Transport Research and Innovation Grants 2024

Maritime transports

Transport Research
and Innovation Grants 2024

Applications close 21 May

Apply now

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 400+ 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 2024, DfT will offer innovators grants of up to £45k across four 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 four other calls within the 2024 programme, as detailed below. 

Application Support Webinar

Connected Places Catapult and the DfT recently held a TRIG application support & information webinar. This webinar provided further information about the programme, offered application support and guidance, and offered the opportunity to ask any questions. Watch the webinar below, and access the presentation here.

Drop in sessions

On 9 May at 13:00, we are hosting a drop in session to give you more information and to ask any questions on budget and finances. On 15 May at 10:00, we are hosting a second drop in session for general application support.

Register here

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:
Critical and Emerging Technologies

£45k Grants Available

The scope for this call is not limited to a particular transport mode or outcome, but all projects must have a transport focus and project types could include at least one of the following principal areas of interest: AI in transport; Resilient and novel Position Navigation and Timing Technologies, Digital Connectivity and Sensors, Engineering Biology, Novel use of drones on the transport system, Pathway to personal air mobility, Pathway to smart infrastructure, Digital Twins.

Challenge 4:
Nation-Specific Transport Solutions

£45k Grants Available

The Department is seeking innovative technologies and approaches that have the potential to improve connectivity and reduce emissions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With limited funding options available, we need to work collaboratively with partners to deliver creative solutions to these challenges. Projects within this challenge should take a place-based approach, demonstrating an understanding of local, regional and national needs. Applicants should set out how the challenge they are seeking to tackle is particularly problematic in, or unique to, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. If the challenge is shared, to varying degrees, with other parts of the UK, applicants should consider how and where their project might have broader applications.

Challenge 5:
Maritime Decarbonisation

Pioneer of Belfast Artemis eFoiler® 100% Electric Foiling Workboat, by Artemis Technologies

£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 2024 Grant Specification document found above.

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?
Apply now

Key dates

Equality & Diversity

Equality, Diversity and inclusion are pivotal to addressing the challenges within our transport system. Therefore, we strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups within the innovation space. 

We are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us.    

Applicants requiring assistance in completing the application or alternatives forms of accessing the application should contact the project team at as early as possible (at least 15 working days before the competition closes) during the open application process to allow for appropriate support and sufficient time for the completion of the application. 

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


Innovation Zero 2024

The UK's largest net-zero congress

When and where?

Olympia London
30th - 1st May 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm


This event is now complete

We are delighted to once again participate in Innovation Zero, and we’re contributing to a number of sessions, including: 

Andrew Chadwick, Ecosystem Director, Air Mobility & Airports, joining the Fuelling Flight: Hydrogen session on 1 May at 11:45.

Alison Young, Head of Global Investment, joining the session on Funding the Automotive Transformation, on 1 May at 12:25 in the Transport & Mobility Forum.


Connected North 2024

Delivering the North's Connected Future

When and where?

Manchester Central
22nd - 23rd April 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm


This event is now complete

We are hosting a Digital Twin Hub session on Day 1, 22 April at 2pm, titled ‘Digital twins driving innovation in the North – Explore innovative projects that look to catapult the North of the UK into a bright digital future’. Join Nury Moreira, Community Manager of Digital Twin Hub, and other speakers for an inspiring conversation.


UKREiiF 2024

The UK's Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum

When and where?

21st - 23rd May 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm

This year, we are proud to host our own Pavilion, a place designed to showcase real innovation, and provide opportunities to connect with thought leaders, and UK and global peers.

To review our full Agenda of sessions and activities taking place over the three days and plan your visit, please head to the UKREiiF website > Programme tab > Download Programme or > Click on the Connected Places Catapult Pavilion dot to browse online.

Make sure to visit our Pavilion in Pavilion Square, we look forward to connecting with you in Leeds! 


Interchange 2024

Be the Change

When and where?

