Shift2Rail Research and Development

The work conducted within the Shift2Rail framework will be structured, first of all, around five asset-specific Innovation Programmes (IPs), covering all the different structural (technical) and functional (process) subsystems of the rail system, namely:

  • IP1: Cost-efficient and Reliable Trains, including high-capacity trains and high-speed trains
  • IP2: Advanced Traffic Management & Control Systems
  • IP3: Cost-efficient, Sustainable and Reliable High-Capacity Infrastructure
  • IP4: IT Solutions for Attractive Railway Services
  • IP5: Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Freight.

These five Innovation Programmes (IPs) are not just a simple ‘package’ of unrelated programmes. On the contrary, together they form a consolidated assembly of the railway system, with a number of common cross-cutting themes. The R&I activities of the Joint Undertaking (JU) must be managed in the most efficient way, so as to allow full coverage of all areas while ensuring a high degree of efficiency in management of the technical activities.



Interactions between the various IPs will be of major importance, given that technological developments in one part of the system could lead to changes in performance or even create barriers in another part of the system managed by another actor. In addition, cross-cutting activities will also include research on long-term economic and societal trends such as customer needs and human capital and skills, which must be taken into account by the different IPs.

Sustainable growth of the rail sector requires a dedicated and balanced approach addressing specific common research and innovation (R&I) challenges, while integrating and demonstrating cooperation between stakeholders across the whole rail value chain.

Responding to these challenges will require different types of activities, including:

  • demonstration activities
  • research and technological development activities
  • other supporting activities.

In addition to these three types of activities that are funded and conducted directly by the Shift2Rail JU, the members of the Shift2Rail JU will be required to conduct additional activities with a view to leveraging the effect of the R&I activities undertaken within Shift2Rail. These activities are not eligible for financial support from the Shift2Rail JU but must contribute directly to the broader objectives set out in the Shift2Rail Master Plan.