Funding and Grant Scheme FAQs
1. What is the RSSB Research and Development Grant Scheme?Launched in 2009, the scheme provides a mechanism for funding railway research and development. The scheme contributes to the funding of research and development where this will bring a demonstrable benefit to the rail industry and its stakeholders.
2. What does the Grant Scheme offer applicants?
- Rapid decision making – Typically, the decision to award a grant is made within four weeks of receiving the application. However, this can vary depending on the nature of the project, the size of the economic support requested, and on the application providing sufficient details.
- Retention of the project management by the leading organisation – By directly managing it, the consortium, and in particular the organisation leading it, can better control and steer the specification and delivery, making sure that the project meets the consortium needs.
- A bespoke approach to sharing intellectual property rights – Intellectual property rights can rest with the consortium or individual organisations. The findings of the project are expected to be published and shared with the rest of the industry, with flexibility on the timing and extent of findings being shared.
3. How does the Grant Scheme benefit the rail industry?
- Facilitates the development of products and solutions by enabling sharing of the costs and risks associated.
- Encourages stakeholder 'buy-in' to the delivery and implementation of the research outputs as they commit their own resources.
- Ensures that the work and key findings are captured and shared across industry to avoid duplication and allow cross-fertilisation.
4. Who can apply?Applications for the grant are open to a consortium of one or more users of the research outputs, one of which must be an RSSB member. While the RSSB member does not have to be the lead organisation, it is expected to play a key role in the consortium, including providing a financial and/or in-kind contribution.
5. How much of the project costs can be covered?The value of the grant will be up to a maximum of 50% of the total project cost. The contribution from the consortium must be made up of at least 20% cash (i.e., incremental costs), the remainder being in-kind contributions (e.g., use of existing equipment and resources). Contribution from grants received from other sources cannot be counted toward the consortium contribution.
6. Which projects are eligible?
For a project to be eligible for the Scheme the following criteria must be met:
- The application must be made by a consortium of at least two potential users of the research outputs, one of which must be an RSSB member. A list of RSSB members can be found on RSSB’s website.
- The RSSB member is expected to play a key role in the consortium, including providing a financial and/or in-kind contribution.
- The proposal must be for a research or development project. Commercial product development is not supported, though work to produce early prototypes or carry out trials could be considered if a generic benefit can be shown.
- The work must provide wider benefit to the rail industry.
- Intellectual property rights arrangements must be agreed in advance and the research findings are expected to be published after an agreed period.
- The consortium should have an agreement in place with an identified Lead Organisation for contractual purposes. RSSB will provide a Grant Agreement to the Lead Organisation.
7. How do I apply?
A copy of the application pack is available on RSSB’s website.
If you would like further information, please contact us through our Customer Self-Service Portal at https://customer-portal.rssb.co.uk/. To do so, please click on Create Case, write “R&D Grant scheme” in the Subject field, and select “Research and Development” as the Case Category.
8. Can I apply if the research has already started?Applications cannot be made for projects that have already started or have been financially committed to.
9. How are applications assessed?
Applications are assessed using a standard set of criteria by an RSSB panel of subject matter experts, analysts and senior R&D management.
The high-level criteria considered are:
- Planning and commitment demonstrated by the consortium
- Likelihood of success
- Rewards including wider industry benefits
10. Once a Grant has been awarded, what role does RSSB play?
In some cases, RSSB may accept involvement as an active member or advisor to the consortium (e.g., providing specialist technical input).
Where RSSB is not a member of the consortium, it will adopt a 'light touch' project monitoring approach, as the consortium will be responsible for managing the project. In such cases RSSB’s role would be:
- Assessing and selecting appropriate proposals.
- Awarding a grant to successful proposals.
- Making payments at stages specified in the Grant Agreement, by ensuring that the consortium contributions have been delivered.
- Monitoring the success of individual projects and the overall benefits delivered.
- Ensuring that the benefits of the research reach the industry and that an implementation plan is in place.
- Publication of the findings and sharing with RSSB members.
11. When should proposals be submitted?The Grant Scheme application process is open throughout the year. Proposals can be received at any time and will be assessed within four weeks after they are received.
12. What type of costs can the Grant cover?
The Grant contribution can be used to cover the following types of costs:
- Labour – Costs of personnel from the consortium organisations working on the project, the costs of project management as well as report writing.
- Travel and subsistence – Costs incurred exclusively for progressing the project.
- Subcontractor – This includes any work that is essential to the success of the project and that is outsourced because of lack of time or expertise within the consortium.
- Capital equipment – Cost of equipment and tools bought or consumed.
- Materials – Cost of materials consumed and purchased from third parties.
- Overhead costs – Any directly relevant expenses beyond direct labour and materials.
The following are ineligible costs:
- Interest e.g., hire-purchase interest
- Patent costs • Advertising
- Certification • Entertainment
13. What type of reporting is required?The Lead Organisation is required to provide RSSB with an update on the cost of work done and project progress each month.
14. How is the Scheme different from research funded and managed by RSSB?
Research managed by RSSB is usually in response to issues raised by cross-industry groups. Wherever an idea originates, a cross-industry group will be involved in building the ‘case for research’ and endorsing the business case, as well as steering the specification, procurement, delivery and publishing stages of research. Also, intellectual property generated by these research projects is generally owned by RSSB on the behalf of the rail industry.
Research funded by the Grant Scheme does not require a cross-industry group, as industry buy-in is demonstrated by the consortium members and their willingness to invest money in the project. However, cross-industry group involvement can be beneficial. Intellectual property arrangements are also more flexible in recognition of the financial contribution made by the consortium.