BRUSSELS—European Commission President José Manuel Barroso greeted CEOs and leadership of seven public private partnerships set up under the EU’s new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The seven PPPs: Bio-based Industries, Clean Sky 2, Electronic Components and Systems, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2, Innovative Medicines Initiative 2, SESAR, and Shift2Rail, exhibited their programmes to President Barroso, Research Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and the event’s attendees. Following the exhibition, President Barroso gave the keynote speech during a two hour conference where research programme leaders answered questions and gave an overview of their research projects.
Shift2Rail, which recently had final approval of the EU Council of Ministers on 16 June, was represented by CEO of Siemens’ Rail Systems Division, Dr. Jochen Eickholt. Dr. Eickholt participated in the roundtable discussion with CEOs from the other research initiatives, where he highlighted the great added value of the initiative for the rail sector and for the competitiveness of the EU economy. Dr. Eickholt commented: “The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking is an unprecedented collaborative R&D effort made by the European rail industry and represents the culture of innovation that the rail sector needs. It has been designed not only to increase our industrial competitiveness worldwide but specifically to provide EU passengers and freight customers a quality paradigm shift for their transportation needs.”
The European Commission is currently working together with the other founders of Shift2Rail to set up the Joint Undertaking which will invest €920 Million over 6 years into rail research.
While addressing the seven research programmes launched under the Horizon2020 framework, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, commented: “Only if the best brains from academia, industry, SMEs, research institutes and other organisations come together can we successfully tackle the huge challenges that we are facing. This is what public-private partnerships are about, the joining of forces to make the lives of Europeans better, create jobs and boost our competitiveness. We are committed to prioritising the impact of the European budget on the recovery, and these partnerships are doing just that, with first calls for proposals for 1,1 billion euros to be matched by industry, within a package representing an overall 22 billion euros boost to growth and jobs creation over seven years. They will continue delivering results that no single country, company or even the European Union as such would achieve alone.”