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"RECORD - Regions in Europe Coordinate and Optimize innovation and competitiveness policy instruments towaRDs improving the sustainability of transport - study case of SMEs in the railway sector": is funded under ERDF within the "INTERREG EUROPE" programme.


Europe has always been a step ahead regarding sustainable transport mode in comparison with the rest of the world and Europe has developed valuable expertise and innovation in the railway sector. That is why, railway is identified in many RIS3. However due to a fierce competition in particular from emerging industries, the whole sector and especially SME are facing big challenges regarding their competitiveness (pricebased vs. innovationbased competitiveness). To tackle this challenge, regions with the help of the EC, put efforts to encourage R&I joint activities (triple helix concept) by offering innovation delivery support in the ERDF OP (direct fundings, cluster policy...). Other initiatives have been launched towards the railway sector but it has been pointed out that SME have specific issues due to the way public transport works, the specificities of its value chain and its market structure (few big companies with thousands of SMEs, few profit margin, low innovation culture, etc.). Taking this into consideration, the RECORD project aims at helping SME to invest more and better in innovation activities by redesigning the regional policy instruments. To do so, we plan individual work to be compared with partnering regions and analyzed. Benchmark and brainstorming sessions with local stakeholders will help draw provenoriented conclusions and develop new approaches together. To have comparability and to be able to share experiences and learn from each other, it is key to admit regional policy structure, industrial environment and clusters differences. Stakeholders engagement in this project is very important as it will be the first time managing authorities, clusters, businesses, universities, other funding organizations, regions etc. are working together early in the political process in the railway sector. This lends credibility and builds solid foundation to develop a framework that will be accepted for implementation.

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The RECORD Partners met in Lille (France) on September 11-12th for the 1st Project consortium meeting and for the Kick-Off Meeting, held at the Région Nords-de France as event on regional policies on sustainable railway transport focused on SMEs in this sector. Also some stakeholders attended.


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RECORD 1st Focus Group in Tuscany

On November 21st DITECFER organised at his Office in Pistoia the 1st RECORD Stakeholders' Meeting for Tuscany.


Scope of the meeting was to present the RECORD project and its scope and to discuss, in “focus group work”, one of the 2 actions of Tuscany ERDF ROP (“POR CreO”) on which DITECFER is working within the RECORD project: the “RA1.1.5 - Support to pilot actions, early validation of products and large-scale demonstration (sub-part of “Specific Objective RA 1.1 - Enhancing innovation activities in enterprises”), whose beneficiaries are SMEs and including also, as possible partners, Large companies and Research bodies.

The focus group was composed by stakeholders very much experienced in the Tuscany ERDF ROP calls for Research and Innovation projects, and for this were requested to finally identify:
- 3 things that, in such calls, perform very well and should be confirmed
- 3 things that, in such calls, do not perform according their experience and point of view
- 3 things that should be introduced to better perform such calls in order to improve their impact both as “outputs” and “outcomes”.

The Stakeholders’ Meeting was participated by Hitachi Rail Italy (LC), Thales Italia (LC), CReAI-Centro Ricerche e Attività Industriali (SME), Campanella Costruzioni Meccaniche (SME), Fondazione per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione (RB), University of Firenze (RB), CNR-National Research Council of Italy (RB), University of Pisa (RB).

LC = Large Company
RB = Research Body
SME = Small Medium Enterprise



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RECORD 1st Study Visit in Zaragoza (Spain)
RECORD partners met in ITAINNOVA / Technological Institute of Aragon (Zaragoza, Spain) on Nov 26th and 27th for the Steering Committee of the project and the 1st Study Visit of the project.

During the Study Visit partners and Spanish stakeholders (some regional companies in the railway sector, regional experts in transport and logistics) debated on regional innovation policies for a sustainable trasnport and first good/bad practices were identified.
This sharing activity was possible following the 1St Stakeholders' meetings all Partners previously organised in each territory, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, regarding each regional policy.

The Study Visit included the visit to ITAINNOVA Laboratories (the new IoT/Blockchain Lab, the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence Lab, the Anechoic Chamber) and to the Maritime Terminal of Zaragoza.


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RECORD partners met in Lille (France) on March 26th and 27th for the Steering Committee and the 2nd Study Visit of the project.

During the Study Visit partners were introduced to the activities the Hatus-de-France Region has promoted also through ERDF to support innovation in the rail supply chain having in the territory its French hub, with 3 global players and 200 companies located in the area.

The Technical Visits were made at "SEG", a former-SME now entered in a large group, having benefited from ERDF funds for innovation, and at "Transallay", the Rail & Automotive Pole where all activities supporting innovation in the companies of the two sectors are concentrated: incubation, acceleration, R&D labs, tests in real environment, etc..


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RECORD 3rd Study Visit in Tuscany
RECORD Partners met in Firenze and Pistoia from June 17th to 19th for the 3rd project Study Visit.
The RECORD Delegation was composed by several transnational SMEs as the Partners had decided to organise a working session and B2B among their companies to discuss about innovation topics and instruments.

On Day-1 the RECORD Delegation was presented the Tuscany Region ERDF “POR CreO” policies and instruments, as well as case studies of ERDF funding in support of the Rail supply chain, with specific attention to the opportunities for SMEs, both direct and indirect. These include the establishment of a Regional Cluster for Rail Technologies (“DITECFER”), open calls for collaborative R&D projects, a catalogue of specialised services in the field of R&D and Innovation for which SMEs can receive a 50% co-funding, the creation/co-funding of laboratories specialized in the railway field (e.g. “MDM-Lab” of University of Firenze).

4 the Technical Visits organized at sites and companies the ERDF “POR CreO” has co-funded, thus supporting the sustainability of transport, that is the goal of the RECORD project: at the Operations Control Center and Maintenance Depot of Firenze Tramways operated by “GEST S.p.A.”; at the “Demo rooms” for Tramways and Dubai Metro at “Thales Italia S.p.A.”, that – as Large company - is co-developing with local SMEs new solutions for safety and security of tramways; at the “Italcertifer S.p.A.” Rolling Stock Laboratories – with the largest anechoic chamber in Europe for electrical tests of trains -, where, together with the certification and homologation tests of railway systems, also are performed R&D activities by four universities; at a dynamic and innovative SME, “Elfi S.r.l.”, that develops and manufactures advanced electronics solutions both for rolling stock and infrastructure.

The city of Pistoia hosted the successful networking event among the participating partners and their stakeholders, their brainstorming on how to support R&D and innovation and on what key-topics in view of possible trans-regional collaborations, and individual B2B to further discuss such opportunities.

The Study Visit has involved 42 people from 5 different countries – Italy, France, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden – and the Pistoia meeting has created direct interactions among 19 companies, of which 13 SMEs operating both in the segments of vehicles and the safety of infrastructures.



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