First of a Kind is a yearly competition, funded by Department for Transport and delivered by Innovate UK in partnership with Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network. The competition focuses on, as the name suggests, funding unique innovations within rail.
There is a growing acknowledgement that many of these innovative ideas could be enhanced through links to community rail groups; providing opportunities for the groups, local rail passengers and the project leads themselves.
Previously supported themes include passenger experience, inclusion, sustainability, digital innovations and physical work at stations. Successful community rail-linked bids in 2021 included Community Rail Lancashire working with Chrome Angel and Community Rail Network partnering with Window Seater.
- Chrome Angel create games – with Community Rail Lancashire, they will create a game that aims to encourage passengers back onto trains, more info here;
- Window Seater links passengers to the communities and views outside their train windows through local voices and stories, more info here
Full details of last year’s winners can be viewed here.
There is opportunity for community rail partnerships and groups to be involved in the bidding and delivery process of the 2022 competitions programme; both by joining projects led by innovators to add social value, or by sourcing their own innovative companies to develop work more directly identified by the community rail group.
A yearly innovation exhibition hosted by Innovate UK KTN is also a good opportunity to link into projects and innovators working in the space, which is expected to take place in March 2022.
Last year’s competition can be viewed here – with the competition for 2022 expected to open this Spring.
For more details about First of a Kind or to find out more about the projects contact email@example.com.