Funding Opportunity: Data Sandbox+ collaborative R&D competition


There is still time to apply for funding from the Data Sandbox + collaborative R&D competition, which is making £650,000 available for data-driven solutions to the railway’s operational performance challenges.  Additional/match funding could be made available, through this initiative, from Network Rail’s CP6 R&D to support suitable projects.

The Data Sandbox+ competition sits within the RSSB’s cross-industry PERFORM research programme and is aimed at supporting research into novel use of data to improve service reliability and punctuality.

DEADLINES: The first round of the competition closes at 17:00 on Friday, 5 July 2019.  There will be another opportunity to submit proposals in a second round that closes in December 2019.

Open date

Closing date

Successful bids announced

Projects expected to start

4 April 2019

17:00 on 5 July 2019

August 2019

1 October 2019

2 September 2019

17:00 on 6 December 2019

January 2020

1 March 2020

Through this competition, we intend to fund proposals for either:

  • Demonstrator projects that build on existing feasibility studies  - i.e. current ‘Data Sandbox’ projects – or other initiatives. These are expected to fall within RIRL (Rail Impact Readiness Level) 5 - 7
  • Feasibility studies that propose new approaches and ideas. These are expected to fall within RIRL 3 – 5 

We are interested in innovative data-driven solutions to the following key operational performance challenges:

  • Predicting and minimising reactionary delays
  • Understanding train movements
  • Reducing dwell time variations
  • Management of disruptions
  • Better measuring and understanding performance and delays
  • Other challenges, as identified by relevant owners (such as Network Rail or passenger and freight operators)

Further information about the competition, including the briefing document and sample datasets, is available on the Data Sandbox+ competition hub.  To understand / learn more about the performance challenges that GB rail is facing, visit the ‘Performance’ section on the RSSB website.

If you require help finding partners, would like to discuss a research idea, or have any questions, contact