By Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain, Innovation Manager at East West Rail.

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain has been sharing a monthly update on funding and engagement opportunities within the rail sector on her LinkedIn. See the latest list below, and make sure to follow Daisy to see her updates directly. We’re hugely grateful to her for pulling together and sharing these opportunities with the supply chain!

Feasibility Studies for AI solutions – UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £5m to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address business challenges and opportunities. Transport is included in the scope. Closes 8th May –

Innovate UK innovation loans future economy: round 14 – UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy. Closes 1st May –

HS2 Accelerator – This is a High Speed Two Ltd Accelerator Programme supported by Connected Places Catapult. The programme has launched its search for six small businesses to develop new technology ideas for the rail scheme; to be selected for trial and funded by HS2 and its main contractors. Closes 28 April. –

Global Business Innovation Programme in India – Urban Systems – Innovate UK seeks ambitious companies in the Urban Systems sector with net zero solutions to join our innovation programme, which includes a market visit to India. The scope includes mobility. Closes 17th May. –

Pre-announcement: BRAID Responsible AI Demonstrators – This funding opportunity is part of Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)’s Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) programme. Apply for funding to undertake BRAID Responsible AI (RAI) demonstrator projects that will seek to address real-world challenges facing sectors, businesses, communities and publics in the responsible development and application of AI technologies. Closes 27 June –

Pre-announcement: Design Exchange Partnerships: design the green transition – round 3 – Apply for funding to develop design-led solutions to address specific challenges around the theme of more-than-human design. We welcome broad interpretations of the theme of more-than-human, including but not limited to one or more of the following areas:

Closes 12 September. –

SBRI: Accessible solutions for disrupted journeys – Organisations can apply for a share of £1 million, inclusive of VAT. This is to develop an accessible and inclusive focussed solution, physical or digital, to support transport users when a journey is disrupted. Closes 3 April – Competition overview – SBRI: Accessible solutions for disrupted journeys – Innovation Funding Service (

Global Business Innovation Programme in the Netherlands – Quantum Technology – Innovate UK invites companies with expertise in delivering quantum technology solutions to join a Global Business Innovation Programme in The Netherlands – Closes 16th April –

Eureka Quantum collaborative R&D – UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £2m to develop quantum technologies with organisations from Eureka partner countries. Closes 8th May –

Smart Data Research UK Data Services – Data services will acquire, steward and enable safe access to smart data. They will build long term partnerships with data owners, demonstrate the potential of smart data, and provide technical infrastructure, governance and user support to a broad research community. This includes transport, mobility and infrastructure data generated by sensors monitoring the physical environment or the movement of people and objects. Sources include GPS-enabled devices and vehicles, communication networks, sensors in transport networks, supply chains, buildings, environmental sensors, energy systems, utility networks. Closes 2nd May – Smart Data Research UK Data Services – UKRI

UK-South Korea CR&D 2024 – UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £6m for the purpose of developing innovative proposals with South Korea. The scope includes future mobility. Closes 22nd May – UK-South Korea CR&D 2024 – Innovate UK Business Connect (

UK-Switzerland CR&D Round 2 – UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4 million for innovative projects in all technologies. You must collaborate with at least one Swiss implementation partner applying under the equivalent Swiss Innosuisse programme. Closes 1 May – Competition overview – UK-Switzerland CR&D Round 2 – Innovation Funding Service (

Unlocking nature positive private investment – UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million for developing solutions that enable private investors to invest in nature positive projects. This funding is from Innovate UK. Closes 10 April – Competition overview – Unlocking nature positive private investment – Innovation Funding Service (

Travel support for UK businesses to attend European events – Innovate UK is offering travel support for companies to attend consortia building events in Europe. Our travel awards are an excellent mechanism for supporting companies who want to expand their networks across Europe and make an impact in collaborative international research and development projects. These awards encourage UK participation, engagement and visibility at international events and aim to accelerate UK involvement in European research programmes (incl. Horizon Europe and EUREKA.) – Travel support for UK businesses to attend European events – Apply now! – Innovate UK KTN (

UK – Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 3 – UK registered organisations, collaborating with at least one German SME applying under the equivalent German ZIM programme, can apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative projects resulting in innovative solutions in emerging technologies. Closes 3 June – Competition overview – UK – Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 3 – Innovation Funding Service (

Innovate UK Smart grants: January 2024 – UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy. This funding is from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. Closes 24 April – Competition overview – Innovate UK Smart grants: January 2024 – Innovation Funding Service (

