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Improving impact and broadening stakeholder engagement in support of transport research and innovation


To address this challenge, three sub topics are proposed and proposals should address only one of the following sub-topics:

1) Innovation awards for students and senior researchers in the context of the Transport Research Arena conference - TRA 2022

The action should focus on organising two competitions for transport research and innovation awards to be assigned at the TRA conference in 2022:

  • A competition for students and young researchers with the goal of stimulating the interest among young researchers/students in the field of transport.
  • A competition for senior researchers in the field of innovative transport concepts based on results from EU-funded projects only.

Both competitions should cover all transport modes and cross-cutting issues (technological, socio-economic and behavioural aspects) in line with the EU policy objectives for smart, green and integrated transport. The organisation of these awards should ensure high-quality competition and very good media coverage before, during and after the TRA conference. The action should give particular attention to gender issues.

The awards shall be widely promoted, including within press articles and via important trade publications. Particularly for the student award, wide pan European participation is expected and should be facilitated through engagement with relevant professional associations, their publications and other related student organisations.

2) Broadening Engagement and increasing impact from Waterborne transport research

The waterborne sector is highly fragmented, with diverse actors and administrative structures, covering ports, maritime and inland shipping. The resulting barriers inhibit innovation and the necessary R&I dialogue to maximise impact. To address this, the following activities should be foreseen:

  • Together with Commission services and the broader waterborne sector, identify the information gaps concerning, innovation needs, awareness of outcomes and opportunities for participation and on this basis devise a communication strategy to be implemented over the course of the project.
  • Develop KPIs and benchmark these at the outset and use to monitor progress throughout the project.
  • Broaden lasting awareness and increase the impact from EU waterborne research through prominent participation within large strategic maritime and inland waterway events such as SMM Hamburg in 2022 and 2024 and for example promote waterborne innovation in overall strategic transport events, stakeholder exercises and the creation of durable engagement with potential public and private users.
  • Produce high quality digital and printed dissemination materials concerning the scope and success stories arising from EU waterborne research. This should include a short video presenting the challenges, innovation needs and successes.

3) Towards an implementation of the future inland navigation action programme

The action should focus on consolidating the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) knowledge network and partnership, which was previously established with the support of FP7. In this respect, it should ensure a solid knowledge basis for the implementation of any future NAIADES programme. The coordination and support action will build on the results of previous work and will reflect the multi-disciplinary requirements and complexity of the subject, coordinating with the wider waterborne, land transport and logistics communities. The coordination action will be organised around the five NAIADES 2 action areas, but will also take into account the results of the NAIADES 2 progress report (adopted 18.09.2018[[Commission SWD(2018) 428 final: ""Mid-term progress report on the implementation of the NAIADES II action programme for the promotion of inland waterway transport (covering the period 2014-2017)"" –]]) and other related activities. The coordination action will, in close cooperation with the European Commission, set up a roadmap for the implementation of actions not yet started or to be finalised and ensure the support to permanent-type of actions. It will identify the appropriate measures and define the necessary means and tools. In coordination with the Waterborne technology platform, the action will further develop a R&D roadmap by integrating all stakeholders and will also develop the implementation plan. Also in coordination with the Waterborne technology platform, the project will also monitor the inland navigation R&D projects and their impacts from relevant European programmes. The project will also identify barriers for the deployment of research results, market uptake and improvement of framework conditions to increase innovation in inland waterway transport. A particular focus will be to address the need to decarbonise and improve the environmental performance of inland waterway transport, particularly when operating close to urban areas, as well as on future-proof infrastructure, compatible with digital and automation developments under a changing climate.

This coordination and support action will ensure an active participation of key industrial stakeholders, the Waterborne Technology Platform, Member States administrations, industry associations and river commissions.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 0.7 million for sub-topic 1); of up to EUR 1.3 million for sub topic 2) and of up to EUR 2 million for sub topic 3) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Increasing the impacts and broadening stakeholder engagement in support of transport research is an essential element to underpin the European added value from the Transport challenge of Horizon 2020.

One way to achieve this goal is to organise and participate in events that have major strategic importance.

An excellent example is the Transport Research Arena (TRA) organised in different Member States jointly with the Commission, whilst, amongst others, SMM Hamburg, the world’s largest Maritime Technology exhibition represents a valuable opportunity to broaden engagement in European Waterborne research and innovation.

Furthermore, additional targeted coordination and support activities are needed in the Inland Waterways sector and in particular with respect to the further development of the NAIADES actions and the leverage of the outcomes from related projects and to establish a bridge towards future research, innovation and implementation needs within inland waterways coordination with the wider waterborne and logistics sectors.

  • Contribute to a wide dissemination of the results of European transport research, broaden stakeholder engagement and raise the visibility and weight of the EU policy in the field.
  • Increase the attractiveness of transport related studies and reinforce the pursuit of excellence and impact in European transport research and innovation, by giving recognition and visibility to the best achievements.
  • Creating links and exchanges between research and innovation stakeholders and policy makers, thus improving the development and deployment of innovative solutions for transport in Europe.
  • Increase the impacts and take up of the outcomes from EU research and innovation and broaden engagement beyond those already familiar with EU research programmes.
  • Promotion and development of the inland waterway sector: increasing awareness so as to increase usage of Inland waterway transport. Identify best practices and increase their take up and faster modernisation of the inland fleet. Provide a knowledge exchange, discussion and promotion platform; strengthen the coordination between national, EU and industrial research across waterborne transport and the wider logistics chain. Working together with the waterborne platform, assist in assessing current/future EU R&I programmes, implementation actions, technology assessments, forecasts and transfer of R&I solutions. Improve the environmental performance of inland waterways and contribute to future-proof infrastructure, compatible with digital and automation developments under a changing climate.