Renfe freight train.

Shift2Rail awards grants for its 2018 Call for Proposals

Renfe freight train. Source: Flickr. License link: No credit mentioned.

Nineteen research and innovation projects will receive 77.3 million Euros under the Shift2Rail 2018 Call for Proposals. The nineteen projects combined are worth a total of 152.5 million Euros. The new projects aim to accelerate the transition towards the next generation of railway systems in Europe.

Seven projects from Shift2Rail members will receive a total of 59.6 million Euros in the 2018 Call for Proposals. These projects will have a combined value of 134.1 million Euros. Twelve additional Open Call projects, open for applications to any entity in the EU and associated Horizon 2020 countries, have been selected for funding. These projects have a total value of 18.5 million Euros, 95.7 per cent of which will be funded by the European Union.

Executive Director of Shift2Rail Carlo Borghini says Shift2Rail is entering an interesting phase: “Some of the projects are approaching system prototype demonstrations, testing the results from ‘paper’ research in real-life conditions. Some of them will also try to implement radical new ideas. We want to boost research activities while also supporting disruptive innovation to advance railway systems.”


After this Call for Proposals, Shift2Rail will have cumulatively invested 490 million Euros in Research & Innovation activities, which is more than half of its 2014-2020 budget. According to Shift2Rail, 185 participants will develop new solutions for railway systems under the 2018 S2R Call for Proposals.

Director-General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei at the European Commission, says that the new projects will build on the first Shift2Rail results, paving the way to the next generation of railways: “This is a crucial opportunity to invest in projects that will make railways safer, more flexible and more reliable but also cheaper to maintain. Innovation is essential for rail to become the preferred transportation option for tomorrow.”


Shift2Rail showed more than 20 initial demonstrations for key technologies, such as connected trams, moving block over ETCS for mainline networks, intelligent freight terminals and video gates and obstacle detection devices at InnoTrans in September 2018.

Author: Carlijn Kruidhof

Carlijn Kruidhof is editor of She also writes for, and other titles of ProMedia Group.

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