Shift2Rail is a part of Horizon 2020 (H2020), the European Union Funding for Research and Innovation, and an initiative of the European Commission and the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE).
Shift2Rail will promote the competitiveness of the European Rail Industry and contribute to cutting the life-cycle cost of railway transport (i.e. costs of building, operating, maintaining and renewing infrastructure and rolling stock) by as much as 50 %; doubling railway capacity; increasing reliability and punctuality by as much as 50 %. (source: shift2rail.org) Therefore the EU triple the financial resources for rail research comparing to previous funding programs, so that the budget will be up to one billion Euro over a period of 7 years. (source: http://bahnindustrie.info/uploads/media/131220_Shift2Rail.pdf)
Members and Non-Members of Shift2Rail can apply for different proposal projects out of five Innovation Programmes (IP´s). Therefore consortiums have to be created and an agreement on IPR’s has to be reached. The aim of ERCI, the only network of European R&I driven clusters focusing on railway and mobility, is to evaluate the possibility to involve their members in such consortiums to help cross-fertilization and contributing to the development and the protection of know-how.
As an example of its support to SMEs, the ERCI has signed a MoU with UNIFE to represent SMEs and research institutes in the Shift2Rail Joint technology initiative. Also there, no individual investment is required for the SME’s as 100% EU funding is planned. The open calls are expected to be extremely competitive (the 100 % funding scheme being one of the reasons why); it’s however an important way for innovative SME’s to be part of the global picture. (source: position paper of the ERCI )