Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (EU-Rail) Officially Launches
The new European Partnership aims to deliver a high-capacity and reliable integrated European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and providing solutions for full integration, for European citizens and cargo.
The Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (EU-Rail) was officially launched at the European Railway Summit on 21 February 2022, with the ambition to deliver a more attractive, user-friendly, competitive, affordable, easy to maintain, efficient and sustainable rail system throughout Europe.
With a total budget of over €1.2 billion (with €600 million in EU funding), the new institutionalised European partnership – also known as a Joint Undertaking – is the universal successor to the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking and will operate until 2031. It aims to deliver a high-capacity, flexible, multi-modal and reliable integrated European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and providing solutions for full integration, for European citizens and cargo.
The partnership will be set around a single Research and Innovation Programme that will be delivered through the following two integrated pillars:
- The System Pillar will provide governance, resource, and outputs to support a coherent and coordinated approach to the evolution of the rail system and the development of the system view, based on a formal functional system architecture approach to speed innovation and deployment. The System Pillar brings rail sector representatives under a single coordination body.
- The Innovation Pillar is the core of the programme and is set up to deliver user-focused research, innovation and large-scale demonstrations.
In addition, EU-Rail will foster a close cooperation and ensure coordination with related European, national and international research and innovation activities in the rail sector and beyond as necessary, in particular under Horizon Europe, Connecting Europe, and the Digital Agenda. The partnership will play a major role in both applied innovation and exploratory research, thereby pushing the boundaries of the current system and benefiting from scientific and technological advances in other sectors.
Financial support will mainly be provided in the form of grants to research and innovation indirect actions, selected following open and competitive calls except in duly justified cases specified in the annual work programme in order to set additional conditions requiring the participation of Members of the JU. It is anticipated that the first calls for proposals will launch in the first quarter of 2022.
(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)