The stakeholders for this competition include:
- Network Rail
- London Underground
- rolling stock operating companies
- train operating companies
- infrastructure providers
Representatives from these organisations will be invited to the competition briefing events to discuss their priorities.
About SBRI competitions
SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.
First of a Kind initiative
Innovate UK is launching this £3.5 million competition as part of a larger ‘First of a Kind’ demonstrator initiative. This is on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.
The UK rail industry transports 1.7 billion passengers and 110 million tonnes of freight each year. Since 1997/98 the number of trains has increased by 28% and the demand for rail transport is projected to increase by 58% over the next 10 years. Light rail and local transport systems in the UK’s major cities are expanding quickly, offering enhanced transport options and creating opportunities for UK businesses.
Rapid growth and changing customer expectations present a challenge to the rail and light-rail industries. Current and conventional engineering and operational solutions are struggling to meet demand. New technologies can help with these challenges and open new markets. This can create a sustainable rail industry that offers better services, better journeys and better value.
The strategic goals, typically referred to as the 4Cs, sum up the vision for the future railway:
- costs: reducing by 50% or more,
- capacity: doubling,
- carbon: halving emissions
- customers: improving their experience
At the same time the railway must continue to operate safely.
For more information on the railway industry’s priorities, please refer to:
Further help and information
You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.
If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.
If you need more information, email us at
or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.