Freight Innovation Fund

The Freight Innovation Fund is a multi-faceted programme funded by the Department for Transport, focussed on accelerating the adoption of commercially ready solutions to address challenges in the UK’s freight sector.

Each year in the UK, we transport 1.6bn tonnes of freight using many different modes of transport and it has never been quicker or easier. The freight sector makes a huge contribution to the UK economy, but it is also a significant contributor to domestic carbon emissions. 

The Freight Innovation Fund (FIF) will support SMEs with solutions to current challenges in the UK’s freight sector, as well as developing a future pipeline of solutions to meet the sector’s emerging needs. The programme will take a cross-modal view of the end-to-end freight journey, deploying solutions in real world environments. Funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Connected Places Catapult, the Freight Innovation Fund programme will identify and trial new products and services coming to market in the freight sector. It will convene and support innovating organisations across the sector and ultimately support the whole market to grow to match the ambitions of both the DfT and the whole UK economy. 

The DfT has dedicated £7m to the programme to support SMEs through the Accelerator Programme and Freight Innovation Cluster until 2024.

Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator 

The accelerator programme will select up to 30 SMEs over 3 open calls until 2024. Successful SMEs will join a 6-month programme, where they will each have the opportunity to access up to £150,000 of grant funding to trial their solutions with industry partners.  

The second open call is open for applications until 26 November 2023. Find out more information about the accelerator programme.

Connected Places Catapult has been working with industry partners and key players in the freight sector to establish the accelerator programme challenges and ensure market relevance. Industry partners will provide access to testing environments and internal expertise. 

SMEs will also benefit from trial and business support tailored to their needs. 


Accelerator Partners

The image shows the FedEx Express logo, with "Fed" in purple and "Ex" in orange. The word "Express" is in purple underneath "Ex".
Freightliner logo featuring the brand name in black text on a yellow banner against an orange circle. Below is text reading "a Genesee & Wyoming Company.
A blue and white logo with the word "MARITIME" in bold letters at the bottom, featuring a stylized wave above the letters.
Text reads "Port of Tyne" with a wavy line below, all in purple.
Logo of Portsmouth International Port with the text in blue and wavy lines at the bottom.
A text logo reading "Navy Federal Credit Union" in navy blue font.
Logo of DP World, featuring a stylized globe with red and green curved lines intersecting it, positioned above the text "DP WORLD" in bold, black capital letters.

Freight Innovation Cluster 

The Freight Innovation Cluster is a core feature of the programme. Complementing the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator, it will be the go-to community for innovating organisations in the freight industry.  

Through sector specific engagement activities, cross-pollination opportunities, ad hoc business support, and community-building exercises, the cluster aims to become a vibrant ecosystem, where new ideas and collaboration can flourish. 

The Freight Innovation Cluster is open to anyone in the freight industry, including innovative SMEs, industry partners and academia. Technology agnostic, this initiative will focus on developing innovation across the sector and will last for the whole duration of the programme.

Join the freight innovation cluster