This Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI): FOACK 2022 competition is funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The aim of the competition is to deliver high maturity demonstrations of innovations to the UK railways.
There are three themes in SBRI: FOAK 2022 competitions:
- Theme 1 -Low Emissions & A Greener Railway
- Theme 2 – Rail Freight
- Theme 3 – Cost Efficiency & Performance Priorities For A Reliable Railway (this theme). This will support industry cost efficiency and network performance priorities to support a reliable railway for customers.
It is your responsibility to ensure submitting your application to the correct theme for your project. The applicant will not be able to transfer the application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.
Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.
This is a competitive process, and the funding type is procurement.
Competition opens: 20 April 2022 – 8 June 2022 11:00am
Interviews: 25 – 29 July 2022
Applicants notified: 5 August 2022
Contracts awarded: 12 September 2022
Your project can start by 1 October 2022, and must end by 31 March 2023. The project can last up to 6 months.
SBRI welcomes projects that include either an:
- innovative start-up supply company that is already delivering in another sector
- organisation with railway expertise, such as train operating companies, freight operators, rolling stock manufacturers or operators and infrastructure owners
Your project can range in size up to total costs of between £150,000 and £250,000, inclusive of VAT for 6 months.
You must demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into a railway environment for the first time.
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.
Your project must focus on one or more of the following:
1. Plan resilience and recoverability
Changes to the timetable and associated resource plans have often resulted in adverse impacts on performance, making the timetable less resilient to any perturbation and hindering service recovery.
2. Ancillary Plan to deliver right time, right traction from depot
The delivery of the right traction at the right time off the depot at the start of the day is critical to the on-time performance of the network throughout the day.
3. Deterioration in network response to external events including trespass and suicide
The performance impact of external events has been increasing from 2017 to 2018, suggesting that the industry recovery processes are being weakened. The level of suicides and trespass increased from 2020 to 2021. In addition, the delay minutes per incident have increased. Please note, that this category focuses on the response to incidents. Prevention of incidents is also important but has been covered by other programs.
4. Operating staff availability
The number of incidents due to operating staff not being available to deliver the plan has increased substantially, and can cause a wider impact on service recovery.
5. Weather, seasons and climate change
Performance suffers regular seasonal dips, particularly in Autumn, and is vulnerable to extreme weather events that may become more frequent due to climate change.
Please note, that innovations proposed in this category must be focused on keeping the railway open, not on anticipating weather or seasonal considerations that might suggest closing the railway. Also, note that adhesion-related proposals are excluded as these have been covered by multiple other programs.
6. More efficient use of access for infrastructure maintenance
Improving and sustaining asset reliability requires maximising the amount of time spent on core activities whilst trains are not running.
7. Removal of organisational or systemic blockers to the deployment of performance initiatives
A whole-system approach to performance improvement requires industry collaboration, but industry contracts and processes may inhibit progress.
Applicants are welcome from all sectors.
To lead a project, you can:
- be an organisation of any size
- work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
Your project must involve:
- an owner of railway assets (for example stations, rolling stock or infrastructure)
- an experienced railway organisation
- a rail organisation that has the potential to become a customer
These criteria can be met by a single organisation or up to three separate organisations.
You must also:
- include a potential integration partner
- have a letter of support signed by a senior individual, from a potential railway customer organisation
Proposals entering this competition must already be of high maturity at Rail Industry Readiness level 5 or above. You must evidence this as part of your application.
This competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.
How To Apply
You need to create an account and apply online here.
Guidance and detail of the process of applying can be found here.
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