Government and rail industry announce investment to accelerate innovation


The Technology Strategy Board ( and RSSB ( are to invest up to £4m to accelerate business innovation in the UK’s rail industry. 

The aim of the Accelerating Innovation in Rail funding competition is to support the development of technologies that are able to address the challenges facing the rail industry, as well as meeting customer requirements in both UK and international rail markets.  It marks the start of a long-term strategic partnership between RSSB and the Technology Strategy Board.

Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport, said: “Innovation is vital if the rail industry is to meet the challenges it faces. The government is delighted to support this partnership between the Technology Strategy Board and RSSB to boost rail industry initiatives which encourage the rapid development and adoption of business innovation across the whole UK rail sector. This joint competition for funding will help accelerate and support this, for the benefit of British companies, and to help grow the economy.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added: “The rail industry is strengthening its approach to innovation and we are pleased to be able to work with RSSB to support business-led innovation in UK rail. We are seeking proposals for business-led collaborative research and development projects that will develop innovative technologies to address the key challenges facing the industry today – cost, carbon, capacity and customer satisfaction.

Len Porter, Chief Executive of RSSB, said: “RSSB is delighted to partner the Technology Strategy Board in this exciting initiative.  The rail industry has made a decision to invest in innovation and, on its behalf, I welcome the government’s commitment to working with industry to promote it. There are clear benefits from the partnership: the rail industry will get more value out of its investment and the development of ideas to make rail transport even more efficient, effective and sustainable, as well as being able to generate export opportunities.”

This competition forms part of the Technology Strategy Board’s programme of investment in business-led innovation in transport and is in partnership with the rail industry, represented by the Technical Strategy Leadership Group, an RSSB-facilitated cross-industry expert body. The aims of the competition are to identify capability and build capacity in innovation, to identify strong market opportunities and to encourage collaboration within the rail industry and with other sectors.

The competition opens on 7 November 2011. The deadline for compulsory expressions of interest is 14 December 2011 and full applications must be submitted by 29 February 2012. Full details of the competition are available at: