DfT re-signs collaboration agreement with Connected Places Catapult to support transport innovation

With over 100 joint projects under their belt, the signing of a new grant funding agreement paves the way for the two partners to build on existing collaborations to support innovation across the transport sector.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and Connected Places Catapult maintain a partnership that sees the Catapult regularly support the Department by leading programmes designed to address key Government priorities. The signing of a new grant funding agreement means Connected Places Catapult will continue to run programmes and administer grants on behalf of the DfT.

Over the last six years, Connected Places Catapult has delivered the flagship Transport Research and Innovation Grants (TRIG) programme for the DfT. So far, the programme has assisted over 350 innovators, with tailored support and over £12m in funding, to progress their innovations. Previous grant recipients have developed a range of pioneering initiatives including: an app that uses augmented reality to help visually impaired passengers navigate rail stations; kite-powered tugboats to reduce emissions; and drones to deliver packages in hard-to-reach areas.

At the start of last year, the DfT launched the £7m Freight Innovation Fund programme, delivered by the Catapult, which focuses on accelerating the adoption of commercially ready solutions to address challenges in the UK’s freight sector. The programme includes the establishment of the Freight Innovation Cluster, which has already grown to a network of over 320 businesses looking to explore joint opportunities and progress disruptive technologies in freight.

Over the years, experts from the Catapult have also supported the DfT on over 100 other projects. These include Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure, showing how airports can gear up to support more sustainable aviation; Zero Emission Road Freight, investigating ways of decarbonising heavy goods vehicles; and The Transport Digital Twin Vision and Roadmap to 2035, mapping the steps required to implement and benefit from connected digital twins across the transport sector.

Further explore the Catapult’s collaboration with DfT.


This week, the DfT is hosting a dedicated decarbonisation of transport agenda track at the Connected Places Summit, for which they are a strategic partner. Attendees at the Summit will hear from speakers from across the Department, including Alexandra Beaumont, Head of UK Shore; Alex Mindell, Head of AI and autonomy, science, innovation and technology; Anntte Pass, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser; David Elvy, Head of Future Freight Strategy; Eamonn Beirne, Deputy Director UK Shore; Dr George Economides, Head of Digital Twins, Advanced Analytics Division, Analysis Directorate; James Tichler, Head of Emerging Technologies, Science, Innovation and Technology Division; Margarita Vigrande-Ashe, Deputy Head of Zero Emission HGVs Strategy and Implementation; Robert Singleton, Head of Planning, Planning Policy, Housing and Transport; Professor Sarah Sharples, Chief Scientific Adviser; and Sophia Berry, Head of Net Zero Policy.

“The longstanding collaboration between the Department for Transport and Connected Places Catapult has already delivered a wide range of technology, innovation and R&D projects that have achieved real world impacts for people and places. I look forward to building on our work together – particularly in the areas of digital twins, AI, climate resilience and adaptation, and accessibility – to further progress the sector in the years to come.”

Erika Lewis, CEO at Connected Places Catapult