THE Council of the European Union has given the green light for Europe’s Rail, the successor to the Shift2Rail (S2R) joint undertaking, with the approval of the Single Basic Act on November 19.

Europe’s Rail has been approved alongside nine other joint undertakings through which the EU will partner with member states and industries to deliver innovative solutions in Europe for global health, technology and climate challenges. The EU will provide nearly €10bn of funding from Horizon Europe that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment.

“These partnerships are all about pooling research and innovation resources and ensuring that research results are turned into useful innovations for the citizens,” says commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Ms Mariya Gabriel. “With Horizon Europe we are committed to emerge from the climate crisis, provide sustainable solutions to major environmental challenges, improve citizens’ health and accelerate a sustainable recovery. This will benefit all Europeans.”

Following on from the work undertaken by S2R, which was established in 2014, Europe’s Rail will “speed up the development and deployment of innovative technologies, especially digital and automation, to achieve the radical transformation of the rail system and deliver on the European Green Deal objectives. By improving competitiveness, it will support European technological leadership in rail.”

The other partnerships approved by the council include:

  • Global Health EDCTP3
  • Innovative Health Initiative
  • Key Digital Technologies
  • Circular Bio-based Europe
  • Clean Hydrogen
  • Clean Aviation
  • Single European Sky ATM Research 3
  • Smart Networks and Services, and
  • Metrology.

The Single Basic Act is due to be published in the Regulations on the Official Journal in late November 2021, allowing the partnerships to enter their set-up and implementation phase, which will include the recruitment of staff, appointment of advisory bodies and the preparation of work programmes. Once set up, new calls for proposals will be launched to select and finance research and innovation projects according to their respective objectives.

An interview with Shift2Rail executive director, Carlo Borghini, who will lead Europe’s Rail until at least 2026, was published in the February issue of IRJ.