EUROPE’s Rail, the successor to the Shift2Rail joint research undertaking, has issued its first call for project proposals.

The six project topics are expected to be worth €390m with €234m of funding available. The topics and funding allocations are:

  • Intelligent and Integrated asset management (€38.3m)
  • Digital and Automated up to Autonomous Train Operations (€54.3m)
  • A sustainable and green rail system (€38m)
  • Sustainable, Competitive, Digital Green Rail Freight Services (€46.3m)
  • Regional rail services/Innovative rail services to revitalise capillary lines (€40.6m), and
  • Network management planning and control and mobility management in a multimodal environment and digital enablers (€16.5m).

Europe’s Rail says the call is expected to receive significant interest from the transport community and beyond. It says the call builds on the results of Shift2Rail to reach high levels of technology readiness and will pave the way for the deployment of innovative operational and technological solutions.

Europe’s Rail’s system pillar will frame the works and the joint undertaking says geographical coverage, gender balance, equity creation, synergies, openness are all elements underpinning the call and successful applications.

“The call for proposals launched today will fund projects driving digitalisation and automation within rail, and further improving environmental performance in line with the EU Green Deal and Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy objectives,” says Mr Henrik Hololei, director-general for mobility and transport at the European Commission. “I count on diverse, European consortia to respond in large numbers, to help us make rail more efficient and competitive.”

The application period is open and submissions will be accepted until 17.00 CET on June 23 2022. Interested parties can view full details of the call for proposals here.

“I am looking forward to receiving applications from a variety of entities eligible under Horizon Europe, ensuring that we have an open and inclusive programme, bringing together the research community, SMEs, operators, infrastructure managers and suppliers,” says Mr Carlo Borghini, Europe’s Rail executive director. “Within the framework established in the Single Basic Act, the call is designed to attract applicants from the research and innovation value chain, while complying with the stringent legal requirements to materialise a leverage effect of the resources invested. The next five years will be critical to achieve large scale demonstrations of key solutions, in view of their deployment.”

Another call for proposals covering exploratory research and other activities will be launched in the second half of 2022. This will be followed by further annual calls.

Europe’s Rail was officially launched during a ceremony held at the European Railway Summit in Paris on February 21.

Carlo Borghini outlined his hopes and expectations for Europe’s Rail in an interview with IRJ published in the April 2021 edition. Subscribers can read it here.