We welcome industry requests for new research, and we work with relevant stakeholders to shape and define research questions. In some cases, we start with a knowledge search or a technology review. These can help industry make use of information that is already out there and avoid duplication.

New research projects need endorsement from a cross-industry group, an industry sponsor, and support from at least one other suitable organisation.

Cross-industry project steering groups are formed to support definition and delivery. Group members often provide access to people, facilities and data. Industry support varies, depending on the size and nature of the project, but is essential for ensuring our research is successful.

When a project is completed, the industry sponsor helps RSSB to disseminate the research findings and supports uptake.

Initiating cross-industry research

Tell us what research needs and ideas that you have, that your organisation cannot pursue in isolation. We review hundreds of research suggestions each year to determine their merits and channel them to appropriate funding and delivery mechanisms.

At the bottom of this page, you can:

  • submit an idea for new research to address gaps in existing knowledge and available solutions, or to explore blue sky ideas
  • ask for a knowledge search to gather existing knowledge on any topic and review its how easily it might transfer to GB rail.

Look for funding opportunities

We use different mechanisms to deliver research and offer a range of funding mechanisms – including competitions, grants and tendered research – to address research needs and support innovation.

When the research question is clearly defined, we either use expertise within RSSB or run an open procurement. You can use Contracts Finder to find out about research activities tendered by RSSB.

When the research question is open-ended and the need is to explore and develop new solutions or approaches to cross-industry challenges, we run research competitions. They are open to a broad range of innovators, academics and members of the supply chain community. Find out more about our Research & Innovation competitions.

Grants are available to help industry-led consortia overcome obstacles to conducting and implementing R&D, in exchange for the full or partial sharing of findings. For projects that have a direct industry application, members can apply for up to half of the total cost of a project, where a consortium contributes at least 20% in cash and the remainder in-kind. Read the FAQs and download the application form below.

Strategic partnerships with academia are established to co-fund specialised research. Examples include our work on engineering and safety risk modelling with the University of Huddersfield, and economic modelling with the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds.