Network Rail and Connected Places Catapult Partner for Rail Innovation Factory

The Connected Places Catapult will focus on bringing more innovation into the supply chain and accelerating new technologies to market to improve the rail network.

Connected Places Catapult (CPC) and Network Rail have announced a strategic partnership focused on the development of innovative technology within the rail sector. The ‘Innovation Factory’ under which the agreement will take place is part of Network Rail’s 5-year £357 million Research and Development (R&D) portfolio.

As ‘Innovation Partner’ the Catapult will help identify challenges facing the rail industry and actively seek emerging technologies and solutions which could be adapted and applied to solve them. To further this goal, the Catapult will be responsible for conducting a variety of activities to help drive engagement with innovative businesses, with the aim of helping Network Rail get new solutions into the market.

The Catapult will also use its technical capabilities to support the development of new concepts, products and services. This will help to reduce risk for both innovators interested in entering the rail industry and for Network Rail as they seek ‘outside the box’ solutions which could provide big improvements to operations across the Network.

Helen Wylde, Chief Engagement Officer at Connected Places Catapult said:

“There is significant appetite within Network Rail to increase the agility and pace of delivering innovation into the rail sector which we are excited to support. New technologies and approaches are sweeping the transport industry and opening up an array of possibilities for improved operations on the rail network and end user experience. In our role as Innovation Partner we will be focused on creating an innovation pipeline that can make these possibilities a reality.

In particular, we are aware of a wealth of innovation coming from the UK’s SME community and we will be looking at new ways to support them in entering the supply chain and for Network Rail to benefit from their know how.”

Martin Frobisher, Group director, Safety, Technical & Engineering at Network Rail said:

“We are in a time of unprecedented opportunity from technology and the emergence and growth of new companies.  The joint work from Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio and CPC on the Innovation Factory will help us make the most of this opportunity, driving innovation at pace and reaching out to a broader range of companies that will help us make a real difference to passengers and freight customers.”

If you are an innovative business interested in working with the CPC and Network rail, you are encouraged to register your business and to look out for opportunities on our website . The CPC are also hosting regular Connections Café networking events throughout the year which you can discover here.