of power supply hardware, for example approaches to removing large oil-filled transformers
  • using the OLE as a distribution network for non-traction power
  • low cost solutions to convert 25kV to lower voltages

Telecommunications for railway based, 5G and line of route communications to operate the railway:

  • 5G, Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) and migration solutions for the railways
  • immunisation of systems for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
  • reduction of a requirement for line of sight for telecoms technology
  • reduction in power distribution requirements for the telecoms equipment

Security for perimeters, rail-side, physical and cyber security:

  • remote sensory system, anti-trespass systems, unattended monitoring for trespass
  • innovation in perimeter protection and monitoring technology to address planning or aesthetic considerations, and to reduce security costs of physical infrastructure, including the use of non-barrier technology
  • access control systems to optimise access and safety requirements

Monitoring and maintenance, digital twin, instrumentation of structures or monitoring of infrastructure:

  • effective application and integration of sensor technologies for monitoring and maintenance
  • predictive digital twin capability and integration of data to help plan for foreseen and unforeseen events

Please note: all solutions in this theme need to be integral to the GCRE construction.

Railway operation and automated systems:

  • innovation to cost effectively automate train control during testing and provision of a safer operating environment
  • innovation to remotely operate and monitor trains during testing

Ecology and habitat creation:

  • innovation to effectively protect wildlife on the GCRE site during construction works
  • innovation to allow wildlife to cohabit with the operational railway
  • innovation to increase the positive environmental impact of the GCRE facilities
  • innovation in building materials to reduce construction costs, design costs and environmental impact.

Research categories

For this phase 1 competition we will fund feasibility projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that:

  • are not likely to be successfully exploited by the rail industry to deliver benefits in railway construction
  • do not create a significant change in the level of innovation available in the rail industry
  • do not have low technical risk
  • that will not be able to effectively deliver a demonstration in a railway construction environment at GCRE in South Wales, as part of your phase 2 project
  • do not feature a demonstration phase, offering potential customers a chance to use the innovation and give feedback
  • do not include an evaluation phase, and a plan to collect information to inform a cost or benefit analysis
  • do not plan to retain delivered Phase 2 demonstrations on the GRCE site after project completion as part of an extended test and demonstration exercise
  • have total eligible costs or project terms outside of the eligibility guidance
  • would directly duplicate other UK government or EU funded initiatives you have already been funded to deliver
  • are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

21 October 2022
Competition opens
3 November 2022
Cardiff briefing event: watch the recording
14 December 2022 12:00pm
Competition closes
27 January 2023
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • if collaborative, that all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

1.Project details.

2.Application questions.


Accessibility and inclusion

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 15 working days before the competition closing date.

You can email or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on the project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from question 1. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess.

You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners or subcontractors working on your project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Theme (not scored)

You must select the theme which the majority of your work is within:

  • Trackwork
  • Overhead line electrification (OLE)
  • Earthworks & structures
  • Power supply infrastructure
  • Telecommunications
  • Security
  • Monitoring and maintenance
  • Railway operation and automated systems
  • Ecology and habitat creation

Question 3. Need or challenge

What is the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?


  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • how your innovation will meet a challenge at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) facility
  • whether you have identified any similar innovation and its current limitations, including those close to market or in development
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project focuses on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Question 4. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?


  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how will you improve on the similar innovation that you have identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive and support the objectives of the GCRE facility
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?


  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • how you plan to collaborate with other teams working at GCRE
  • if your project is collaborative, the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for

You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?


  • what gaps you will address in the GCRE capability
  • the target markets for the project outcomes, any other potential markets (domestic, international or both)
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 7. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase long term productivity as a result of the project?


  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market, both in contributing to the GCRE facility and to other railway markets
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 8. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe and, where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • contribute to the objectives of the GCRE build and operation
  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe and, where possible, measure:

  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 9. Project management

How will you manage your project effectively?


  • the main work packages of your project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get a successful and innovative project outcome
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 10. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?


  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, and data sets
  • how you you will manage working with the construction teams at GCRE
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how you will manage this

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 11. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation? What impact would this award have on the organisations involved?


