“Regions in Europe Coordinate and Optimize innovation and competitiveness policy instruments towaRDs improving the sustainability of transport – study case of SMEs in the railway sector” is funded under ERDF within the “INTERREG EUROPE” programme.
Europe has always been a step ahead regarding sustainable transport mode in comparison with the rest of the world and Europe has developed valuable expertise and innovation in the railway sector.
That is why, railway is identified in many RIS3. However due to a fierce competition in particular from emerging industries, the whole sector and especially SME are facing big challenges regarding their competitiveness (pricebased vs. innovationbased competitiveness).
To tackle this challenge, regions with the help of the EC, put efforts to encourage R&I joint activities (triple helix concept) by offering innovation delivery support in the ERDF OP (direct fundings, cluster policy…).
Other initiatives have been launched towards the railway sector but it has been pointed out that SME have specific issues due to the way public transport works, the specificities of its value chain and its market structure (few big companies with thousands of SMEs, few profit margin, low innovation culture, etc.). Taking this into consideration, the RECORD project aims at helping SME to invest more and better in innovation activities by redesigning the regional policy instruments. To do so, we plan individual work to be compared with partnering regions and analyzed. Benchmark and brainstorming sessions with local stakeholders will help draw provenoriented conclusions and develop new approaches together.
To have comparability and to be able to share experiences and learn from each other, it is key to admit regional policy structure, industrial environment and clusters differences. Stakeholders engagement in this project is very important as it will be the first time managing authorities, clusters, businesses, universities, other funding organizations, regions etc. are working together early in the political process in the railway sector. This lends credibility and builds solid foundation to develop a framework that will be accepted for implementation.
The following ERCI Partner Clusters are project partners: DITECFER (Italy) and i-Trans (France)