First of a Kind: demonstrating tomorrow’s trains today

Funding opportunity:

First of a Kind: Demonstrating Tomorrow’s Trains Today



Funder and programme:

Innovate UK (on behalf of Department for Transport) – Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

Project total costs (including VAT) (range):

£ 250,000 – £ 350,000



Registration closes:


Competition closes:


This competition will show how innovative technology can be integrated for the first time in a railway vehicle. Proposals are invited for innovations that give customers a novel, interactive and immersive experience that will improve their experience of travelling on the railway.

Innovate UK is launching this £3.5 million competition as part of a larger £14.5 million First of a Kind (FOAK) demonstration programme. First of a kind is the first deployment of an innovation in a representative destination environment, in this case within a railway vehicle. This is on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), which aims to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector and enable new technology to be readily and efficiently integrated into the railway system. We plan to run future competitions with a similar budget to demonstrate how technology can be integrated into depots, stations and infrastructure.

The vision for this competition is to adapt a rail passenger vehicle to fit a range of innovations. This will give passengers an immersive experience of how trains could operate in the future. It will also give railway organisations useful lessons for how to integrate innovative technology, as well as the opportunity to collect valuable customer feedback. We encourage you to work with other projects funded through this competition to help realise these objectives. The competition briefing events will give you the opportunity to create the necessary relationships.

For further information, click here.

MSC R&D can help your business develop by supporting you in:
• Identification of appropriate grants and competition calls for proposals
• Partner search for collaborative Research & Innovation
• Bid writing
• Project management
• Audit compliance
• Commercialisation
• Business Planning
• Market Intelligence reports

If you want help with any of these opportunities, please CONTACT us on 0114 230 8401 or email