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Candidacy of MITMA Group accepted to become founding member of European R&D+i partnership - Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking

Monday 1 March 2021

The European Commission, through its Competitiveness Council, has recently approved the proposed regulation of the R&D+i partnerships for the Council of Europe under its new framework programme Horizon Europe 2021-27. The programme given over to railways will last until 2031 and has a total budgetary provision of 1.21 billion euros, which will be co-financed by 600 million euros from the European Union.

The innovation matters to be covered by its founding members are related to the evolution of such operational and business aspects as:

  • Configuration of the new framework of operations and European benchmark architecture for Control, Command and Signalling (CCS)
  • Future development of the ERTMS system
  • Progress on telecommunications (development of 5G with cases of specific railway service and business use)
  • Traffic management platforms
  • Automation of logistics chain operations, terminals and goods transport
  • Maintenance and management of smart railway assets
  • Development of BIM for its use in digital twins in railways

Railway partnership

The candidacy, headed up by Adif with the participation of Adif Alta Velocidad, Cedex, Ineco and Renfe Operadora as subsidiary entities, formally presented its interest in becoming a founding member of the ERJU at the end of September 2020. Since then, it has outlined its capacities and interests to the European institutions, demonstrating that it has the resources, experience and sufficient implementation capacities to join this new railway undertaking.

In December 2020, Adif was put on the provisional list, together with the rest of the candidates. With the official publication of the latest proposed regulation, Adif now accompanies the other 25 future founding members from the community of operators, administrators, industry and research centres in the preparatory process of the activities of the ERJU. The most important actions that will follow this announcement provide for:

  • The transfer of the European railway research agenda to a Master Plan comprising the cases of use for their development over the 10 years of the undertaking.
  • The development of a multiannual work programme, which provides for specific actions and their corresponding budget for each year
  • The preparation of an initial call for actions for the first four or five years of functioning with 50% of the budget allocated to innovation

The status of this candidacy headed up by Adif as a founding member will be definitively confirmed with the final approval of the proposed regulation by the EU institutions, including the Council of Europe, and will be endorsed with the signing by the candidacy of the commitment agreements with the Commission. Given that both procedures will be completed at the end of the year, the official activities of the ERJU are scheduled to begin in December 2021.

Heart of European innovation

The aim of Adif's candidacy is for the Spanish public railway sector to be at the heart of European innovation, with its agenda and activities. This scope of collaboration, together with the rest of the major railway sector players in the Eurozone, will be bolstered by a mechanism of governance shared with the European Commission and the European Union Agency for Railways.

When the undertaking starts up, Adif will concentrate on obtaining developments with possibilities of the most immediate application and implementation to improve Spanish railways in terms of levels of digitalisation, automation, sustainability and interoperability, which are vital for its transformation and a greater projection both within and beyond our borders.

Non official translation