Research and Innovation Coordination Group (RICG)

Railway Research & Innovation in Europe

The Research and Innovation Coordination Group (RICG) is the UIC group which coordinates all R&I issues for the European region. It was set up in 2005 with the aim to assure a sustainable and efficient coordination among the European members in their research and innovation effort. RICG now actively develops the Railway Operating Community (ROC) R&I strategic vision, supports UIC European members in avoiding duplication of research and contributes strengthening members’ participation in collaborative research programmes and the efficiency of funding available for railway research in Europe.

Objectives

The members of the European Rail Operating Community (ROC) - Railway Undertakings, Infrastructure Managers, Railway Research Institutes and other entities - have actively contributed to setting up the Research and Innovation Coordination (RICG) in 2005 Group and further shaped it throughout the years into an open R&I coordination collaborative platform.

RICG is the UIC group which coordinates all R&I issues for the European region, thanks to the industrious help of its working groups. Its missions are notably to:

  • identify the long-term needs and coordinating the interests of the railways in terms of railway research and innovation as well as communicating them via the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) and other suitable ways
    define the research and innovation strategies and plans of action for the business needs of the railway operating community
  • monitor and, where relevant, influence the working programmes like the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking
  • support ERRAC activities and formulate a common railway operating community (ROC) position in cooperation with other stakeholders in ERRAC, namely Member- States, manufacturers and suppliers, customer associations, academia, etc.
  • identify and coordinate the research and innovation needs with Railway Representative Bodies (CER, EIM) in conjunction with the Coordination Technical Group (CTG)
  • provide a platform for the exchange of information on research and innovation activities in Europe and at national level, promoting and disseminating the commonalities in all members visions and strategies
  • identify common research topics for project initiation and submission with partners to actively influence and to respond to EC calls
  • formulate a position with regard to the proposals of other stakeholders for research and innovation programmes and projects
  • exchange information on own research and innovation programmes and national projects
  • coordinate when and where relevant the preparation of project proposals with active support by the UIC through exchange of information about ongoing and planned EU funded projects of UIC and/or UIC members enabling networking and project consortia creation.
  • monitor ongoing EU projects and defending a common ROC position in strategic EU projects resulting in technological harmonisation and standardisation
  • deliver the information about progresses and outcomes of projects carried out by UIC members: publications and research conferences
  • provide a vehicle for developing cooperation offers and the description of research capacity, which is helpful to members and external partners in preparing and delivering project proposals
  • interface with worldwide UIC research coordination (International Railway Research Board - IRRB) to foster cooperation with key research bodies from outside Europe

Since 2005, RICG has delivered significant contribution to FP7 and H2020 specific programmes, supporting members through the calls and ensuring a good information sharing between the members so as to synergise forces and avoid unnecessary duplication.

Synergies between World and European rail research

RICG liaises when and where appropriate on commons issues with the International Railway Research Board (IRRB), its global counterpart, so as to ensure the cooperation from all its key research bodies.
This cooperation is growing stronger, thanks to being fostered by the European Union framework research programmes which increasingly require active participation of non-European partners in the development stage as partners.

Building the (rail)way to 2050

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In 2017, RICG has been particularly active in revising the European R&I strategy and delivered the 12 Capabilities as a first pillar. The 12 Capabilities show in a nutshell how the European ROC expects to operate in 2050 as the backbone of the European transportation system. Although they form twelve identified streams, they are deeply intertwined and developing them in a coordinated manner will enable to the delivery of the Future European Railway System (FERS).

As the ROC R&I vision, the 12 Capabilities were instrumental in the revision of the Shift2Rail Multi-Annual Action Plan released in November 2017 , supporting the continuation of Shift2Rail as a mean to deliver the innovation to the real world. They were as well a significant contribution to the development of the ERRAC Rail 2050 Vision, setting the expectations of the entire railway sector, which was published in December 2017.

RICG wished to evaluate its recent and current involvement in collaborative research innovation (Horizon 2020 and Shift2Rail) in the light of the 12 Capabilities. This resulted in the recent “The Railway Operating Community (ROC) involvement in EU projects” project book which lists the projects benefitting from EU funding in which RICG members are actively working – matching them with the Capability(ies) they contribute to enable.

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