  • what advantages would public funding offer your project, for example, appeal to investors, more partners, reduced risk or a faster route to market (this list is not exhaustive)
  • the likely impact of the project outcomes on the organisations involved
  • what other routes of investment have you already approached
  • what your project would look like without public funding
  • how this project would change the R&D activities of all the organisations involved

Question 12. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

In terms of your project goals, explain:

  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

This competition is a collaboration between Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE).

The aim of this phase 1 is to identify the most promising projects to take forward to a potential phase 2 .

This will provide multiple benefits to successful projects, including de-risking of innovations, offering a period of extensive testing, and providing a showcase for your capability to the railway industry.

When submitting an application into this Phase 1 competition, you must be in a position to confirm that resources and funding will be available for any subsequent Phase 2 application. Innovate UK may require you to provide evidence of this prior to making you a Phase 1 offer.

Working with GCRE

You must develop a working relationship with the GCRE lead construction teams to allow sharing of information and other support activities. Introductions will be made to these teams by the GCRE team.

Details of the sequencing of the different elements of the GCRE construction will be available by May 2023, but this is subject to confirmation. Your end of project feasibility reports and phase 2 applications should therefore include an element of flexibility in relation to timescales. Please note however that all phase 2 project activities must be completed by 31 March 2025 but you may compress timescales to meet this requirement. No Phase 2 funding may be claimed after this date.

Phase 1 Deliverables

Your Phase 1 end of project feasibility report must include the following:

1. Introduction: Introduction to your team
2. Technical Description: Outline of your innovation
3. Benefits Delivered: The relevance of the innovation in railway construction, why it will be attractive to the industry and a commentary on how your innovation will deliver:
  • reduced construction costs and other financial benefits
  • lower carbon footprint and environmental benefits
  • reduced through life costs
  • improved resilience
  • enhanced safety
  • reduced timescales
  • efficiency in materials handling or efficient use of resources
4. Phase 2 Outline: A plan for the delivery of a potential Phase 2 activity, with an outline of your plans for an extended demonstration and test activity of your innovation at the GCRE site after your funded project end
5. Phase 2 Technical Interface: An outline of the required technical interface with the GCRE construction teams for a Phase 2 activity, and outline of the level of collaboration required, and evidence to demonstrate that you have de-risked this activity.
6. Phase 2 Commercial Interface: An outline of a proposed future commercial relationship with other organisations (if necessary) to fully exploit your innovation at the GCRE facility and the UK’s railways.
7. IP Management: An outline of any IP considerations, and definition of a strategy detailing how you will manage this for a live demonstration of your innovation as a component of the GCRE facility.
8. Evaluation Activity: An outline of a test and evaluation activity that you propose once your innovation has been installed on the GCRE site (with the measurement of objective data to prove benefits to the railway construction industry and customers during its operational life)
9. Exploitation: How you will exploit your innovation after a successful Phase 2 demonstration at the GCRE facility.
10. Risks and Mitigations
11. Conclusions

Phase 2 applications

It is anticipated that your proposal for phase 2 will be assessed and scored based on a combination of your phase 2 application combined with scoring of your phase 1 end of project feasibility report, as stated above. It is expected that the weighting will be 50-50 between these two elements.

Demonstration of innovative approaches to railway construction on the GCRE site as part of phase 2 activities are expected wherever possible to be an integrated component of the functioning GCRE railway system.

Your demonstration will be exposed to the same operating stresses as the remainder of the GCRE railway system. For example; if your solution offers innovation in trackwork, or earthworks, it is expected to form an integrated element with the facility, and be exposed to the same duty cycles throughout its operation.

Once completed, your phase 2 demonstration will serve to de-risk any future installations at other railway locations. It will provide you an opportunity to demonstrate to the railway industry the capability you offer in a highly representative environment. Also, for you to evidence the real benefits of your innovation in terms of:

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

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) (each an 'agency').

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to BEIS or GCRE and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK, BEIS and GCRE are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, BEIS and GCRE will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application. Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy is accessible here.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Innovate UK KTN.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • a collaboration agreement, if applicable
  • an exploitation plan

In order to process your claims, we need to make sure that the bank details you give to us relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.

The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this before you start your project.

Your GOL will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

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