That is the mission of the European rail cluster initiative ERCI. Its primary goal is to bring together small and medium-sized enterprises, technology and research institutes, and large companies for joint innovation projects.
The European Railway Cluster Initiative was founded in 2010 with the signing of the cooperation agreement at InnoTrans 2010. The aim of ERCI is to promote innovation and develop new business opportunities as a means to sustainably strengthen competitiveness within the European railroad industry. ERCI promotes cooperation between industry and research, initiates innovation projects and organizes B2B meetings and workshops. This also includes promoting good visibility and networking at EU level. Rail.S cluster manager Dirk-Ulrich Krüger is spokesman for the initiative.
The 16 partner cluster represent more than 2000 enterprises and research facilities of the Railroad industry from 17 countries across Europe:
|Europe’s Rail Support / Partner-Matchmaking
ERCI uses its network to line up new project consortia for the EU’s Europe’s Rail funding program each year. Since 2015, eight consortia supported by ERCI have received funding commitments in the predecessor program Shift2Rail.
|Support for small and medium-sized enterprises in opening up new markets and projects
ERCI partners are coming together to form new consortia for the implementation of EU projects. Various ERCI projects such as PERES, RailActivation, Record or EXXTRA have already been launched with the aim of creating access to new markets and innovation projects for the participating companies.
|ERCI Taskforces: Cybersecurity / Freight & Multimodal LogisticsA popular format is the ERCI Taskforces, which meet regularly for workshops. The goal of the Cybersecurity Taskforce is to raise security awareness in the context of digitization projects and to identify innovative solutions to protect the rail system against cyberattacks. The Freight & Multimodal Logistics Taskforce is concerned with the development of innovative technologies and concepts that will enable the seamless, cross-modal interlinking of logistics chains and contribute to the decarbonization of freight transport.|
Regular online seminars offer members of the ERCI partner clusters a platform to present their innovative technologies and solutions to an international audience and to discuss current topics. Dates for current online seminars can be found in the Rail.S event calendar.
The ERCI Innovation Awards recognize companies from ERCI partner clusters that have successfully brought innovative products or solutions to the market. The categories of the ERCI Innovation Awards are: “Best Large Enterprise”, “Best Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)” and the special jury prize “Coup de Cœur”. The prize is awarded annually. The hosting of the award ceremony rotates among ERCI members. In 2020, the ERCI Innovation Award ceremony took place for the sixth time.
In 2020, one of the coveted awards went to Saxony for the first time – A great success for the award-winning company CG Rail, but also for the Rail.S network.
Learn more about the European rail cluster initiative!