Backing British ingenuity into a 10th year of TRIG success

The UK Minister for Aviation, Decarbonisation and the Future of Transport, Anthony Browne, discusses the pivotal role of collaborative innovation in advancing a cleaner, more efficient transport network that meets evolving public needs, emphasising the importance of initiatives like TRIG to drive connectivity, sustainability and job creation across the UK.

UK government backs British ingenuity into a 10th year of TRIG success

All innovations that transform the way that we live, work and travel begin as an idea – a flourish of creativity, energy and collaboration prompted by a problem-facing society. But even the brightest sparks need the right backing.

Across the country, teams and individuals in academia and business are leading the charge to change Britain’s transport for the better. They are meeting the challenges. They are seizing the opportunities. And, through the latest round of Transport Innovation and Research Grants (TRIG), the UK government is putting up a share of £1.3 million to get these ideas off the ground.

The TRIG scheme supports businesses and academics that are working on innovative ideas in the early stages of their research. It aims to improve transport across the country and support skilled UK jobs as part of the government’s plan to help grow the economy.

Since 2014, more than £14 million of UK Government investment has backed over 400 TRIG proposals. With over 80% of 2023 winners located outside London, TRIG is not only improving our transport offering, but also supporting jobs and opportunities far and wide.

Previous TRIG winners have gone on to improve passenger experience across the country. We’ve seen 5G coverage expanded to keep people connected at sea, an app to improve electric vehicle (EV) charging experience and the world’s first liquid hydrogen fuelling station for aircrafts and drones. 

In 2024, we’re re-doubling our efforts to level up the entire UK with a new category to address transport issues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This investment will help to unlock bespoke interventions in all four corners of the UK.

transport innovation

Decarbonising local transport

We’re also looking for community-centred projects which aim to decarbonise local transport, with concepts that could one day become reality. We saw huge success in this category in 2023, with everything from electric heavy goods vehicle (eHGV) charging sites to a smart shuttle service aiming to better connect rural communities. This kind of innovative thinking will be instrumental in helping the UK to deliver on its bold climate commitments, without compromising on quality.

Furthermore, in the emerging and critical technologies category, we’ll be welcoming ideas that could only have been dreamed of by the pioneers of the past. Ideas that recognise artificial intelligence (AI) as a force for good, that will deliver cheaper, quicker and cleaner journeys for all. Previous winners in this category have set the direction of travel – among them projects that used AI to run traffic light priority systems and manage railway disruption. Now, we’re offering the next set of innovators the chance to make a difference.

I look forward to seeing 2024’s entries, which I’m sure will be filled with more transformative ideas ready to be matched with investment. Both government and industry share the same ambitions to shape a transport network that’s fit for the future. A network that is cleaner and greener, that serves more people in more places and that meets the standards which today’s travelling public expects. It is only by working together, trading skills and expertise for resource and capital, that we can bring this vision to life.

Minister BrowneAnthony Browne is the Minister for Aviation, Decarbonisation and the Future of Transport. Prior to this position, he was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport on 13 November 2023. Following the publication of the UK Government’s Fraud Strategy, he was previously appointed as the first Prime Minister’s Anti-Fraud Champion.