REFRESCO kicks off in Brussels
Thursday September 12th saw the kick-off event of the REFRESCO project. The vast majority of the eighteen partners were represented at the kick-off event which took place at the Thon Hotel Bristol Stephanie in Brussels.
The event was opened by Mr Massimo Marianeschi, General Manager of the co-ordinator, UNIFE, who expressed UNIFE’s recognition of the great efforts made by the partners in the preparation of the project. He told the consortium that he was looking forward to learning of the outputs of the project over the coming thirty months. Mr Marianeschi thanked the European Commission, represented by Mr Michal Klima of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, for its collaboration in bringing the project to this point. Mr Klima spoke to the partners about the Commission’s expectations upon the project. These include preparing the ground for the implementation of lightweight rolling stock, which will lead towards a reduction in the energy consumption of rail transport in Europe. This should be a result, Mr Klima told the event, of the proposals that will come from the project for the evolution of the standardisation and regulatory framework for the use of new structural materials for railway rolling stock.
Both Mr Marianeschi and Mr Klima spoke about the importance of the project in light of its links with Shift2Rail, a proposal for an ambitious large-scale, industrially-driven and multi-annual research programme that aims to help EU rail industry to retain its world leadership. This is currently in the final preparation stage, with a final proposal to be submitted to the European Commission during the final months of 2013. Shift2Rail will be a public-private Joint Undertaking under Horizon 2020, with an estimated budget of between 800 million and 1 billion Euros over a six to seven year period.
The REFRESCO project has a budget of approximately €4.6m and runs until the end of February 2016.