Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to invest up to £4.7 million in innovation projects that contribute to resilient time, frequency and synchronisation (TFS) and its dissemination and application.

The key areas for development are:

  • resilience
  • distribution
  • trust, assurance and security
  • integration and processing of signals

The aims of this competition are to:

  • support and enable business led innovation across the UK supply chain in resilient TFS for the development of products, services and end user applications
  • develop a TFS ecosystem and capability for relevant industries and critical national infrastructure
  • disrupt and create new markets, both in the UK and globally, to improve the provision of TFS

The innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application competition has two strands:

Strand 1: demonstrator – for projects undertaking late stage industrial research or experimental developmental projects.

Demonstrators must have total costs between £70,000 and £1 million, start by 1 November 2022, end by 31 March 2024, and last between 9 and 18 months.

Strand 2: feasibility – for projects undertaking early stage feasibility studies.

Feasibility studies must have total costs between £50,000 and £250,000, start by 1 November 2022, end by 31 October 2023, and can last between 6 and 12 months

To lead a project, your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size, and can collaborate with other UK registered organisations of any kind. Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

(A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in one further application across both strands of the competition. If a business is not leading an application, they can collaborate in up to two applications across both competition strands. Research organisations can collaborate on any number of applications across both competition strands.)

Scope

The aims of this competition are to:

  • support and enable business led innovation across the UK supply chain in resilient time, frequency, and synchronisation (TFS), for the development of products, services and end user applications
  • develop a TFS ecosystem and capability for relevant industries and critical national infrastructure
  • disrupt and create new markets, both in the UK and globally, to improve the provision of TFS

Your project must be for an innovative development and show a route to market. Your project must be focused on one or more of these development areas relating to the dissemination of TFS:

  • products
  • services
  • protocols and algorithms
  • standards

We are looking for your projects to be scalable, geographically or across applications. Interoperability for international use is of particular interest.

Your project should lead to the following types of impact for the UK:

  • economic, including new revenue, cost savings, other economic impacts
  • national capability in TFS

During the project, NPL can provide up to 12 hours of free consultancy and free access to highly accurate and traceable time and frequency signals. The access will come from four sites in the South East of England and one site in Scotland (Surrey, Cranfield, London, Reading and Strathclyde). Click here for details of the facilities available at each site.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes:

Resilience

Your project must contribute to the resilience of time dissemination in one or more of the following:

  • availability (continuity of signal)
  • redundancy and holdover
  • alerting and monitoring

This could include, for example, developments relating to signal processing for time or frequency.

Distribution

Your project must enable end users to have improved access to time or frequency signals.

You must include one or more of the following:

  • dissemination to multiple users
  • scalability
  • accessibility (geography)
  • ubiquity and availability, including locations where Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals are not available

For example, developments could include scalability to users at the edge of networks or to those currently without access. There is also interest in developments relating to the application or extension of existing infrastructures such as that for communication.

Trust, assurance and security

Your project must contribute to the trust, assurance and security of time or frequency signals from the source to the end user, or a defined subset of this path.

You must include one or more of the following:

  • integrity
  • accuracy: absolute time value at the end user compared to the traceable source
  • confidence in end-to-end transmission
  • validation

This could, for example, relate to audit and certification of time signals at various levels of accuracy or signal integrity when transferring time signals over distances and mediums. Algorithms and protocols, especially those that increase the integrity of timing signals, are also in scope.

Integration and processing of signals

Your project must contribute to one or more of the following:

  • integration of multiple time or frequency sources
  • innovation in processing hardware or software relating to time or frequency signals

 

If you would like help to find a project partner, contact Bob Cockshott, KTM for Position, Navigation and Timing.