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Periodic Report Summary 2 - ENTIII (Era-net Transport III)

Project Context and Objectives:
Era-net Transport (ENT) is a network of national and regional transport research programmes in Europe. ENT has evolved since 2004 into a service platform for programme owners and programme managers, providing the required framework for initiating and implementing transnational research and innovation funding cooperation. By facilitating cooperation activities among publicly financed transport research programmes, ENT improves the outcome and quality of transport research and innovation and thus contributes to the European Research Area (ERA) for transport.

Since 2004, ENT has developed concepts and procedures for policy support in order to successfully set-up and implement transnational cooperation activities. These cooperation activities vary from exchange of knowledge regarding programme design and implementation, the matching of thematic priorities and joint actions like research and innovation project funding and joint calls for proposals including a large-scale EN Plus action, Electromobility+.

ENTIII objectives
The ENTIII project has the following objectives:
• Preparation and launch of regular large-sized annual flagship initiatives, coordinated with the Horizon 2020 programme, with a size of ideally some 10 million EURO. Within ENTIII the launch of 2 flagships is envisaged;
• Preparation and launch of small- and medium-sized transnational research and innovation funding initiatives. Within ENTIII the launch of 4 such funding initiatives is envisaged;
• Expansion of cooperation network and increased windows of opportunities for transnational collaborations, involving more national and regional funding programmes;
• Enhanced and smoothened implementation of transnational cooperation actions through structural adaptations of funding schemes and procedures in partner countries/regions;
• Exploration and deployment of new ways, geometries and settings for transnational cooperation and funding, e.g. through deployment of Structural and Cohesion funds;
• Enlarged visibility of national research and innovation funding activities, their results and achievements and of the added value of transnational collaborations through ENT and thereby increased impact in the ERA.
Contribution to the coordination of high quality research

ENTIII will in many ways step beyond the previous ENTI and ENTII:
• Enlarged network of European countries and regions and intensified support for (new) ENT partners
• Increased transnational call budgets (flagship initiatives). Hence, ENTIII will install a regular large-scale flagship funding initiative aiming at up to 10 million EURO call budgets. ENTIII will additionally initiate a number of small- and medium-sized cooperation activities
• Broadened scope and funding possibilities. ENTIII will look into the involvement of Structural and Cohesion funding in new and established ENT partner countries.
• Improved visibility of national research and innovation programmes and projects in Europe. ENT contributes to the design and implementation of a forum for strengthening the ERA in the field of transport and ENT will explore the options and possibilities of building on and collaborating with existing platforms for research and innovation data and dissemination.
• Optimised dissemination of knowledge and enhanced support for shaping funding architectures
• Enhanced collaborations. ENTIII will explore the possibilities for enhancing collaborations with important bodies/platforms in the Transport ERA. These comprise ERTRAC and ERRAC and other ERA-Nets.
• Enhanced contributions to EC’s Horizon 2020 and White Paper

Since the start of ENT all in all 23 transnational cooperation groups have been set-up on various topics in all modes of surface transport. These have resulted in 11 successful transnational funding groups, which have led to joint research and innovation funding initiatives with a total allocation of national and regional public research and innovation funds to transnational cooperation projects of close to 50 million EURO.
The ENT transnational funding initiatives contribute to the coordination of research by:
• Tackling relevant common goals of national and regional transport research and innovation priorities;
• Building the ERA for transport with a national/regional funding option for transnational projects;
• Coordinating the ENT flagship initiatives with the topics of the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission in order to complement each other;
• Establishing the ENT approach as a durable element in the ERA for transport;
• Raising awareness and enthusiasm for the regional/national funding approach.

Project Results:
Two large-sized Flagship Calls launch: one on ‘Future Travelling’, launched in spring 2013 and one on ‘Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains’, launched in spring 2015. The transnational collaboration initiatives covered € 10 million of funding each. The first ENT Flagship resulted in the financing of 8 research projects. The second ENT Flagship in the financing of 6 research projects. Funders, applicants and independent experts were very content with the process of application and evaluation.

