UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has announced that it will support 11 projects out of the 25 winners of the First of a Kind (FOAK) Programme.

Last month, UK Department for Transport partnered with Innovate UK and awarded grants worth £9.4m to 25 projects in the 2020 FOAK competition.

The projects selected aim to offer an efficient railway transport for commuters and freight users.

The projects that aid the Research and Development (R&D) Portfolio of Network Rail include; ‘Demonstrating low-cost 10Gb+ connectivity for the railway’, ‘Creating a novel and cost-effective composite footbridge for use on the railway’ and ‘Improving resilience through a surface water flooding decision support system’.

The projects ‘Tunnel and station monitoring using railway optical detection to identify obstructions’ and ‘Integrated optical fibre sensing to optimise rail switches & crossings maintenance’ are also part of the R&D portfolio.

Network Rail is also partnering with Innovate UK to run competitions that use the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) approach.

In this approach, innovators can participate to receive a funding share to solve a challenge.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The winners of this year’s FOAK competition will support better, more environmentally friendly journeys.

“Crucially, these pioneering projects will also ensure that passengers have a more efficient, reliable and responsive railway, making journeys simpler and easier.”

Network Rail safety, security and analytics project manager Danielle Stephenson said: “As a new member of the R&D team, I have been blown away with the excellent ideas and solutions that the companies have come up with so far.

“I am looking forward to seeing them implemented in a live station environment in September.”

The UK’s first hydrogen train, HydroFLEX, received a £400,000 grant from the FOAK Programme.