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.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
Your project must:
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.
To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:
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.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
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.
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.
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:
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.
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, and themes. We call this a portfolio approach.
Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:
Overhead line electrification (OLE) challenges:
Earthworks and structures, including bridges and underpasses:
Power supply infrastructure, including alternative power supply technologies:
Telecommunications for railway based, 5G and line of route communications to operate the railway:
Security for perimeters, rail-side, physical and cyber security:
Monitoring and maintenance, digital twin, instrumentation of structures or monitoring of infrastructure:
Please note: all solutions in this theme need to be integral to the GCRE construction.
Railway operation and automated systems:
Ecology and habitat creation: