Department for Transport launches air quality innovation grants

First of two schemes has a total fund of £250,000 to support work or interventions ‘to tackle this big challenge’

The UK Department for Transport is calling for proposals on “novel ideas for dealing with air quality challenges resulting from transport”, having launched the first of two funding schemes this week (October 12).

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, speaking during a select committee hearing earlier this week

Under the first scheme launched on Monday — the ‘Local Transport Air Quality Challenge Innovation Grant’ — which is open to applications until November 2 2015, a total fund of £250,000 will be used to 100% grant fund around three to six “small interventions or pieces of work to tackle this big challenge”.

As an extra incentive for smaller organisations where cash flow may be an issue, there is also an option for 30% of funding granted to be provided up front.

Proposals are being sought from consortia of academic or private researchers and local authorities, with a deadline for all work to be completed and written up under the scheme by March 21 2016.

Meanwhile, DfT will also open second grant scheme on Monday next week (October 19) — the ‘Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant’. Both grant schemes are being run by DfT in partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Network.

According to DfT, grants will be offered to “the best applicants proposing to conduct a well-specified piece of research that advances a credible, novel solution to a local transport air quality challenge, using on-vehicle or off-vehicle methods”.

Projects should involve some type of technological or process innovation and are expected to demonstrate that the approach is novel or innovative, either through a new approach not currently in widespread use or by “applying a demonstrated approach from another field to a local transport air quality challenge”.

In addition, according to DfT, proposals should support local decision making and action “advancing credible, deployable methods of understanding and modifying what is happening in real roads and streets”.

Methods of doing so could include: ways of characterising pollutant emissions from transport fleets or assessing mitigation measures; NO2 exhaust measurements systems; traffic management systems; other ways of modifying journey route choices, driving style or engine management; retrofit systems to reduce energy use and emissions; or novel approaches to improving use and uptake of electric vehicles.

Collaboration with local authorities are being encouraged where possible, and all proposals will be ranked on their demonstrable impact.


A webinar is set to take place tomorrow (October 16) from 2-3pm should any potential applicants wish to ask further questions about the grant scheme and the type of research DfT is looking for.

During a previous webinar hosted by DfT earlier this week (October 12), the Department’s head of air quality David Pyke noted the “incredibly” high profile of air quality at the current time, given the continuing government consultation over its draft UK air quality plan as well as the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal.

He said: “There’s lots of pressure to solve the issue. However solutions should not be ‘draconian’; they need to be proportionate.

“I’m sure there’s plenty of new ideas out there worthy of support, and I look forward to further conversations.”

Two more information webinars regarding the second scheme, which is set to launch on Monday (October 19), will take place on October 21 from 3.30-4.30pm and also on October 23 from 9.30-10.30pm.

The grant schemes follows DfT’s funding of four projects earlier this year after its call for applications focuses on short term NOx mitigation measures post tail pipe.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Roland Gilmore
Roland Gilmore
8 years ago

£100K? The DoT are p*****g in the wind. ““There’s lots of pressure to solve the issue. However solutions should not be ‘draconian’; they need to be proportionate.” No they don’t! They need to be radical.

Transport community
Transport community
8 years ago

For clarity regarding links to find out more about these two competitions;

For DfT’s Local Transport Air Quality Challenge Innovation Grant – see:

For DfT’s Transport Technologies Research Innovation Grant – see:


Tim Watt, Knowledge Transfer Network

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top