The STARS proposal aims to develop a pilot-project that offers a comprehensive approach to the Action objectives. It gathers 11 Railway Clusters organisations from 13 regions in 9 COSME countries (but covering 14 countries), 5 Technology Centres selected following a value chain approach and offering complementary specialisations suitable to accompany any type of SME for any type of transition need, and 1 start-up developer and provider of a blockchain network that will be specifically made available and dedicated to the project for the European railway value chain, with the Partners becoming distributed “Mining Nodes” and the SMEs within the Strategic Alliances being coached, enabled with individual accounts and a wide set of tagging systems, and assisted in the actual use of the technology. This unique opportunity will multiply the impact of the demonstration and learning-by-doing activities run by the Technology Centres, as well as of the “Hack & Match” events that we will organise, so that the SMEs within the Strategic Alliances and beyond will actually touch first-hand the technologies applied to their use-cases. The project has the support of 30 key relevant European organisations, among which the EU JU Shift2Rail, several DIHs, several EEN contact points, several members of EITs/KICs. The project will answer the Action objectives addressing all aspects related to the uptake of Advanced Technologies by SMEs. For this, the activities developed for the SMEs will include support to the organisational/cultural change based on innovative models, support to a better understanding of investment aspects and return-on-investments (ROI) related to the adoption of Advanced Technologies, training and assistance on funding opportunities for investments, support for upskilling and reskilling, etc.. In reference to the latter, during the Kick-off meeting the Partnership will sign the “Pact for Skills” charter, committing to a stronger European resilience also via new skills.

Start date 01/10/2021 with a duration of 24 months