Transport Research
and Innovation Grants 2023

Applications are now closed

Apply now

Thank you for your interest in the Transport Research and Innovation Grants 2023 programme. Here you will find all the information you need to apply, including details of the programme’s scope, associated documentation, and deadlines.

About TRIG

Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) provide early-stage funding for innovations in science, engineering, or technology delivered by The Department for Transport’s (DfT) project delivery partner, Connected Places Catapult. TRIG is open to any UK organisation to support proof-of-concept projects that could lead to the development of successful new transport research products, processes, or services. TRIG is designed to support organisations by providing easily accessible grants, alumni, and wrap-around support from Connected Places Catapult to bring innovations closer to the market. The programme also provides a collaborative space for innovators, including academics, SMEs, and large businesses, to work with DfT’s policy teams on realising shared goals. Since 2014, over £12 million has been awarded to 361 projects. 

TRIG aims to: 

  • Stimulate the development of new technology solutions to DfT challenges.  
  • Provide innovators with support to try out new ideas – to show early promise; or fail fast.  
  • Join up innovators with DfT colleagues in a safe setting and allow them to learn together. 
  • Help create future leaders in transport, whilst driving jobs and growth. 

For TRIG 2023, DfT will offer innovators grants of up to £45k across five separate challenge areas, in addition to an Open Call challenge to undertake early stage feasibility studies.


Under the open call, the DfT is seeking innovative ideas that have the potential to address a UK transport challenge, across all modes and technology areas. It should be noted that although the open call is available for solutions to all transport challenges, applicants should consider their proposals within the context of DfT’s priorities and innovation needs. There are five other calls within the 2023 programme, as detailed below.

Application Support Webinar

We held an application support webinar on 9 November with the DfT, which included an overview of the programme, challenges, guidance on the application process and a live Q&A.

Download the webinar presentation

The Challenges

Challenge 1:
Open Call

£45k Grants Available

Any science or technology that may contribute to improving the transport system will be considered for the Open Call. This could include investigating equality of access to transport services for all users, or the performance of a new low carbon fuel. Applicants with new ways of exploiting datasets to improve services, or tools that could increase the safety of women using public transport, or encourage modal shift and active travel are also invited to submit their ideas.

Challenge 2:
Local Transport Decarbonisation

£45k Grants Available

Innovative technologies and processes with the potential to accelerate local transport decarbonisation across the UK are welcome, especially those taking a place-based approach and demonstrating an understanding of the specific needs of a local area. 

Projects could include mobility hubs, initiatives that support communities to make greener transport choices and tools to address challenges faced by rural areas. Areas of interest may include Mobility as a Service, shared mobility solutions and ways of supporting businesses to reduce their transport emissions.  

Challenge 3:
Airport Decarbonisation

£45k Grants Available

Projects that help deliver on two policy commitments set out in the Jet Zero Strategy from Government are sought, namely supporting airports to develop ground infrastructure to handle zero emission aircraft, and working towards all airport ground operations in England becoming zero emission by 2040. 

Project outcomes should either help develop and commercialise technologies which can support airport decarbonisation, increase the visibility of airports as a market to develop low and zero carbon technologies, or support innovators working to develop hydrogen ecosystems.

Challenge 4:
Future of Freight

£45k Grants Available

Ideas to improve sustainability within the freight and logistics sector and which follow the goals outlined in the Government’s Future of Freight plan are welcome. Areas of focus could include decarbonisation, the circular economy, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. Other areas which may feature include waste management, freight packaging and sustainable energy sources. 

Testing and implementation of emerging technologies such as automation, and the sharing of data to design and optimise systems are among further areas of focus.

Challenge 5:
Connectivity, AI and Digital Twins

£45k Grants Available

Projects that demonstrate an innovative use of communications networks or technologies to share data, feedback between digital and physical assets to improve processes and outcomes, and the use of Artificial Intelligence or machine learning to process data and generate insight are welcome to apply. 

The scope of this challenge is not limited to one transport mode, but projects will need to exploit at least two – and ideally all three – of the technologies listed in the headline. 

Challenge 6:
Maritime Decarbonisation

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£45k Grants Available

Clean maritime solutions that are innovative, promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime and support the transition to net zero by 2050 are invited to be put forward. Projects could focus on low and zero emission fuels, energy sources and vessel technologies; landside infrastructure and energy efficient measures to allow their uptake; and smart shipping technologies, automation and artificial intelligence that deliver indirect emissions savings for any size of vessel. 

For more details about the scope of the competition, including examples of the projects the DfT is looking to fund, please read the TRIG 2023 Grant Specification document found below.

Why apply?

Innovation Funding

Up to 100% funding to develop your innovation

DfT Collaboration

Gain insight from policy teams at DfT


Join a cohort of like-minded innovators, shaping ideas and exploring new opportunities

Business Support

Support from Connected Places Catapult covering a range of business areas including investment readiness

Solution Showcase

Opportunities to showcase your innovation projects to industry experts and representatives from DfT

Am I eligible for this programme?

TRIG is open to public, private and third sector organisations in addition to universities and research and technology organisations.
Mandatory requirements for entry:
  • Proposals should all prove an innovative concept, taking an idea typically from TRL 2 (basic research) to TRL 4 (proof of concept/small scale prototype)
  • Your organisation must have a UK registered company number and office
  • We will consider proposals from consortia. However, the lead applicant who will receive the funding must be identified
  • Applicants submitting more than one competition entry need to demonstrate the ability to deliver the projects concurrently

How to apply

These are the vital elements to focus on within your application: 

  • The Challenge – What challenge are you proposing to solve and how does it align to DfT strategies? 
  • The Solution – What is new about your idea, what is the key step change you are proposing to take that no-one else has done ? 
  • The Impact – How big could your innovation’s impact be on the economy / society etc.? What other changes will it enable; how much carbon could this save; how many jobs could this idea create?

The team held two Drop-In Sessions on 15 November to answer questions around budgeting and finance as well as a session on the application process.

You can watch the recordings below

Application support Drop-In – Budget

Application support Drop-In – General Q&A

The application deadline is midnight, 27 November 2023. Late submissions will not be considered. To apply, please register below. You will then be taken through to the application form.

Apply now

Key dates

Equality & Diversity

Connected Places Catapult is collecting equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) data as part of the application process to promote and ensure equality of access for the programmes it delivers. This data will help us monitor performance of efforts to promote ED&I in research and business innovation. All personal data will be processed in accordance with current UK data protection legislation, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).

Point of contact

If you have any question about the application, please contact our team on