Call for Proposals


The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) is a new public-private partnership in the rail sector, established under Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, providing a platform for the rail sector as a whole to work in unison with a view to driving innovation in the years to come. The Shift2Rail JU will conduct all rail research led in Horizon 2020.

The objectives of the Shift2Rail JU should be achieved by means of supporting research and innovation (R&I) activities by using resources from the public and private sectors. To this end, the Shift2Rail JU will organise calls for proposals supporting research, demonstration and deployment activities. Specific information on calls for proposals or tenders organised by Shift2Rail JU in a given year are available in the Annual Work Plan of Shift2Rail JU for the given year (available in the ‘Reference documents’ section).

As specified in Article 17 of the Shift2Rail Statutes (Annex I to Shift2Rail Founding Regulation), up to 70 % of the Shift2Rail JU budget will be implemented directly by the members of Shift2Rail JU (founding and associated members) and their affiliated entities following calls for proposals accessible to members only. At least 30 % of the Shift2Rail budget will be implemented through open, competitive calls accessible only to entities which are not members of the Shift2Rail JU (founding or associated), nor constituent entities of members in the form of consortia or groupings, nor affiliated entities either to the Shift2Rail JU members or to the constituent entities of members in the form of consortia or groupings. Details about this type of calls is available in the subsections above.

Background Information

The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) last grant agreement related to 2015/2016 calls has been signed. All projects are now operational.

In June 2016, following two open calls for proposals, the S2R JU has awarded 27 grants.

The 27 S2R JU Other Members submitted project proposals to cover all 13 call topics open to them. The value of activities to be performed by the S2R JU Other Members during the next three years, amount to 142 ME that will be co-funded by the S2R JU up to 63 ME. These projects, which started on 1 September are well on their ramp up phase.

The applicants to the Open call for proposals for non-JU Members covered 14 out of 15 topics open to them. The value of the activities to be performed by the awarded consortia amount to 25ME and will be financed by the S2R JU up to 100% of the eligible costs. These projects have started between 1 October and 1 November 2016.

With its first calls for proposal the S2R JU launched 167 ME of complementary R&I activities and plan to grant 88 ME for their completion. A total of 454 participants applied to the different topics available under both the open calls and the calls designated for Members, of which 25% are SMEs. In the open calls funded projects only, more than 30% of the participants are SMEs.

A total of 56 proposals were submitted in response to S2R calls for proposals 2015 & 2016. Projects funded under this call began in October 2016 and are now fully operational. The number of proposals for each topic is shown below:

Call for S2R JU members 2015 & 2016 – total 13 proposals


Call for non-JU members – total 43 proposals


The topics that S2R launched, and that will start with projects this year, cover most areas of Shift2Rail’s programme, notably:

  • Rolling stock development of concepts towards the next generation of traction systems, new concepts and architectures for train control and monitoring and advanced brakes.
  • Rail signaling technological and operational advancement for on-board automation systems, high-capacity radio communications systems, safe train separation systems, cyber security systems, innovative testing processes, etc.
  • Infrastructure whole system-approach progress enhancing and innovating switch & crossings and track systems, extending the life of bridges and tunnel assets, managing assets in a more holistic, intelligent and consistent way.
  • Passenger centric IT solution for interoperable framework developments and ‘one-stop shop’ sale and use of tickets and travel disruption assistance applications across multiple modes.
  • Research activities targeting freight including automation, noise and LCC. New developments on freight locomotives, on driver advisory systems and intelligent freight wagons.
  • Cross-cutting activities: identification of socio-economic factors that can contribute to an attractive railway system, the development of tools and approaches to enable the impacts evaluation of new technologies. Transversal evaluation and methodologies around energy, noise and vibration. Integrated approaches to deal with the safety of the railway system and planning that takes into account interdependencies in the railway system.


The four running Shift2Rail “lighthouse” projects in brief:

  • In2Rail, a 36 month project, is setting the foundation for a resilient, consistent, cost-efficient, high capacity European rail network.
  • IT2Rail, a 30 month project, is the first step towards the introduction of new technologies and solutions, for a fully integrated and customised travel experience.
  • Roll2Rail, a 30 month project, is setting the foundation for cost-efficient and reliable trains, to revolutionise the rolling stock of the future.
  • Smart Rail, a 36 month project, aims at improving rail freight services offered to shippers, focusing on five main aspects: reliability, lead time, costs, flexibility and visibility.