27th - 28th February 2024
9:00am - 6:00pm


This event is now complete

Paul Wilson, our Chief Business Officer, is participating in the keynote panel titled ‘Transport as the key to people-centric, accessible, and sustainable urban spaces’ on 27 Feb, from 13:10 on the Keynote Stage.

Justin Anderson, Director of Digital Twin Hub, is delivering a presentation on connected digital twins as part of Interchange partner event Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) Live, also on 27 Feb.

Come find us on the show floor and connect!

Register using code CPC24.


Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) Conference 2024

Become better connected

When and where?

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
16th - 17th January 2024
9:00am - 6:00pm


This event is now complete

We’re delighted to participate in the Open & Agile Smart Cities Conference. Make sure to visit our Connected Places Catapult stand on the show floor and to join the sessions our experts are participating in over the course of the two days.


Clean tech innovators in the West Midlands to tackle transport challenges

Companies delivering greener transport technologies will take part in trials and receive funding and business support as part of the Clean Futures accelerator programme.

Twenty firms at the leading edge of efforts to reduce the transport sector’s reliance on fossil fuels have been announced as participants on the Clean Futures accelerator programme in the West Midlands.

Clean Futures is led by Connected Places Catapult alongside programme partners the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Coventry University and CU Services Limited.

Companies chosen for the programme will each receive up to £50,000 to trial their solutions over the next six months, and address one of five challenge areas associated with the rail and automotive manufacturing sectors. The challenges cover greener electric vehicle components; the circular economy of transport; road freight alternatives; greener transport infrastructure; and future fuels.

The accelerator will also provide bespoke technical and commercial support as well as networking and showcasing events to connect the SMEs with industry and financial partners.

“Working with our excellent partners, the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Coventry University and CU Services Limited, the Clean Futures accelerator programme aims to really move the needle in the West Midlands by supporting the most exciting cleantech innovators.

“Connected Places Catapult is delighted to be supporting the 20 small to medium sized companies in this first cohort of the programme, and we look forward to seeing their ideas develop.”
Alex Weedon, Executive Director, Connected Places Catapult, SME Development and Academic Engagement

Meet the 20 companies and their innovations:

AceOn Group (trading as AceOn Battery Solar Technology) has developed a portable energy storage system using second-life electric car batteries, as an alternative to diesel powered generators.

Adelan will demonstrate its solid oxide fuel cell (hydrogen technology power generator) as a cleantech solution for applications including boats, trucks, planes, trains and cars to enable energy systems to decarbonise.

Box Tube has developed a rapid vehicle loading solution for tote boxes, which promises to reduce emissions by enabling efficient and convenient transfer between road and rail.

ChangeMaker 3D is developing a concrete printing technology for the UK rail sector. It is printing and installing a 3D printed toilet pod, which can integrate rainwater harvesting and solar power.

Coexlion has created a Smart Utility Case to fit to the Verdemoto food delivery vehicle to reduce last mile carbon emissions, and reduce short car journeys. It uses IoT connectivity to link orders with the vehicle.

Composite Braiding will demonstrate the net zero benefits of using lightweight advanced composites to manufacture sustainable and lower cost structural components.

Duck Tours (trading as Seahorse Amphibious Vehicles) is using second-life electric vehicle  components to electrify amphibious passenger vehicles, to promote resource efficiency.

Gaussion designs magnetic systems that improve battery performance, and aims to significantly reduce charging times and increase the lifespan of batteries for use in automotive applications.

Global Nano Network has developed a high performance current collector, designed to dramatically improve the cycle life and discharge rate of li-ion and next generation batteries.

Harry Needle Railroad Company and Advanced Hydrogen Technologies are installing a hydrogen injection system and a carbon capture unit on to a test locomotive to improve the environmental and fuel efficiency of diesel locomotives.

Hixal has developed a high power, high voltage Power Distribution Unit (PDU) and Control System for its mobile, off-grid, ultra-fast chargers with zero emissions.

Hy-Met has created a rapid and non-contact battery inspection solution to evaluate battery cell quality, that offers data crucial for new regulatory procedures such as a ‘battery passport’.

