Transport Research and Innovation Grants

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) bridge the early stage, proof-of-concept funding gap in transport innovation, where small investments can de-risk emerging solutions. TRIG calls allow Government to support the earliest stage of transport innovation by taking numerous small risks. It also builds links between innovators and officials in a safe way, to the benefit of both and it helps uncover new leaders and beneficial innovation across the breadth of the transport technology spectrum.  

Through both open and targeted funding calls, TRIGs have supported SMEs and universities to increase the security of our borders and critical infrastructure; decarbonise the transport system and investigate how public transport services can best recover from the impact of COVID-19.  

The TRIG: Drones programme seeks to address public opinion concerns relating to the safety and effectiveness of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by facilitating their integration into UK airspace, while TRIG: Accessibility is supporting five suppliers who are improving transport services for disabled passengers.  

 It is the unique relationship between the DfT and Connected Places Catapult that makes TRIG such a success. While TRIG bolster’s R&D capability like a traditional research and innovation grant, added value is delivered through a comprehensive programme of commercial support. Following a thorough assessment of the business needs of each organisation, we ensure that they receive the right market and policy insights, commercial introductions and receive support to accelerate the commercialisation of their research and technology.  

  TRIG is open to all businesses and academic institutions who are seeking funding to test the art of the possible by unearthing brand new ideas and concepts that can start on their journey to reach the market.  


Why Apply for TRIG 

  • 100% grants for SMEs and academic institutions  
  • Oversight is provided by the DfT Office for Science and Chief Scientific Adviser  
  • The scheme builds links with DfT Officials to help you understand how your ideas fit into Government’s priorities  
  • Connected Places Catapult provides follow-on and wrap-around support, including the chance to enter our SME development programme  
  • The scheme provides the opportunity to take part in DfT and Catapult run events  
  • TRIG helps you build the right network to get your research applied in practice / to the market 


Why DfT teams fund TRIGs  

  • To gain insight into the innovation landscape​  
  • To raise awareness of DfT’s role as a supporter and enabler of innovation​  
  • To access to the Catapult’s technical capabilities and understanding of markets ​  
  • To help shape emerging technologies​ towards more beneficial outcomes 
  • To help innovative technology​ succeed in procurement processes 
  • To focus innovation funding on DfT challenges 
  • To embed a culture of innovation sponsor teams and build science capability

Case Studies

The TRIG: Security (also known as S-TRIG) Programme ran from September 2020 to March 2021 and was designed to tackle some of the future challenges that could arise within national security in the UK. A total of 18 projects from 13 organisations were successful in securing up to £30,000 to conduct research and technological development projects. All of our organisations completed a case study at the end of the programme, detailing their major findings and next steps in terms of commercialisation. You can read all 18 case studies in more detail below.