Funding News

Being actively involved in both an ongoing Shift2Rail project (Mat4Rail) and an ongoing FCH 2 project (SOSLeM) as well as a completed FCH project (ADEL) we are happy to inform you on what the recently published FCH 2 JU and S2R JU Calls for Proposals 2018 will entail. The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH 2 JU) and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) are only two of the eight Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI) we detailed in a previous blogpost. A quick recap: A JTI is a Public-Private Partnership within Horizon 2020. As such, they offer great opportunities for European companies to accelerate their product development and for research organisations to transfer knowledge to the industry. The Shift2Rail initiative aims to achieve a Single European Railway Area (SERA), support the shift of transport from roads to rails and to sustain the leadership of the European rail industry in the global market. The FCH JU aims to accelerate the market introduction of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe.

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking – Equal number of topics, reduced budget

The overall annual budget in 2018 has seen its biggest decrease since its launch in 2014. Whereas 2016 and 2017 saw a similar budget spread across 18 topics, 2018 sees a 63% smaller budget compared to the previous Call for Proposals.

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Budget €93,000,000 €123,000,000 €117,500,000 €116,000,000 €73,200,000
Compared to previous year   +32% -4% -1% -37%

Despite the EU’s declared intention to launch more two-stage calls, the FCH 2 JU Call for Proposals remains exclusively single-staged. The distribution of the topics has also changed slightly. Previous years have always seen two Coordination and Support Actions (CSA), this year there is only one such topic. Next to the single CSA topic, there are twelve Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) and five Innovation Actions (IA).

The FCH 2 JU Calls are spread out across five techno-economic objectives:

  • Reduce the production cost of fuel cell systems to be used in transport applications, while increasing their lifetime to levels competitive with conventional technologies (FCH-01-1-2018, FCH-01-2-2018, FCH-01-3-2018, FCH-01-4-2018, FCH-01-5-2018, FCH-01-6-2018 and FCH-01-7-2018)
  • Increase the electrical efficiency and the durability of the different fuel cells used for CHP and power only production, while reducing costs, to levels competitive with conventional technologies (FCH-02-3-2018, FCH-02-6-2018, FCH-02-7-2018, FCH-02-8-2018 and FCH-04-3-2018)
  • Increase the energy efficiency of production of hydrogen mainly from water electrolysis and renewable sources while reducing operating and capital costs, so that the combined system of the hydrogen production and the conversion using the fuel cell system is competitive with the alternatives available in the marketplace (FCH-02-4-2018 and FCH-02-6-2018)
  • Demonstrate on a large scale the feasibility of using hydrogen to support integration of renewable energy sources into the energy systems, including through its use as a competitive energy storage medium for electricity produced from renewable energy sources (FCH-02-1-2018, FCH-02-2-2018, FCH-02-5-2018 and FCH-04-2-2018)
  • Reduce the use of the EU defined "Critical raw materials", for example via low platinum resources, and through recycling or reducing or avoiding the use of rare earth elements (FCH-01-5-2018, FCH-01-6-2018 and FCH-01-7-2018)

One topic addresses objectives related to both transport and energy pillars (FCH-03-1-2018) and two topics focus on crosscutting issues, related to all techno-economic objectives (FCH-04-1-2018 and FCH-04-4-2018).

Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking – Increases all around

In contrast to the FCH 2 JU Call for Proposals, the Shift2Rail JU (S2R) has seen a constant increase in its annual budget since its launch in 2015. This year’s budget of €78.73M dwarfs the previous years’ of €59.1M. The number of topics has also increased: Two more have been added to make a total of 18 call topics, each with a fixed budget (the exact amount can be found here). One thing the FCH and S2R Calls for Proposals have in common is the absence of two-stage call topics.

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018
Budget €44,600,000 €45,200,000 €59,100,000 €78,730,000
Compared to previous year   +1% +31% +33%

The S2R topics are grouped into five Innovation Programmes (IP):

  • IP1: Cost-efficient and reliable trains (S2R-CFM-IP1-01-2018, S2R-CFM-IP1-02-2018 and S2R-OC-IP1-01-2018)
  • IP2: Advanced traffic management and control systems (S2R-CFM-IP2-01-2018, S2R-OC-IP2-03-2018, S2R-OC-IP2-02-2018 and S2R-OC-IP2-01-2018)
  • IP3: Cost Efficient and Reliable High Capacity Infrastructure (S2R-CFM-IP3-01-2018 and S2R-OC-IP3-01-2018
  • IP4: IT Solutions for attractive railway services (S2R-CFM-IP4-01-2018, S2R-OC-IP4-01-2018 and S2R-OC-IP4-02-2018
  • IP5: Technologies for sustainable and attractive European rail freight (S2R-CFM-IP5-01-2018 and S2R-OC-IP5-01-2018)

As with the FCH2 JU there are topics with cross-cutting themes and activities (S2R-OC-IPX-02-2018, S2R-OC-IPX-01-2018 and S2R-OC-IPX-03-2018).

accelopment and Joint Undertakings

Mat4Rail is one of 17 research projects that was positively evaluated under the 2017 Call for Proposals. The proposal managed to secure funding despite a steep increase in submissions (53 proposals for all 10 “Open Call” topics). Mat4Rail aims at reducing train weight by replacing metal parts with Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) and increasing passenger capacity and comfort via built-in interior design modules. Accelopment supported both proposal writing and grant preparation process as part of proposal preparations and will further support Mat4Rail during the project as a partner for project management and project dissemination.

Do you have a project suited for FCH 2 or Shift2Rail, then do not hesitate to contact us. Find out more on our proposal preparation services here.