Intelligent Power Generation (trading as IPG Energy) is delivering a clean, fuel-agnostic generator to help businesses accelerate their transition to renewable fuels for distributed power.

Nedra is developing a lightweight electric vehicle using natural fibre composites, to significantly cut carbon emissions over its lifetime compared to other urban delivery and taxi electric vehicles.

Newreg (trading as is pioneering a digital platform using AI to perform vehicle inspections at the point of collection, while a dynamic pricing model evaluates a vehicle’s market value.

PowerUp Off-Grid Services is pioneering sustainable ‘Energy as a Service’ solutions, starting with the replacement of fossil fuel generators with its AI-driven battery ‘PowerStations’.

TaiSan Energy develops sustainable and low-cost battery packs for the automotive sector and has built sodium-ion battery packs, designed for micromobility vehicles.

Universal Signalling has developed a novel signalling architecture to create a step-change in the simplicity, cost and flexibility of railway signalling and train control systems.

Varamis Rail is working on a fully-electric express rail logistics business using existing 100mph former passenger trains repurposed to carry parcels, to allow freight to move between train and last-mile sustainable delivery solutions.

White Motorcycle Concepts is developing a first/last mile hybrid motorcycle with enhanced battery capacity, with a view to producing a commercially available vehicle by the middle of 2024.

Clean Futures Accelerator Cohort Brochure
File Type: pdfFile size: 3.3MB

Clean Futures is being led by Connected Places Catapult in collaboration with the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation, Coventry University and CU Services Limited. It is part of the wider West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, which is designed to bolster the region’s innovation and R&D capability and spark commercial growth and investment. The West Midlands Innovation Accelerator is delivered in partnership with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK and the West Midlands Combined Authority.


Shaping the Future, Today

Shaping The Future, Today

Applications are now closed

Apply now

Future Focused Solutions for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation – Open Call and Investment Forum for UK and UAE Businesses

The COP28 – Net Zero Mitigation & Resilience Solutions for the UAE programme is seeking to develop long-term, business led research and innovation collaborations between UAE based investors and SMEs and the UK to address pivotal climate change mitigation and resilience challenges.  
Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Gulf Strategy Fund, this programme is responding to three opportunities outlined in the 2023 iteration of Dubai Future Foundation’s The Global 50 future opportunities report. The challenges have been chosen to create collaborations that merge local and UK expertise.  
We will work with Dubai Future Foundation and Expo City Dubai to offer UK and UAE SMEs the opportunity to connect and collaborate on solutions to three challenges focusing on minimising environmental risks, harnessing nature’s capacity to restore itself and radically changing ways of life by replacing the models that countries, communities and individuals live by. 
For each challenge, we will select 4 SMEs, two based in the UK and two based in UAE to showcase their solution to the challenge in Dubai at the end of March 2024. The selected companies will also present their business to a selected group of UAE based investors at an Investor Pitch Evening. Where appropriate and viable, the showcase presentations may be selected to be installed at Expo City Dubai, or other suitable venues, for a period of 3 months.

Application Support Webinar

We will host an application support webinar on 23 January.

This webinar will cover the background to the programme, the challenges it is aiming to address, how the programme will benefit SMEs, guidance on how to apply and information on the application process.

Register now

Key Dates

Programme Challenges

Learn more about the challenges here

The Dubai Future Foundation is at the forefront of creating innovation platforms that allow for ideas to take shape through strategic collaboration locally in Dubai and globally, shaping a better future.

Among the organisation’s initiatives, The Global 50 shares Dubai Future Foundation’s view of the future and outlines 50 opportunities for growth, prosperity and well-being. Some of these opportunities may be in their early days of exploration, some require reflection and some feel very far away.

Connected Places Catapult’s technology experts have chosen three specific challenges from the 2023 edition of The Global 50 which link to accelerating innovation in our cities and will allow us to explore specific ideas and initiatives that can bring positive long-term financial, environmental and societal outcomes.

1: What if the next wave of car technology innovation was in the wheels? 

