More about DIGI-RAIL

The DIGI-RAIL team offer eligible SMEs technical and non-technical support in a variety of areas of expertise.

What do we offer?

Your DIGI-RAIL journey starts with one of our Business Engagement Managers (BEMs) who will discuss with you, your business goals and ambitions and how we can help you to enter or grow your business in the digital rail sector. The BEM will then refer you to the relevant content and workshops, which will give you a clear understanding of where your business can fit into the future digital railway. One of our Technical Officers will then discuss options with you for product/service development and, if you wish, continue into a collaborative development project.

All DIGI-RAIL clients will receive a minimum of 12 hours of free technical and non-technical support. Should you wish to continue into a product/service development project, we will agree this together and work towards an agreed project outcome. This could be development of a prototype, testing an idea with rail users, or carrying out some desk-based research for you to make better-informed decisions, to name but a few opportunities. Contact us at digi-rail@contacts.bham.ac.uk to find out how your Digi-Rail journey can get started.

Specialist technical support

Technical Officers: each of the Technical Officers is a specialist in one or more of the key digital technologies and innovation covered by this project. The DIGI-RAIL project offers you the chance to engage with one or more of the team to discuss your idea, work together on a solution and, where relevant, create a prototype product.

Senior Technical Officers: the Senior Technical Officers bring their expertise in railway systems, the rail supply chain and the specific needs of the SME community to offer clients expert business and technical advice and support. A Senior Technical Officer will discuss your business objectives and ambitions and will be the liaison between you and the Technical Officer for specifying and delivering your product/service development project.

Academics: BCRRE is one of the world’s largest academic centres of its kind, with over 100 academic staff and researchers, all of whom have expertise in one or more aspects of railway systems and technology. This means we can draw on their knowledge and innovative ideas to help you develop a unique solution.

Facilities: BCRRE is home to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, from electronic fabrication laboratories, railway simulators and supercomputing resources, to highly specialist equipment, testing rigs and data analysis tools.

Advisory non-technical support

What non-technical support do we offer? Non-technical support includes business analysis and advice; our highly-effective Get into Rail seminar series; signposting towards innovation funding; and guiding you into a wider network of the rail supply chain to benefit your organisation.

Who offers it? This is where our Senior Technical Officers and some of our non-academic BCRRE team are supporting the project. You will be able to discuss your business aims and ambitions, and we will point you in the right direction to help you along.

Areas of expertise

DIGI-RAIL supports a broad range of Digital Systems areas including:

  • Future Railway Operations and Control
  • Traffic Management
  • Rolling Stock Design
  • Energy Optimisation
  • Railway Traction
  • BIM and Industry 4.0
  • Smart Ticketing
  • Future Wireless Networks
  • Station Information Systems
  • Smart Stations
  • IoT and Cyber Security.

Who is eligible?

SMEs in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull (GBS), Coventry and Warwickshire (CW) and Black Country (BC) Local Enterprise Partnership areas (LEPs) are eligible for support from our DIGI-RAIL West Midlands team.

SMEs in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) LEP, are eligible for support from our DIGI-RAIL Sheffield City Region team.

Please visit the online postcode checker to find out which LEP your company is in.

An SME is defined as an independent company with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than 50 million euros. There are also limitations around how much State Aid your company has received (if any) under either the GBER or De Minimus schemes, which are both capped at €200,000.

Alternatively, simply contact us at digi-rail@contacts.bham.ac.uk; our team would be happy to talk through the eligibility criteria so you have a clear understanding of what support is available for your business.

Our Partners and Affiliates

We have relationships with local and national Councils, Growth Hubs, Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships, with the primary goal of helping and supporting local SMEs.

At DIGI-RAIL, we not only offer a hands-on, practical approach to our services, we also sign-post and bring you into our wider networks that we know will be able to provide you with what you need. These include:

Find out more

If you would like to arrange a meeting or get in touch for a quick chat, please email digi-rail@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Digi Rail Logo with University of Birmingham, ERDF and Northern Powerhouse logos