The Government is inviting bids from innovators in the rail sector to compete for a share of £7.6 million to help improve cost efficiency, network performance and rail freight.
It’s the sixth round of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) First of a Kind competition and is being held in partnership with Innovate UK.
The competition officially opens to applicants on 20 April, 2022. Submissions will close on 8 June, 2022.
A briefing event will be hosted by Innovate UK on 5 May between 10am and 3pm in Birmingham for potential applicants to find out more.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “In partnership with Innovate UK, we have already invested £35.4 million into over 100 groundbreaking projects.
“We’ve seen cutting-edge technologies such as HydroFLEX developed, the first ever trial of a hydrogen-powered train on the UK mainline and software improving accessibility such as the Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay app.
“As part of our Plan for Rail, it’s key we continue breathing life into new ideas and supporting innovation and design to deliver greener rail journeys and transform rail travel for all passengers.”
Last year saw 33 innovators receive grants of up to £400,000 each.
The DfT said the First of a Kind fund has helped trial and launch over 100 projects which are promoting greener railways, improving passengers’ rail experience and accessibility on the transport network, and helping the railway to be more cost-effective.
Some of these projects include:
- HydroFLEX – the first mainline trial of a hydrogen train in the UK with Birmingham University’s HydroFLEX project, as pictured above
- Window seater – an app connecting rail travellers to the world outside their window with geolocated audio stories along the railway
- Hearing Enhanced Audio Relay (HEAR) – HEAR is a software supporting hearing impaired passengers that automatically broadcasts audio announcements to passengers’ own devices