Horizon Europe – Clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes – Research and innovation across all transport modes sought, for the EU to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and reduce air pollution by 2050. Closes 18th April – Horizon Europe: Clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes – Innovate UK KTN (

Global Explorers – Global Explorers is an Innovate UK programme designed to support individual UK SMEs to explore global R&D and innovation opportunities to accelerate the development of their innovative ideas, products and services and global market access. Open exclusively to Innovate UK EDGE clients, all successful applicants will have access to grant funding for 70% of eligible costs up to £21,000 and work with a highly experienced Innovate UK EDGE innovation & growth specialist. – Global Explorers Programme | Innovate UK EDGE (

Pre-announcement: the UKRI Ayrton challenge programme (outlines) – The Ayrton Fund is a UK government commitment of up to £1 billion that aims to accelerate the clean energy transition in developing countries, by creating and demonstrating innovative clean energy technologies and business models. It will demonstrate UK leadership and expertise in cutting global emissions through world-leading innovations. The scope includes clean transport. Closes 9th April – Pre-announcement: the UKRI Ayrton challenge programme (outlines) – UKRI

Direct Pitching – FirstRail Train Operating Companies have a direct pitch page to allow for innovation submissions directly throughout the year – Pitch Your Innovation! (

Various Department for Business and Trade engagement events:

Motability Active Travel Grant – Motability’s new Active Travel Grant Programme will help charities and organisations to improve and expand access to quality and affordable active travel equipment and journeys, to ensure disabled people have the same opportunities to make decisions about how they travel, their impact on the environment and to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that active travel can provide. Charities and organisations can apply for grants from £100,000 to £4 million at any point over the next three years. –

Horizon Europe Guarantee – This funding is to deliver the UK government’s Horizon Europe guarantee. There is no submission deadline. This guarantees funding for successful applicants to the first and second wave of Horizon Europe grant awards regardless of the outcome of the UK’s efforts to associate to Horizon Europe. This funding falls under the areas determined by Horizon Europe, which include Pillar 2, Cluster 5: Climate, Energy and Mobility – This cluster will focus specifically on fostering climate action, while at the same time improving the sustainability, security and competitiveness of the energy and transport industry. Actions funded under this cluster will provide the basis for systemic change as well as shaping the necessary technological, industrial economic and societal transformations to achieve climate neutrality in an inclusive and socially fair way. The specific areas of intervention in Cluster 5 include:

TfL future contract opportunities – TfL publishes details of future contract opportunities for all areas of TfL, the GLA and Old Oak Park Development Corporation (OPDC) (over £500k) on a periodic basis. –

TFL is also committed to open innovation

Sell 2 Wales – The Sell2Wales website is an information source and procurement portal set up by the Welsh Government. They aim to help;

Manufacturing Growth Programme – grant funding and support for SME manufacturers by identifying and removing barriers to growth. If you’re a manufacturing SME interested in growing and meet the eligibility and suitability criteria, get in contact with your local Manufacturing Growth Manager for support towards your growth ambitions at

Space4Rail – Rail travel has all of the characteristics and potential to become Europe’s most sustainable, cost-efficient, high-performing and customer-centric form of transport. Digitalisation in railways is instrumental in achieving this. The use of space assets can support innovation in rail, introducing the adoption of new technologies that embed interoperability and continuity of service by default. ESA Business Applications Space4Rail Open Call aims to support the exploitation of space-based assets (satellite navigation, satellite communications and/or Earth observation) in innovative and sustainable applications/services:

1. Related to future control, command and signalling applications of the European Rail system;

2. Improving the performance and attractiveness of the railway, both for railway undertakings and end users. – Closes 31st December 2024 –

A range of transport (and other) funding opportunities – filter by interest/sector on the left hand side –

Open and Upcoming HS2 opportunities – including Asset Management, Health and Safety, Built Environment and more –

Network Rail Challenge Statements – Each challenge statement details a specific business obstacle and provides detail on definition, root cause analysis, priority areas of focus and a section outlining guidance for research and development. Network Rail invites solutions to these challenges;

KTN’s Innovation Exchange – KTN-iX™ provides you with the opportunity to become directly linked to, or collaborate with, key industry stakeholders who are actively seeking the most innovative solutions to help them achieve their full potential. A range of currently open opportunities can be explored at –

A range of international opportunities – at

A range of innovation funding opportunities – at

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – The KTP scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate. A KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership. The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration. The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business –

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