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SBRI: FOAK 2023 High Speed Rail Systems Installation Demonstrations

Fund Name

SBRI: FOAK 2023 High Speed Rail Systems Installation Demonstrations

Project Length

Up to 6 months

Project Value

Up to £200k

Deadline

09.08.2023

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by High Speed Two (HS2) Limited. The aim of the competition is to deliver high maturity demonstrations of innovations to the UK railways.

This competition is part of a larger ‘First of a Kind’ demonstrator initiative, on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 Limited. The initiative aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund details

The aim of the competition is to deliver high-maturity demonstrations of innovations to the UK railways. Your project must support the overarching principle for FOAK 2023: cost efficiency and increasing value for money.

Delivering financial sustainability is a strategic objective of the long-term strategy for rail, and a pressing need for the sector given a drop in revenue and increasing costs in the light of inflation.

Your project, regardless of priority theme, must demonstrate how you will improve value for money, through increasing revenue or reducing costs whilst delivering positive outcomes in relation to your chosen priority theme.

This competition focuses on the following priority themes in relation to High Speed Rail System Installation:

  • Theme 1 – Slab Track Installation Processes
  • Theme 2 – Cable Troughing and Cable Laying
  • Theme 3 – Installation of ERTMS (European Railway Traffic Management System) related equipment
  • Theme 4 – Tunnel Fit Out Installations
  • Theme 5 – Electric Multi-Purpose Vehicles Deployment

You must select which scope theme you are applying for. If a project covers more than one theme, choose one where most of the work is being undertaken.

You must demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into an operational or construction railway environment for the first time as ‘First of a Kind’ demonstrations. This competition aims to support innovative suppliers in preparation for market readiness.

You must describe your project’s potential to be successfully exploited in a railway environment. We encourage you to discuss regulations, policy and other requirements with potential customer organisations before you submit your application.

Your project must:

  • show how the technology delivers cost efficiency and increasing value for money in high speed rail system installation
  • gather evidence about integration challenges and explain how you will de-risk the integration
  • demonstrate to railway stakeholders and customers the commercial benefits of the solution
  • make taking up technologies less risky and faster
  • be pre-commercial
  • collect customer and performance feedback
  • provide a business case for using the solution in a commercial environment
  • consider the priorities of current and future franchises
  • include an evaluation phase, collecting data to support the cost-benefit assessment of your proposed solution

You must provide evidence, showing how your innovation can attract customers, get insurance, supply warranties, and attract financing.

Your evidence must show:

  • the technology works as designed when integrated into larger complex systems and delivers the expected outcomes
  • the technology is accepted by and delivers benefits for high speed rail and the broader rail industry
  • there is revenue potential for the innovation within a real commercial context
  • the financing and business models can be delivered within a complex programme and consortium structure

You must demonstrate potential benefits to passengers and customers, including:

  • why customers would buy the product
  • how the funding will help applicants grow and result in broader economic benefits

Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • are not likely to be successfully exploited by the rail industry to deliver benefits to rail or light-rail organisations and their customers
  • are not within 24 months of being ready for market
  • do not create a significant change in the level of innovation available in the rail industry
  • are not already well-developed technology at Rail Industry Readiness Level 5 or above, or do not have low technical risk
  • cannot effectively deliver a demonstration within a representative railway environment as required
  • do not feature a demonstration phase, offering potential customers a chance to see the innovation and give feedback
  • do not include an evaluation phase, and a plan to collect information to inform a cost or benefit analysis
  • have total eligible costs or project terms outside of the eligibility guidance
  • would directly duplicate other UK government or EU-funded initiatives you have already been funded to deliver
  • are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions
  • do not address how any potentially negative outcomes, such as on the environment or society, would be managed
  • are covered by existing commercial agreements to deliver the proposed solutions

Eligibility

Projects must:

  • start by 1 December 2023
  • end by 31 May 2024
  • last up to 6 months

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors

Applicants are welcome from all sectors. You can work alone or with other organisations as a subcontractor.

You must include a potential integration partner to facilitate the live demonstration of your technology. The live demonstration should be in a suitable operational or construction railway environment and the location should be agreed upon with your integration partner.

Your project can involve:

  • an owner of railway assets for example stations, rolling stock, track machinery or infrastructure
  • an experienced railway organisation
  • a rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer

Funding 

A total of up to £1 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

Your project can range in size up to total costs of £200,000, inclusive of VAT and last up to 6 months. We expect to fund between 4 and 5 projects across the five themes.

All awarded projects must budget a spend of 60% of the funding by 31 March 2024 and the remaining 40% of the funding by 31 May 2024. This must be reflected in the eligible project cost breakdown and your milestones.

You must select which scope theme you are applying for. If a project covers more than one theme, choose one where most of the work is being undertaken.

Talk to us today if you would like to apply for this opportunity.

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