Network Rail's R&D Portfolio

For the five yearly funding cycle Control Period 6, running from 2019 to 2024, the rail regulator ORR accepted Network Rail’s proposals to allocate £245 million for research, development and innovation (R,D&I) – a substantial uplift from previous levels. When combined with investment from other sources, there Network Rail's R&D Portfolio equates to £357 million, focused on improving the quality and value for passengers and freight customers of the rail network. 

There is additionally a £40 million performance innovation fund specifically targeting short term improvements for customers. 


This level of available funding brings many opportunities for rail suppliers to participate in R,D&I.  From responding to Network Rail’s requests for information on current capability to help shape competitions, to bidding into competitions, to working together under self-funded arrangements and competitions funded through grants and Network Rail's membership of the European Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking - the possibilities are numerous.  These opportunities are typically advertised on the website, where Network Rail works with InnovateUK, or through Connected Places Catapult, or the Official Journal of the European Union.

A look through our R&D Portfolio brochure - Pioneers Welcome - provides an introduction on how to get involved.

There is a clear statement that £1.6 billion of value is expected to result from NR’s R&D Portfolio investment and that means there is also a major focus on getting technology deployed. Charting the progress of R&D through rail industry readiness levels; introducing new procurement models to facilitate collaboration from conception through to deployment; and establishing early sponsorship from Network Rail’s devolved regions and routes to steer and pull through new products and services, will all be vital.

To find out more, contact [email protected]

The Innovation Journey in Network Rail

Download a map of Network Rail R&D's Innovation Journey, to help get your product or solution onto the railways.