Infrastructure Systems Round 3


Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in projects in this competition. This is to stimulate innovation that creates UK business growth in infrastructure systems. We want businesses to collaborate to develop new integrated solutions and business models.

Projects will range in size from total project costs of £25,000 to £5 million and must last between 3 months and 3 years.

Projects must show significant innovation in one of our priority areas:

  • smart infrastructure
  • energy
  • connected transport
  • urban living

Proposals must improve business growth, productivity and/or create export opportunities for at least one UK small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) involved in the project.

There is up to £5 million for projects that last from 3 months to 1 year.

There is up to £10 million for projects lasting from 1 year to 3 years, with costs between £100,000 and £5 million inclusive.


You must decide on the priority area for your innovation. Where proposals are judged out of scope for the chosen area but in scope for another, you will be contacted to agree to assessment in the alternative area.

There are 4 specific themes for this competition:

1. Smart infrastructure

Smart infrastructure solutions that bring the digital and physical worlds together. Solutions must add intelligence to physical infrastructure, or the design process, to improve:

  • whole-life cost and/or performance
  • resilience, security and/or sustainability

2. Urban living

An urban living solution must address the challenges citizens face in cities and urban areas. Solutions must solve problems that span more than one of the following urban system types:

  • ‘hard’ systems, such as energy, transport, waste, water and communication
  • ‘soft’ systems, such as security, law and justice (for example, public order and safety). health, wellbeing, social care and education
  • infrastructure delivering environmental systems, such as parks and green spaces, rivers and canals

You must demonstrate that your solution is:

  • citizen-centered: systems need to solve problems that are important to cities and which deliver benefits to citizens
  • resilient and sustainable: systems need to be designed and integrated in a way that allows adaptation in the face of change

We encourage the inclusion of end-users and problem-owners in the consortia. Where appropriate, we would also like to see those responsible for delivering citizen services (such as local authorities, community groups, infrastructure providers) involved.

3. Energy

Energy systems:

We are looking for innovations with the ability to flexibly match changing energy supply and demand profiles of the future. These must create or demonstrate smart system solutions that integrate energy generation and demand at local, regional or national scale.

They might include methods to shift peak energy use. This can include storage or advanced management and optimisation of multiple energy supply and/or demand sources to encourage flexible energy use and efficiency.

Solutions that optimise across energy vectors (such as electricity and heat) are encouraged. The outcome must be significant improvements in all of the following:

  • value proposition
  • energy affordability
  • security
  • reduced emissions

Nuclear fission:

Innovations that lead to major cost reductions, improved asset integrity and supply chain development. This will be for the current and future UK and global civil nuclear markets, including decommissioning.

Offshore wind:

Innovations that, when in use, will result in substantial reductions in the cost of energy from offshore wind.

4. Connected transport

We are looking for solutions that encourage more efficient transport of people and goods. Although the initial activity may focus on a single mode of transport, there must be potential within the life of the project to connect infrastructure, people and goods with additional transport modes. We encourage projects that work with local authorities and national bodies to make transport more secure, user-centric and accessible.

Applications must address one of the following strategic areas:

  • innovations related to capacity and congestion across transport modes. This includes freight/logistics (including ports), aviation (with regards to customer experience and connection services) and multi-modal passenger transport. We encourage solutions relating to smart asset management, mobility as a service, and innovations relating to the end-to-end journey (such as parking solutions and increased connectivity between transport modes)
  • delivering accessible and safe transport for all sectors of society. We welcome projects that encourage greater levels of innovation in accessible transport and which will consider behavioural change to influence social transformation in connected transport
  • sustainability including improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions and future-proofing connected transport

Key Dates:

4 July 2017 –Briefing event in Glasgow
6 July 2017 – Briefing event in Portstewart
10 July 2017Competition opens
11 July 2017 – Briefing event in London
11 July 2017 – Briefing event (by webcast)
13 July 2017 – Briefing event in Leeds
18 July 2017 – Briefing event in Cardiff
20 July 2017 – Briefing event in Exeter
13 September 2017 12:00pm Competition closes
15 December 2017 Applicants notified

How to Apply:

You can email the Innovation SuperNetwork team at or complete the form below so we can help you and guide you through the application process.  We have a copy of the briefing if interested as the KTN presented at the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival.  Or link directly to Innovate UK (please cut & paste into server-

Interested in this Challenge?
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Our work is only possible with the support of our local and national partners, including Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, the North East LEP, Northumbrian WaterNorth East BIC, and Reece Innovation with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Huge thanks go to all our partners.