A series of technological innovations in the wheels redefine the future of car transport – from maglev (magnetic levitation) solutions and drone-like technologies to the replacement of rubber in tyres and new ways of conceptualising the function of wheels on a car. 
We are particularly interested in sensor / AI driven solutions to optimising tyre and brake wear and reducing pollutants for EVs. 

Why it matters today: Tyres and brake systems produce large amounts of microplastics as by-products. Up to 100,000 tonnes of microplastics from tyres end up in the ocean each year and a further 40,000 tonnes of microplastics come from wear and tear on car brakes. With the average scrapped car tyre weighing 9 kg, the amount of microplastics discharged into the ocean is equivalent to 11 million tyres each year. Research suggests that nanoparticles generated from road traffic can cause harm, and increased road traffic is a major cause of high particle concentrations in polluted urban areas. Atmospheric particulate matter was recognised as the leading cause of 43,000 premature deaths in Europe by the European Environment Agency in 2015.

The opportunity: The transport landscape is changing. Imaginative new applications of drone or maglev (magnetic levitation) technology could be the future. For example, in one scenario, there could be hybrid vehicles that are capable of running on electricity or alternative fuels but that switch over to maglev mode when the infrastructure is available. This would prevent the release of nanoparticles of dust, plastic and minerals into the atmosphere, as well as reducing noise levels. Such solutions would make the roads cleaner, improving ecosystems and human health.

Replacing rubber tyres with new materials and new wheel and brake technologies can minimise wear and tear on both vehicles and road surfaces. When used safely, lower-friction – or even frictionless solutions, augmented by advanced machine intelligence and autonomous systems – can cut energy consumption, enabling electric vehicles to travel further.

Wheels could become multifunctional. Rethinking the functionality of wheels and tyres beyond simply transportation and carrying the load of the car could lead to the development of wheels that can generate energy, filter nanoparticles and absorb emissions, among other applications.

2: What if we could absorb greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter on demand anywhere in the world?

Enabled by materials science, automation and advanced machine intelligence, emissions and particulate matter are absorbed on an as-needed basis, anywhere in the world, independent of technological capabilities available on hand. 

Why it matters today: On average, those living in the largest urban cities in the MENA region breathe in 10 times the level of pollutants in the air that the World Health Organization considers safe.

The opportunity: Clean air will one day be a critical need if climate change persists. Materials science, automation and advanced machine intelligence could contribute to the invention of a mobile emissions and particulate matter (PM) scrubber that could absorb carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and PM anywhere in the world. If this idea were scaled, scrubbers could be positioned at sea as offshore platforms to absorb emissions and PM. 

Mobile emissions and PM scrubbers could be standalone solutions powered by renewable sources of energy. Using advanced materials, they could efficiently absorb greenhouse gases and PM and either store them for later use or convert them into fuel and other non-harmful, possibly useful chemicals. 

3: What if deliveries went underground?

An AI-powered pneumatic tube system for city-wide delivery on demand that offers a completely integrated OnDemand delivery model reviving an old approach with the technological advances needed. 

The opportunity: The idea of a city-wide pneumatic tube system is not new – no longer operational because of high operational costs, the New York postal service was connected in 1897 through pipes that delivered letters and parcels around the city.  

New materials, new building techniques and automated, AI-powered distribution centres could offer completely integrated on-demand delivery models giving traction in reviving the former approach. Pneumatic tunnels (also called vacuum tunnels) embedded into the urban infrastructure to connect buildings and distribution nodes could offer ‘beyond-the-doorstep’ delivery solutions to hospitals and other critical services. With development costs integrated into zoning and real estate plans, the tunnel system could be run on a pay-per-use basis. 

Integrating small robotic distribution centres around cities would mean that packages could be electronically tagged for delivery to an address and loaded into a sealed pipe for instant dispatch. Buildings would be equipped with hatches where goods could be sent and received. Perfect traceability of goods from dispatch to delivery would be guaranteed, as the system would automatically track tagged goods via distributed ledger technology databases. 

What’s on offer to SMEs?

