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Funding news - 01/11/2017

IUK Launches £3.6 Million First of a Kind: Demonstrating Tomorrow's Trains Today Funding Competition

Organisations are being invited apply for a share of up to £3.6 million for first of a kind technology to demonstrate ‘tomorrow’s trains today’.

Innovate UK (IUK) has launched a new £3.6 million competition as part of a larger £14.5 million First of a Kind (FOAK) demonstration programme. FOAK is the first deployment of an innovation in a representative destination environment, in this instance within a railway vehicle. This is on behalf of the Department for Transport, which aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable new technology to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.

Proposals are invited for innovations that give customers a novel, interactive and immersive experience that will improve their experience of travelling on the railway. This should also provide railway organisations with lessons about how to integrate innovative technology, as well as presenting the opportunity to collect customer feedback.

The specific objectives of the activity are a physical demonstration of innovation in the rail industry to prove:

  • The technology works as designed when integrated into larger complex systems and delivers the outcomes expected.
  • The technology is accepted by, and delivers benefits for, customers and the broader rail industry.
  • The revenue potential for the innovation within a real commercial context.
  • The financing and business models for the innovation in a commercial project.
  • The team’s delivery capability within a complex programme and consortium structure.

Projects should create partnerships between innovative start-up supply companies with success in other sectors and organisations with experience in railway integration, such as train operating companies and rolling stock manufacturers.

Organisations of any size can apply to lead a project. Applications are welcome both from within and outside the rail sector, but projects must involve an experienced rail technology integrator and a rail asset owner or operator. There should be a potential customer within the consortium. Projects must be carried out in the UK and all activities must be pre-commercial.

Up to £3.6 million has been allocated to fund demonstrations that address the competition’s challenges. IUK expects to fund 10 or more projects of up to £350,000. Projects will be 100% funded. The contract will be awarded to the lead applicant. Other organisations can be involved in the project as subcontractors.

Registrations for the project close on 22 November 2017, with the competition closing a week later on 29 November 2017.

Source: Innovate UK, 30/10/2017

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