SBRI Competition rail demonstrations: first of a kind 2021

Do you have an innovative and interactive idea for a first of a kind railway demonstrator?

What is the open innovation challenge?

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9 million (inclusive of VAT), to develop demonstrators that:

  • increase customers’ confidence and enhance experience
  • deliver a railway that is easy to use
  • offer low emissions and a greener railway

The aim of this competition is to demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into a railway environment for the first time.

It aims to encourage innovation in the rail industry using novel technologies, for example automation and innovative uses of data. Innovate UK will help innovative suppliers to take the final step to market readiness.

Your project must create a highly interactive and innovative demonstrator. This should be in an environment where railway customers and industry representatives can witness the product as a compelling business proposition.

Example environments can include:

  • within a railway station
  • in rolling stock
  • on railway infrastructure
  • in the environment close to the railway

This list is not exhaustive, they may also consider demonstrators in settings highly representative of these environments.

Projects are expected to start by 1 July 2021, must end by 31 March 2022 and can last up to 9 months.

How much is the award? 

Depending on the scope theme you apply for, contracts will be up to £400,000 and 9 months duration.

Successful projects will be 100% funded.

If you are awarded a contract, you will be required to exhibit your project at the 2022 Innovate UK annual rail exhibition.


This competition will close at 11am, 10 March 2021.

Next steps

Read full details and apply through the UK Government website