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."
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.