Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Innovation in transport

This area of support covers our programmes supporting the decarbonisation of transport and technologies such as connectivity and autonomy.

It includes our investments in automotive, maritime, rail, charging and refuelling infrastructure and heavy goods vehicles.

Budget:
The average annual budget is around £300 to £400 million. Innovate UK works with partners across UK government to manage this investment.
Duration:
This is a series of programmes focused on transport innovation to March 2025.
Partners involved:
Innovate UK (lead), Department for Transport, Department for Business and Trade and Department for Energy and Net Zero and HS2 Limited

The scope and what we're doing

Innovate UK, supported by our funders in UK government, is investing in a range of programmes to accelerate innovation in transport.

Between 2022 and 2025 we are delivering nearly £700 million of investment from our partners. These programmes will accelerate technologies that will transform transport over the coming years.

We published our Transport Vision 2050, an in-depth study that sets out what the UK transport system may look like in 2050 and outlines the likely steps along the way to achieving this.

Themes

Our transport work is focused on two main themes:

Decarbonisation

Transport is a major contributor to UK emissions and as we move towards net zero all transport sectors will need to get to zero emissions.

Digital, connectivity and autonomy

These technologies have huge potential benefits to transport efficiency, safety and significant future jobs growth.

Programmes

Our specific programmes cover transport innovation across:

  • road
  • rail
  • maritime
  • aerospace

Advanced Centre Propulsion

We deliver the Advanced Centre Propulsion competitions, funded by the Department for Business and Trade.

UK Shipping Office for reducing Emissions (UK SHORE)

The UK SHORE programme is funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). It is aiming to decarbonise the UK’s maritime sector and supporting a range of zero emission technologies for vessels and in ports, right across the UK. This is a major new programme launched in 2022.

Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator

We are managing DfT’s ambitious Zero Emissions HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator. This £200 million investment will support hundreds of zero emission heavy goods vehicles to be demonstrated by major UK companies between 2025 and 2030.

Rail innovation

Our rail innovation programmes with DfT, Global Centre for Rail Innovation and HS2 Limited are delivering solutions to improve our railways in areas such as:

  • customer experience
  • train operations and maintenance

Projects

Our funded projects include businesses, small and large, academics and innovators to develop technologies and bring them to market, tackling important challenges such as reducing the emissions from the transport sector.

We work closely with other parts of UKRI and related programmes such as:

Why we're doing it

Transport is vital to our communities, our economy and to all of us individually in our daily lives. It shapes our towns, cities and countryside. It’s the lifeblood of our economies and impacts each and every one of us.

In line with the UK’s net zero goals, the UK government has committed to decarbonise transport as set out in its Transport Decarbonisation Plan in 2021. That’s because transport accounts for around 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

We work closely with DfT and other partners across government to support innovation to tackle some of our biggest challenges. Innovation is vital to help bring new technologies to market to improve our transport system across all modes, air, road, rail and sea.

Opportunities, support and resources available

Past projects, outcomes and impact

What we’ve funded

You can find details of all our funded projects, across all our transport programmes, in the Innovate UK transparency data.

Further specific information about each programme is available for:

Our work also features as part of our wider net zero work. Read the Innovate UK net zero review 2022: our clean future economy.

We have also published a number of case studies, focused on some of our exciting projects, see our Developing new behaviours and solutions section.

Who to contact

Ask a question about this area of investment

Neale Ryan, Head of Land and Maritime Transport (Interim)

Email: neale.ryan@iuk.ukri.org

We aim to respond within three working days.

Last updated: 2 February 2024

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