Announcement of IUK’s First of a Kind (FOAK) 2022 Railway Competitions

The Government has made £7.6 million available for cutting-edge technology that will help transform UK rail travel.

The aim of the First of a Kind (FOAK) 2022 Railway Competitions is to deliver high maturity demonstrations of innovations to the UK’s railways. The initiative aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable technologies to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system.

There are three competition themes being delivered by Innovate UK (IUK):

  • Theme 1 – Low emissions and a greener railway. This is phase 1 of a potential 2 phase competition.
  • Theme 2 – Rail Freight.
  • Theme 3 – Cost efficiency and performance priorities for a reliable railway. This will support industry cost efficiency and network performance priorities to support a reliable railway for customers.

Bids must support low emissions and a greener railway, enhance rail freight, and address a range of key network performance priorities. The aim is to support innovative suppliers in preparation for market readiness.

Across the themes, IUK will award funding from a total budget of £7.6 million.

  • For theme 1, a total of up to £420,000 is allocated to phase 1 projects. They can range in size up to total costs of £60,000 for three months. IUK expects to fund up to seven projects.
  • For theme 2, a total of up to £2.4 million is allocated. Projects can range in size up to total costs of between £150,000 and £400,000. IUK expects to fund up to six projects.
  • For theme 3, a total of up to £2.5 million is allocated. Contracts will be between £150,000 and £250,000,for each project for up to 12 months. IUK expects to fund between 10 and 15 projects.

Organisations of any size can lead a project, working alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations (RTOs) or the third sector as subcontractors. Applicants are welcome from all sectors.

Projects must involve an owner of railway assets (for example stations, rolling stock or infrastructure), an experienced railway organisation, or a rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer.

Each competition strand opens on 20 April 2022. The deadline to submit applications is 8 June 2022 (11:00 BST).

(This report was the subject of a GRANTfinder Newsflash.)