S2R and the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (Cutric) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 23 during the S2R Innovation Days in Brussels.

Cutric is a non-profit innovation consortium with a vision to make Canada a global leader in low-carbon smart mobility by focusing on technology development, integration and standardisation using low-carbon propulsion systems, smart vehicle systems, data-driven analytics, and cybersecurity. The consortium plans to achieve this through industry-led collaborative research and large-scale technology integration trials.

The MoU will promote cooperation on environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient transport modes in order to contribute to global decarbonisation.

“This MoU is very important for us because it is a key opportunity to collaborate at an international scale with industry on low carbon mobility R&I to enhance the leverage effect of what we do in Europe and to deliver on the European Green Deal objectives,” says S2R executive director, Mr Carlo Borghini.

The cooperation will start during S2R’s existing programme under Horizon 2020, and will continue in the new programme that is expected to start in the second half of 2021 under Horizon Europe.

To start the collaboration, S2R will take part in the Cutric Rail Conference on November 23 to contribute to global discussions on topics including energy efficiency, alternative materials, rail and big data for operational optimisation.

“This joint undertaking is a prime example of the international innovation economy using collaboration, research and analytics to further the global goals of reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency, and providing better transit for all,” says Cutric president and CEO, Dr Josipa Petrunić.

Balkan states

S2R has also signed an MoU with the Permanent Secretariat of the Transport Community, an international organisation formed in October 2017 comprising the European Union, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

The countries have committed to developing and implementing a regional rail strategy in the Western Balkans, which has led to the permanent secretariat of the Transport Community setting up a Rail Action Plan.

The MoU with S2R will promote cooperation on rail R&I to contribute to the modernisation of the rail sector in the Western Balkans through the deployment of new technologies and innovative solutions.

“This MoU is very important for us because digitalisation and the fostering of rail interoperability are crucial aspects of railway system transformation,” Borghini says. “S2R can contribute to this process by creating opportunities for testing demonstrations and delivering quick wins resulting from S2R R&I.”

“In an effort to make travelling and transporting goods by rail attractive for citizens and companies in the Western Balkans, Transport Community is proud to cooperate with S2R,” says Mr Matej Zakonjse, director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Transport Community. “This MoU is a testament of our joint dedication to bring innovation and digital solutions to Western Balkans, shift more freight from roads to rail and, in doing so, make the region’s transport system more competitive and better connected with the EU.

“Rail system investments will make the region more economically viable and facilitate development.”