The core funding for the programme, is provided by a grant from the DfT who oversee how the grant is spent and its impact. RSSB manage and deliver the research, based on a pipeline set and prioritised with industry. In addition, industry provides cash co-funding, significant in-kind support, lead on using the outputs so that they deliver benefits.

The programme conducts research related to improving interfaces between both technical and operational system, especially where whole-system risk expertise is required or where implementation can be realised via standardisation. The research undertaken mostly focuses on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 3 to 6.

Summary of roles and responsibilities in the three-way partnership:

  • RSSB Shape, steer and deliver outputs
  • DfT Core funding and governance
  • Industry Define requirements, support delivery, co-fund and lead take-up


The rail research and innovation landscape in which we work

There are a range of other programmes and funding mechanisms with touchpoints to RSSB Research. These include:

Network Rail

Research across the range of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) primarily focussed on assets they own and maintain, with the aim of improving their affordability and reliability.

First Of A Kind

Rail First of a Kind (FOAK) competitions are funded jointly by Innovate UK and DfT to deliver demonstrators at high TRLs.

UKRI Research Councils

Research councils fund lower TRL research that crosses industry and sector boundaries.


The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) has brought academia and supply chain closer to accelerate product development.

UKRRIN Centres of Excellence are used by both publica and private organisations, and in particular the UKRRIN Industrual partners, to pursue their respective research pipelines.