Transport Innovation Expo

DATE: 7 October, 2021

LOCATION: Online event

START TIME: 9:00 am END TIME: 5:00 pm

Join us on Thursday 7th October to celebrate early-stage innovation in the transport sector.

We are delighted to be hosting our first Transport Innovation Expo that showcases the best innovations arising from the DfT-supported TRIG Programme. From de-carbonisation to drone technology, innovation across the UK is seeing unprecedented advancements across the transport sector. As leaders in the transport ecosystem, both the Connected Places Catapult and the Department for Transport are deeply committed to championing new and beneficial technological developments, which is why we are proud to recognise and celebrate the best of the UK’s transport innovators, academics and entrepreneurs at our first Transport Innovation Expo. The Transport Innovation Expo will bring together transport leaders, innovators, academics and SMEs to showcase the power of collaboration through facilitated conversations around current sector challenges, demonstrations of novel solutions and discussions about new strategies for growth. 

The Expo will:

  • Showcase the impact collaboration has on accelerating research and innovation and how transport R&D has the power to create gateways into the market and seed regional economic growth
  • Celebrate DfT and Connected Places Catapult’s Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) programme
  • Hear from different actors in the innovation ecosystem about their challenges and the opportunities they see and seek out industry solutions to connect, spark and accelerate innovation
  • Help SMEs, academics and other innovators understand the next steps in their innovation journeys and provide opportunities to make connections with partners who will help them take those steps
  • Help bridge the gap between innovation and procurement by raising awareness of upcoming innovation and procurement opportunities
  • Facilitate conversations around transport innovation and its role in delivering both Connected Places Catapult’s and DfT’s priorities, between innovators, funders, and solution procurers.

Highlights will include:

  • A meet the Buyers session – allowing innovators to network with potential customers such as HS2, TfL and Network Rail
  • Opportunities arising from Connected Places Catapult’s Accelerator Programmes
  • Insight into how small businesses can secure their next round of innovation funding
  • Showcases from the TRIG programmes


Adopting equality and diversity practices is key in ensuring that innovation is implemented successfully. This involves ensuring new solutions are inclusive, accessible, and reflective of the needs of a wider societal group. During this panel, speakers will highlight the importance of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in innovation processes and showcase the wider benefits for society when all groups are considered as part of the solution.

As a provider of leading innovation accelerators for cities, transport, and places in the UK, Connected Places Catapult is well situated and equipped to support innovative start-ups and SMEs who are looking to develop solutions to real world problems. In our efforts to support later-stage innovation, CPC runs several accelerators which provide business, industry, and peer-to-peer support to rapidly take businesses to the next level. During this session, the audience will hear from CPC and both of our partners and SMEs who have supported and participated in a variety of accelerators, to learn how could leverage impact for your business.

A key aspect of successfully launching innovative products is funding. However, identifying funding opportunities and how to access them can be challenging for businesses. Regardless of what stage your business venture sits at, choosing the right type of funding, whether be capital investment or grants, is a critical aspect of successfully bringing solutions to market. During this special plane, the audience will hear from experts at Connected Places Catapult, Innovate UK, who will highlight the various opportunities available to innovators to access funding to support their business aspirations.

For many businesses, an important part of their exploitation roadmap is selling their product in international markets. While entering new markets can be a daunting and challenging part of a business’s growth, the Department for International Trade (DIT) is positioned to support the process. During this session, attendees will hear from DIT International Trade Advisors who work with local businesses In the regions where they are based, and a company . who will breakdown the internalisation process and detail the support they offer to businesses looking to break into overseas markets.

Professor Sarah Sharples is Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport. The CSA Is responsible for providing advice to ministers and senior officials, ensuring that science and engineering evidence and advice is robust, relevant and high quality, and that there are mechanisms for science and engineering to underpin policymaking and the delivery of services and operations. Professor Sharples will be presenting awards to Innovators currently or previously on TRIG programmes, to highlight examples of excellent technical achievement and potential Impact.

Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIGs) are programmes run in partnership with Connected Places Catapult and the Department for Transport (DfT). The TRIGs bridge the early stage, proof-of-concept funding gap in transport innovation, where small investments can de-risk emerging solutions. During this innovation showcase session, we will hear from innovators who participated in the TRIG 2020 programme where solutions were developed in the following challenges: decarbonising the transport system, COVID recovery and a traditional open call.

During this innovation showcase, we will hear from innovators who participated in the TRIG: Accessibility programme where solutions developed will make our transport systems more inclusive, removing the barriers that prevent disabled passengers from travelling confidently, safely and with ease.

The TRIG: Drones programme is supporting early-stage research and development projects that will accelerate the delivery of near-to-market drone flight and air traffic management capabilities within the UK. During this innovation showcase, we will hear from innovators who participated in the programme and discovered some great things about how we could integrate drones into UK airspace.

Government’s Commitment to SMEs SME Crown Representative Cabinet Office Small Business Advisory Panel Update

Net Zero – Carbon Reduction Plan Next Zero Modern Slavery

HS2 – Meet the Buyer/Innovation Network Rail – Meet the Buyer/Innovation National Highways – Meet the Buyer/Innovation

Department for International Trade – Meet the Buyer/Innovation Transport for London – Meet the Buyer/Innovation DVSA – Meet the Buyer/Innovation

Rail Industry Association – Unlocking Innovation Programme CECA – Supporting SMEs Meet Net Zero Rail Forum Midlands – SME Challenges