THE European Investment Bank (EIB) announced on September 22 that it has approved €30m of financing to support research, development and innovation activities at Mermec Group of Italy.

An agreement covering an initial tranche of €20m has been signed by EIB vice-president, Ms Gelsomina Vigliotti, and Mermec Group chief financial officer, Mr Michele Costa.

This took place on the side lines of an event organised in Matera by the EIB and local business organisation Confindustria Puglia e Basilicata to promote European Union (EU) financing opportunities for companies in the Puglia and Basilicata regions of Italy.

The initial financing being provided by the EIB is intended to help Mermec to develop innovative signalling platforms for driverless trains, and advanced solutions for more efficient diagnostics, rolling stock maintenance and railway infrastructure.

The EIB resources will also enable Mermec to develop solutions for the integrated management of railway assets using remote data collection. These new solutions will apply advanced connectivity technology, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the efficiency of diagnostics and maintenance, as well as improving the safety and sustainability of rail operations.

These research, development and innovation activities will take place in Italy between 2023 and 2025.

“This operation confirms Mermec’s wide-ranging commitment to invest in research and development, promoting sustainability and innovation in the rail sector and creating economic, social and environmental value,” says Costa.

“This agreement not only strengthens our ability to make this vision a reality, but also confirms the key role of international financial institutions in accelerating positive change.”