Aim of ENTIII was to launch in addition to the large Flagship Calls a number of small- and medium-sized transnational funding initiatives with a limited size of funding. For various reasons the setup of small- or medium-sized funding initiatives turned out to be rather difficult from the very beginning. Nevertheless ENTIII succeeded in delivering 6 Position Papers of which four have been converted into deliverables. Only one on ‘Sustainable logistics and supply chains’ took off and ended up the ENT 2015 Flagship Call.

ENTIII has developed and delivered smart tools for facilitating the quest for transnational funding collaborations, tools such as the ENT action support toolkit and the ENT-platform. The ENT toolkit is a comprehensive procedural framework for establishing joint transnational funding activities. It provides a support structure containing both cooperation steps and documents for national and regional research programme owners and managers. The ENT-platform is a open source web based cooperation platform which enables programme owners to identify potential common aspects and opportunities for transnational (funding) collaborations in transport and beyond in the European Research Area.

ENTIII has explored possibilities to facilitate transnational finding collaboration in transport research by making an inventory of national and regional transport funding programmes/schemes 2014/2015. The findings of this inventory have been used for designing the ENT-platform and fueling supporting activities of the ENT Ambassadors to the ENT partners. Also to support ENTIII partner Bulgaria in their ambitions to design a transport research and innovation funding programme to better enable them to take part in further ENT activities. Moreover Bulgaria and Czech Republic have made significant progress in finding ways of making enhanced use of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for the purposes of transport research and innovation.

A lot of activities have been done on the dissemination and outreach of results. Various conferences, workshops and events have been organised, as well as Information and Brokerage events for the ENT Flagship Calls ‘Future Travelling’ and ‘Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains’. The ENT Ambassadors not only played an important role in inspiring and supporting ENT partners, but also in the ENTIII dissemination activities.
Potential Impact:
ENTIII has gathered 50 million euro of transnational funding co-launched initiatives. In addition, ENT has yielded a long list of other general achievements. To mention a few:
- Significant geographical expansion: 24 partners from 19 countries/regions, stretching past the boundaries of the European Union (Norway, Belarus) and even beyond the geographical limits of Europe (Turkey, Israel)
- Pooling scarce resources and corresponding leverage effect boosting pan-European transport research results
- Pooling supplementary/complementary skills and expertise and mutual learning
- Standardised and improved evaluation and monitoring procedures and instruments and improved negotiation and contracting process for research projects (for both virtual and real common funding pot)
- Delivery of supportive tools and database, e.g. ENT-platform

Moreover ENTIII has achieved specific tangible results. Goals for ENTIII were the exploration and launch of 4 small- and medium-sized funding initiatives and two large Flagship Calls. For the first ones, position papers have been drafted regarding six different transport research topics. Eventually only one of them concerning ‘Sustainable logistics and supply chains’ took off and even evolved into a Flagship Call.

Regarding the Flagship Call funding initiatives ENTIII achieved the following successes:
- Future Travelling: launched in 2013, involving 10 million euro, resulting in 8 transnational transport research projects
- Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains: launched in 2015, involving 10 million euro, resulting in 6 transnational transport research projects
- In addition, the following ENT spin-offs have been triggered:
+ ERA-NET Plus Electromobility+: launched in 2011, involving 20 million euro
+ ERA-NET Cofund Infravation: launched in 2014, involving 9.5 million euro
+ ERA-NET Cofund Electric Mobility Europe: to be launched end of 2016, involving 30 million euro

It can be stated that for various reasons Flagship Calls are more popular than small and medium-sized funding initiatives.

After ENTIII there will be no CSA follow up and co-financing of the EC anymore. Nevertheless, the ENT Strategic Group (SG) decided to maintain the ENT collaboration network. The main reasons are:
- The valuable mutual learning through information exchange
- The partners aim for starting up new pooled funding transnational collaborations, preferably large Flagship Calls and if possible in the frame of an ERA-NET Co-fund
- It cost a lot of time and efforts to get the ENT network going. We should therefore capitalize on it and continue using it in future periods, for the benefit of all parties involved

Since in the post-CSA period there will be no more co-financing from the Commission, the ENT network has to become self-sustaining and only essential and vital activities can be maintained.

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