July 2021 – A major new initiative to accelerate the development of new technologies for the rail industry Digi-Rail was officially launched in a virtual event.
Focussed on the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the DIGI-RAIL SCR initiative will seek out and fast-track innovations that are either being developed by SMEs in the SCR, or already exist in other sectors and would deliver major benefit for the rail sector, with a focus on digital technology.
The DIGI-RAIL programme has been operating in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire since 2018, and is now expanding into the Sheffield City Region. The programme offers support to help SMEs enter or grow their offering in the digital rail sector. Housed at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at University of Birmingham, the programme also provides broader access to railway specialists and leading equipment and facilities to exceed the business goal. The SCR programme is delivered in collaboration with Unipart Rail, which brings further expertise in product application and in guiding SMEs through the process of launching new products into the rail sector.
Professor Clive Roberts, Director at BCRRE said: “The Digi-Rail programme has grown from strength to strength and the expansion into Sheffield City Region is a very exciting move. We have delivered a number of successful projects across the West Midlands and teaming up with Unipart Rail not only brings opportunities to SMEs in the SCR area, but with our combined expertise we can help accelerate innovation and expansion into the railway sector – helping businesses navigate the route to market”.
Unipart Rail are providing ERDF funded 12 hours of free business or product support to SMEs in the region, aimed at guiding them through the process of launching new products in the sector.
Jake Rudham, Unipart Rail Marketing Director, said: “The rail industry can be incredibly difficult to access due to its complexity and relatively high barriers to entry. This can result in potentially transformative technologies failing to reach their maturity and become commercially viable. By providing the innovating companies with help and guidance, the route to launching new products can be both smoothed and accelerated.”
To watch the launch event, click here