UK rail is in a time of enormous upheaval. As a sector, we are transitioning away from our franchising model towards Great British Railways; uniting operators and infrastructure owners.

This presents a great opportunity as well as a challenge; one of the most common questions we are asked at Innovate UK KTN is what the rail landscape currently looks like with regards to rail innovation and funding, and what it might look like as we move towards Great British Railways.

This report aims to answer all of these questions by providing you with a complete overview of the UK’s rail innovation landscape, covering everything from current innovation processes and advice on how to apply for funding, to opportunities and what’s ahead in the future.

Here are some of the key points mentioned:

  • There are available funding opportunities in UK rail which can be accessed with the support of a wide range of industry groups.
  • UK Government has committed to innovation in the future of rail as it transitions to Great British Railways.
  • Great British Railways will become the primary public funder of RD&I initiatives across the rail sector. There will also be regional delivery opportunities. This aligns with RIA’s “Railway Innovation Strategy”; with a key recommendation to increase government investment in rail research, development, and innovation, providing a pathway and funding for radical innovation, as well as a focus on supporting innovation during the roll-out phase.
  • Passenger Service Contracts will focus on reliability, performance and efficiency and will feature scorecard linked incentives that feature innovation. This aims to overcome some of the key barriers to innovation within rail, particularly for SMEs, through incentive encouragement.

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