There are a huge range of R&D tax incentives, grants and subsidies available to UK businesses, to help you accelerate innovation and business expansion. As a result, it can be tricky selecting the best option for your business.

Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) has partnered with RFM member ABGI UK, a leading international tax incentive and innovation management advisor. They help companies accelerate their innovation activity by identifying and securing appropriate funding.

They have provided us with a summary of available tax incentives, grants and subsidies, to help you find the right solution for your company and ensure you maximise your innovation funding. This page will be updated regularly as new opportunities emerge.

ANTONY BEAK is ABGI’s key contact for the rail sector in the UK working with the key industry bodies. He has 20 year’s experience supporting innovation in UK companies and has been an innovation funding specialist with ABGI for 4 years. If you have any questions regarding any of the funding sources mentioned on this page, or require any further information, please email or call him on 07399 096180.


If your company carries out R&D on its products, processes or services, you may be able to take advantage of the UK Government’s R&D tax credit scheme. The scheme allows companies to claim tax relief on the money invested in qualifying R&D.

For profitable companies claiming under the SME scheme this could be up to 24.7% additional tax relief on qualifying expenditure. While loss making SMEs can surrender their losses and receive up to 33% cash payment.

Companies claiming under the RDEC scheme can receive up to 9.7% net benefit.


The Patent Box scheme allows your company to benefit from a corporation tax rate of 10% on all profits associated with the commercialisation of a patent granted by the intellectual property office in the UK or the European patent office.

If your company has exclusive licences to third party patents, and has undertaken qualifying development, you can also benefit from the reduced corporation tax rate.


Capital Allowances provides generous tax relief against investment in assets, such as equipment, fixtures, plant and equipment, business vehicles and property. While the benefits are very generous, capital allowances are one of the most complex areas of tax legislation in the UK and it is believed more than 50% of UK businesses are not taking advantage of the tax relief available to them.

Claiming allowances is also a way of reducing tax bills, helping you to retain cash in your business during difficult times. Furthermore if the assets are still owned by the company, it is worth reviewing all expenditure incurred to see if additional allowances can be claimed or even if the company may qualify for a tax refund.

An engineering company spending £1m on a combination of fixtures and fittings, which has never claimed capital allowance relief, could be missing out on a total tax saving of £190k over time (corporation tax relief on £1m at 19%). By amending a prior year’s tax return the company could obtain a rebate from HMRC equal to the allowances claimed in that period and going forward will be able to reduce future tax paid to HMRC.

Sole traders can also benefit from capital allowances relief, either in the form of relief against current and future tax liabilities or as a refund on overpaid tax through an amended tax return.

GRANT FUNDING – 5G Enabled Road and Rail Transport Trials

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5m to support development of 5G enabled transport innovations.


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To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with others, including a communications network provider (public or private) or communications integrator

Applications close 15th May 2020

For support and more information please email or call him on 07399 096180.

Background information on the fund is here

GRANT FUNDING – SBRI Rail Demonstrators : First of a Kind (FOAK) Funding

UK companies can share in a £9.4 million fund to demonstrate how proven technologies can be integrated into a railway environment for the first time (‘first of a kind’ demonstrations). It aims to encourage innovation in the rail industry through the use of novel technologies (for example automation) and innovative uses of data.

Applications for the current round of funding closes 4th March 2020 12.00pm


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Funding for projects between £100,000 and £400,000, including VAT, are being considered and the fund is open to all sizes of company.

The competition has 4 themes

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Customer experience
  • Optimised railway operations
  • Optimised and cost-effective maintenance

For support and more information please email or call him on 07399 096180.

Background information on the fund is here

GRANT FUNDING – Innovate UK Smart Grant

Innovate UK’s open grant programme is designed to fund ambitious, disruptive R&D projects with strong commercialisation potential in the UK and overseas.   Smart grants can support: Early stage feasibility studies. | Industrial research | Experimental development.


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The amount of funding available will depend upon the size of the company applying and the stage of the project. Applications are received as part of regular competitive rounds, the current round closes to applications on 22 April 2020.

For support and more information please email or call him on 07399 096180.

Background information on the fund is here

GRANT FUNDING – EUREKA Collaborative R&D:Advance Materials

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1m for advanced materials R&D projects partnering with EUREKA country organisations, including South Korea.

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To be eligible for funding from Innovate UK your collaboration

  • must include at least one UK registered business of any size
  • must include at least one eligible partner from one of the participating regions of the EUREKA call for proposals for joint R&D projects on advanced materials
  • can include UK registered research organisations.

Applications close 30th June 2020

For support and more information please email or call him on 07399 096180.

Background information can be found here

GRANT FUNDING – InnovateUK innovation loans

A competition based scheme giving UK based SMEs access to loan funds between £100,000 and £1.0million for up to 10 years.

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Funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including but not exclusively:

  • Producing plans, arrangements and designs for your products, processes or services
  • Developing commercially-usable prototypes and pilots
  • Experimental production and testing of products, processes and services

For support and more information please email or call him on 07399 096180.

Background information on the fund is here


Innovate UK runs funding competitions that can help you develop your idea and make it successful. They are open to innovation projects led by a UK-based business or research and technology organisation, with funding awarded to the winner.

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These competitions help to commercialise UK innovation and bridge the gap between the research lab and the marketplace.

For a full list of all InnovateUK competitions currently open, and to find out how to apply click here