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How Will New Funding Innovate the Transport Sector?

3 min

The government have announced today that a share of nearly £2 million will be given to tech start-ups in a bid to power up the transport revolution. Quadrant transport looks at how this funding could modernise the sector.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison has today announced that creative start-ups will be given a share of £1.95million to see ideas and revolutionise the transport sector.

Up to 53 projects will be awarded a share of £1.95million in Department for Transport funding. Past winners include a purifying system to lower virus transmission on trains, a portable charger for use at remote locations and a battery cooling system.

In the 2020 round of funding, The University of Surrey constructed a device that could make it safer for people to travel. The device could be installed on trains and buses to purify the air and lower the transmission of certain viruses including Covid-19.

The device works by sucking air through the equivalent of a cold flame. The ionising plasma then attacks any virus particles that may be in the air and breaks them apart, rendering them harmless.

Similarly, Greenway Innovations developed a system that attracts and grabs virus droplets that are produced when you cough. This system could be installed on trains to purify the air and lower the transmission of viruses.

The funding hopes to support innovation ahead of COP26

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison told Quadrant Transport: “Backing innovation is a priority for us, and I’m delighted to be supporting Britain’s budding entrepreneurs, as they help us to ensure people can travel at ease and to solve the complex task of decarbonising our transport system.”

This is vital as we look ahead to a greener and safer transport future that will create jobs right across the UK.

Since launching in 2014, over £6m in grants have supported over 200 projects. The Transport Research and Innovation Grant (TRIG) projects typically last around 6 months, with grants of up to £30k.

The money will also allow the construction of larger consortia and the tackling of trickier problems

The funding this year has been doubled to £1.95 million to allow the funding of Open Call applications, alongside targeted calls in priority areas and a pilot of larger grants.

Other projects that have benefitted from the funding are QDot, a company that has created a battery cooling system.

The faster a battery is charged, the hotter it can get. Their design includes a built-in cooling tab that allows heat to be conducted away rapidly, allowing drivers to charge their vehicles quickly by preventing battery packs from getting too hot – a project that was boosted by funding in the last round of the competition.

CEO of Connected Places Catapult, Nicola Yates OBE, told Quadrant Transport: “The UK’s innovation ecosystem has a strong track record in developing solutions to complex problems.”

The TRIG 2021 call is focused on finding the next wave of state-of-the-art transport solutions, enabling the sector to achieve net-zero and become more resilient to disruption.

I very much look forward to seeing the proposed innovations and working with the successful teams to support their journey to market.

Now in its 11th round of funding, TRIG brings together talented start-ups and policymakers at the earliest stages of innovation. By issuing targeted investments of up to £30,000 for each project, the fund aims to help budding start-ups and academics propel their ideas to market quicker.