The first open call of the new “Horizon 2020” Framework Programme was launched on 11 December by the European Commission (DG RTD). It will provide significant support to the European railway sector as it drives the innovation of rail transport over the next decade, for the benefit of the system and all its end customers.
A broad cross section of European rail companies and all UIC technical departments were represented at the meeting which discussed proposals that will be put forward by the Rail Operating Community for the first call under Horizon 2020.
This open call represents a main challenge for the entire European rail sector as the European Commission is looking in particular for a real step change in innovation from the rail system. Rail is the backbone of European transport and as such is seen as a core component of European growth.
The RCG meeting was the opportunity for all represented companies to express and coordinate their views on the main priorities to be developed under this new Framework Programme that will last until 2020.
A range of proposals is emerging that cover a broad spectrum of business interest to the ROC, influenced by the ERRAC roadmaps and based on the principle vision contained within Challenge 2050.
UIC as the technical platform of the rail operating community is totally committed to supporting the member companies in the development and coordination of future proposals.
On the basis of the discussions, consortium meetings will be organised over the next weeks in order to proceed with the preparation of future proposals. For this first call of Horizon 2020, the European Commission has established a new process for submissions with a “two stage approach”. The meeting was informed that proposals for the first stage must be submitted to the European Commission by 18 March 2014 at the latest.
A review of the development status of the emerging proposals will be organised during a second coordination meeting to be organised on 12 February in Paris at UIC HQ.