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Projects worth €222m proposed under first Shift2Rail calls for research

On 30 March the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) announced it received 43 proposals with a total funding request of close to €80 million in response to its first open call for proposals that closed on 17 March.

The S2R JU had 15 open call topics and total available budget of €26.1 million.

In addition, 27 S2R JU members presented project proposals for the 13 call topics reserved for them, that requested €63 million to support these projects (in addition to the €80 million the they planned to contribute).

The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking said a combined total of 454 applications were received in response to its open and reserved calls, of which 25% were by SMEs.

The most popular open call topic was S2R-OC-IP5-03-2015: Intelligent freight wagon with predictive maintenance that received seven applications. All the other topics received between one and four except for S2R-OC-IP1-01-2016: Tools and methodologies supporting the development of next generation traction systems, and brakes for which no applications were recorded.

Keir Fitch, Interim Executive Director of the S2R JU commented, "The application rate to the open calls should ensure that we have healthy competition in most of the topics. We are confident that this will result in the S2R JU funding excellent projects in all its Innovation Programmes. We are particularly enthusiastic to see the high participation rate of SMEs."

Next steps

The evaluation of the proposals is scheduled to start in April and to be completed by June 2016. Applicants should be informed on the outcome of the evaluations by mid July.

Shift2Rail will offer a total value of €920M over the period 2014-2020, to promote the competitiveness of the European rail industry and help ensure the attractiveness of rail as a safe and sustainable low carbon transport mode.

The Shift2Rail initiative started a year ago with the kick-off of four "lighthouse" projects with €52M of research paving the way for the main programme.

According to its 2016 Annual Work Plan, the 2017 calls for proposals will be agreed in Q4 of 2016, informed by results of the reporting of its 2014 projects.



3 people have had something to say so far

Hi Tim,
"The Shift2Rail initiative started a year ago with the kick-off of four "lighthouse" projects with €52M of research paving the way for the main programme."

Can you say where the 52 million euros went? Did it result in anything innovative to align with the targets of InnovateUK?
Posted on 11/04/16 13:55.
Hello Tony,

Thanks again for your comment.

According to the rail industry group that oversaw these projects prior to the setting up of Shift2Rail, three of the four projects 'kicked off' on 7 May last year - and lists the four Lighthouse Projects as:

– Roll2Rail - that includes National Rail and University of Southampton as partners
– IN2Rail - that includes 6 UK universities as parters
– IT2Rail - in which the UK's RSSB is a partner
– Smart-Rail -

That is sourced from:­oll2rail-it2rail-and-in2rail.html

For details of the first 3 see:

For Smart-Rail see : - although as with this one each project should have its own website.

So, 'en train' for less than a year, and the last one (for instance) lasts 36 months, so perhaps a little early to make fair judgements on output.

As for alignment to Innovate UK targets, can I refer you to Innovate UK's latest Delivery Plan published yesterday, and leave it to you to compare and contrast...
Posted on 12/04/16 16:33.
Hi Tim,

Thanks for the information, I always hope to see some breakthrough akin to James Watt or Robert Stephenson, something which we can be proud of as British innovation.

As you know I've been following BIS for many years and although the hype is exceptional the reality is pretty poor. As an engineer I see only more decline and foreign takeovers of what is left of UK manufacturing, now at 10% of GDP.

Yes I've seen the latest 24 page Delivery Plan signed by Ruth McKernan with all the usual generalisations and vague claims, lists of money spent but no change in growth or innovation. The one that makes me smile is that there's £7.30 of GVA for every £1 invested, a cool 730% ROI. If they could return just 25% on investment then money would flood in from all over the world.

I see the _connect site is so carefully hidden that there's no one here, reminds me of Ian Gray's comment that InnovateUK is the governments best kept secret. To get innovateUK from the is similarly so complex as to keep out most observers. But I see the HQ at Swindon is still ticking away with "support" and "initiatives" with taxpayers' money.
Posted on 13/04/16 13:22.

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