S2R members will undertake seven of the new projects, which have a total value of €134.1m, co-funded by S2R up to €59.6m.

12 additional open-call projects, which were open for applications from any entity in the European Union (EU) and associated Horizon 2020 countries, have also been selected for funding. These projects have a total value of €18.5m, 95.7% of which will be funded by the EU.

In total, 185 participants will develop new solutions under the 2018 S2R call for proposals, with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) representing 31.5% of the entities selected.

The latest funding brings S2R’s investment in research and innovation activities up to €490m, more than half of its 2014-2020 budget.

“This is a crucial opportunity to invest in projects that will make railways safer, more flexible and more reliable but also cheaper to maintain,” says director-general for mobility and transport at the European Commission, Mr Henrik Hololei. “Innovation is essential for rail to become the preferred transportation option for tomorrow.”

“We are entering an interesting phase with some of the projects approaching system prototype demonstrations, testing the results from ‘paper’ research in real-life conditions,” says S2R executive director, Mr Carlo Borghini. “Some of them will also try to implement radical new ideas. We want to boost research activities while also supporting disruptive innovation to advance railway systems.”