6 UK and 6 UAE companies will be selected to participate in this programme and benefit from tailored support from Connected Places Catapult experts, and funding leading up to the presentation of their solutions and investor pitches.

UK Based SMEs will be provided with financial assistance up to £10k in total value to develop their showcase presentations and cover the travel and accommodation for the trip to Dubai in March 2024.

UK SMEs will receive:

  • Workshops to prepare their showcase presentations.
  • Funding to create a showcase.
  • Bespoke support from Connected Places Catapult to prepare for investment pitches
  • A trip to Dubai which will include:
    • An Investment Summit
    • A Showcase Event
    • In-country networking and introductions

UAE SMEs will receive:

  • Bespoke support from the Connected Places Catapult to prepare for investment pitches.
  • A trip to Dubai which will include:
    • An Investment Summit
    • A Showcase Event
    • In-country networking and introductions
    • Excursions

Am I eligible for this programme?

UK SME eligibility criteria for UK organisations:

  • You must be a registered UK company.
  • You are ready and willing to collaborate and showcase your solution in the UAE.
  • You need to be export-ready, but no previous export experience is required.
  • The technology on which your solution (product or service) will be based should be TRL 3-4 and above, e.g., at proof of concept stage or above.
  • Desire to expand internationally.

UAE SME eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a registered organisation according to your national legislation.
  • You are ready and willing to collaborate and showcase your solution.
  • You need to be export-ready, but no previous export experience is required.
  • The technology on which your solution (product or service) will be based should be TRL 3-4 and above.
  • Desire to expand internationally.

How to apply

Please register through the link below. Applications close midnight 28 January 2024

Apply now

Supporting Documents

Competition ScopeSelection Criteria

Point of contact

If you have any questions about the programme and application, please contact:

Megan Ford, SME Ecosystem Support Officer,  

Application Support Webinar

We will host an application support webinar, with a date to be confirmed shortly.

This webinar will cover the background to the programme, the challenges it is aiming to address, how the programme will benefit SMEs, guidance on how to apply and information on the application process.


Meet the innovators

Innovating isn’t easy. It’s risky, it’s fraught with failure, and there’s no guarantees of success. In this episode we meet two companies that have had to navigate the innovation rollercoaster to get to where they are.

Both companies have been supported by the Connected Places Catapult at various points in their journey. They have each developed two ground-breaking products and collected some great stories to tell along the way.

Our in-house journalist, Mike Walter, spoke to Eugene Bari, the CEO and Managing Director of Ecomar Propulsion and Dr Victoria Kroll, CEO & co-founder of Esitu Solutions.

Ecomar Propulsion builds zero emission propulsion systems for the maritime industry, whilst Esitu Solutions is on a mission to improve road safety and reduce the number of driving accidents using virtual reality technology.

Theme music on this episode is by Phill Ward Music (

Show notes

To read the full article on Ecomar Propulsion or Esitu Solutions, click on the link. To read more articles in our ‘Meet the Innovator’ series, click here.

To register for our inaugural Connected Places Summit, being held in London on 20-21 March 2024, click here.

To find out more about what we do at the Connected Places Catapult and to hear about the latest news, events and announcements, visit and do sign up to our newsletter!

Follow the show

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Please also take a moment to write a review and rate us so that more people can hear about the podcast and what we do at Connected Places Catapult.


Full transcript is available here.


Smart City Expo World Congress 2023

Welcome to the new urban era

When and where?

FIRA, Barcelona and online
7th - 9th November 2023
9:00am - 6:00pm


This event is now complete

Visit the UK Pavilion Powered by Connected Places Catapult in Hall P1, stand 61, to discover exciting technological innovation from partners from across the UK.

Sam Markey, our Ecosystem Director, Place Leadership, will co-host an insight-rich event on innovation-friendly procurement with pioneering place leaders from across the world, on the UK Pavilion on Tuesday, 7 November, from 14:00.

On Wednesday, 8 November, our Principal Place Development Leader, Catherine Hadfield, will Chair a session on the role of Innovation Districts in the digital future of cities and regions, from noon.