Government revs up project innovation engine with £1.3m Transport Grant Competition

The UK government is putting its pedal to the metal on transport innovation, launching a new round of the Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) competition. With a £1.3 million pot up for grabs, the competition aims to unearth and fund cutting-edge projects that can transform the country’s transport landscape.

Decarbonisation, Aviation and Technology Minister, Anthony Browne, said: “As part of our plan to improve transport across the country, we’re continuing to back the TRIG competition which has funded hundreds of cutting-edge projects over more than a decade.

“Today’s competition launch means projects in their early stages can win tens of thousands of pounds to help improve transport and support skilled UK jobs in the process.”


Funding Innovation Across the Transport Spectrum:

Organisations and academics can now apply for grants of up to £45,000. This year’s competition prioritizes projects focused on specific areas:

  • Leveling Up Transport: Proposals addressing unique transport challenges in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland will be prioritised, aiming to create a more connected UK transport system.
  • Greener Transport: Innovative ideas that accelerate the decarbonisation of local transport and maritime sectors are highly encouraged.
  • Tech-Driven Future: Projects utilizing critical technologies like AI or emerging technologies like drones to create a more resilient transport system will be considered.
  • Open Call: Proposals tackling broader UK transport challenges across any network, challenge, or technology area are also welcome.

TRIG: A Proven Catalyst for Progress:

The TRIG competition boasts a decade-long history of success. Over 400 companies have received funding exceeding £14 million, leading to a diverse range of solutions. From improving accessibility to revolutionizing freight delivery, TRIG-backed projects are making a real difference.

Erika Lewis, Chief Executive at Connected Places Catapult, said: “Innovation is at the heart of helping our transport system to improve services for people, allow goods to be delivered more effectively and to meet environmental targets. The Transport Research and Innovation Grants programme supports high-potential innovators to develop fresh ideas, providing financial assistance and a wide range of business support from Connected Places Catapult to help them realise their commercial potential.

“The TRIG programme has been running for 10 years and goes from strength to strength. If you have an innovative idea that you think could help tackle some of the UK’s transport challenges, I urge you to apply now.”

Real-World Impact:

The competition’s impact is evident in success stories like RideTandem, an app-based shuttle service for rural communities, and Jet Connectivity’s 5G maritime network providing communication solutions at sea.

Tatseng Chiam, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at RideTandem, said: “TRIG support was essential in the early days of RideTandem, setting us on a path towards becoming one of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in the UK. An initial TRIG grant in 2019 enabled us to develop our first initial tech prototype, and we appreciated the TRIG team’s willingness to accommodate our product pivot during a challenging period in COVID-19. We’re delighted to have received further support from TRIG 2023 as we experiment with how AI-powered predictive analytics could be integrated into our tech platform.”

Jet Connectivity has also gone on to deliver its 5G maritime network by deploying floating 5G buoys. By expanding data coverage to the open ocean, those at sea can stay connected to the mainland and seafarers are better able to communicate when faced with adverse weather conditions.

James Thomas, CEO at Jet Connectivity, said: “TRIG was a fantastic opportunity to both work with Connected Places Catapult on helping grow our business but also in terms of getting end user stakeholder engagement from DfT and other potential customers. We’ve now grown substantially thanks to receiving this early-stage innovation funding and support.”

The application window for the 2024 TRIG competition is open now and closes on May 21st, 2024. With this significant investment, the government hopes to ignite a wave of innovation that will pave the way for a cleaner, more efficient, and better-connected transport system for the entire UK.

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