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GCRE Urges Innovators To Enter Rail Construction Competition


The Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) is encouraging innovators from across the UK to submit proposals to a major new rail innovation competition before applications close next week.

The Innovation in Railway Construction Competition is offering teams up to £7.44 million of funding for innovation ideas that can be tested at the GCRE facility in South Wales. Entries for the first phase of funding close at noon on 14th December.

The competition is being run by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), alongside GCRE and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK Government. The competition is making funding available for projects that propose, deliver and demonstrate innovation in railway construction.

The current round is the first phase of a potential two phase competition.

Phase 1 is making available funding for feasibility studies of up to £25,000.

Phase 2 potential invite only competition for successful phase 1 projects to develop and demonstrate their innovations.

GCRE Chief Executive Simon Jones said:

“I’d encourage everyone interested in taking part in this unique competition to use this last week to finalise their proposals and submit their entries by noon on 14th December.

“Working with the team at Innovate UK we’re excited at the creative ideas and new technologies that can be developed through this competition. The Global Centre of Rail Excellence in South Wales is one of the most unique infrastructure projects anywhere in rail today and we’re proud to be a home for this fund.

“When it begins operation in 2025, GCRE will be a facility that enables world class research and testing of new infrastructure, rolling stock and rail technology right here in the UK.  It will be a ‘one stop shop’ for the industry, providing an innovation space quite unlike any other in Europe, filling a critical gap in rail that can help reduce costs in the industry and support decarbonisation.

“GCRE is a place that will bring people and ideas together and so this Innovate UK fund provides a perfect home, helping develop new ideas that can support the railway of tomorrow.”

More detail on the fund and how to apply can be found on the UK Government website:

For those wanting to enter the first phase of the competition, projects must:

  • Have a total grant funding request of up to £25,000
  • Have total project costs of up to £40,000
  • Start by 1st May 2023
  • End by 31st July 2023
  • Last up to 3 months
  • Carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • Intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Simon Jones added:

“This funding opportunity really is unique. It’s not often that you get an opportunity to develop a new idea and embed it in a world class infrastructure project as it’s being constructed. So I’m encouraging everyone to use this last week to finalise their applications and get their proposals in.

“We’re really looking forward to working with the talented people and the interesting ideas that we know will come through this competition.”