STARS provides a complete “transformation pathway” to more traditional SMEs, grouped in small “Strategic Alliances”, to improve understanding and acceptance towards advanced technologies and how they can be used to achieve specific business goals and what barriers to adoption may exist and how they can be addressed. It will also create the conditions for the most efficient adoption of such technologies in terms of cultural attitudes, organization and skills, and will help companies to make the necessary adaptations to the technologies and access public or private funding. Another component of the project is the exploration of new business and technology ideas in response to sectoral challenges through collaboration between more traditional SMEs, tech-savvy SMEs and start-ups from different ecosystems in five hackathons and matchmaking events.
The project is a spin-off from PERES and EXXTRA, both projects in which Rail.S has been or still is involved. The partners have committed to take their internationalization services to a higher level by focusing on new approaches to help their medium-sized members overcome a number of obstacles (organizational, technical, legal, financial…) they face when trying to participate in international public tenders. The target countries of S-ACCESS are the USA, Canada and Norway.
In the new strategic ERCI project EXXTRA, the networking of European clusters, companies and regions will be further strengthened by implementing more offers for internationalisation and open innovation for SMEs. Amongst others, “Erasmus for Clusters and Members” will be implemented helping SMEs, start-ups, growing organisations and higher education and research institutes to spend a week in an “‘EXXTRA” country (Italy, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey) to learn best practices and/or facilitate technology transfer.
With RailActivation, the employees of small and medium-sized railway technology companies are enabled to innovate their workplace. This supports companies in their integration into the digital value chain. Among the consortium members are the Spanish railway technology cluster MAFEX (lead partner), the Italian university consortium QUINN for innovative and qualitative engineering, the Spanish research and technology institute Tecnalia, the Italian railway technology cluster DITECFER and of course Rail.S.
PERES is the starting point for European small and medium-sized railway suppliers to develop markets outside Europe. Rail.S cooperates with four other European railway technology clusters namely DITECFER (Italy), i-Trans (France), RCSEE (Serbia), Rail Alliance (Great Britain). In April 2019, a business trip was organized to explore the railway technology market in the northeast of the USA.