The first physical working group meeting of the STARS (“Strategic Alliances boosting Railway Smes”) project, which had an online kick-off meeting on October 13-14 and funded under the COSME program, was held on November 9-10 in Turin, Italy, hosted by the LINKS Foundation.
10 railway clusters from Europe (ARUS – Turkey, DITECFER – Italy, Berlin Partner – Germany, Rail.S – Germany, Move by Railgrup – Spain, MAFEX – Spain, i-Trans – France, Wallonia – Belgium, Rail Alliance –) United Kingdom, RCSEE – Serbia), 1 Digital Innovation Center (BNN – Austria), 5 Technology Centers (LINKS Foundation – Italy; Technopark Istanbul – Turkey, Fraunhofer – Germany, CETIC – Belgium, Railenium – France) and allocated to the European rail supply chain A blockchain network developer (Apuana SB – Italy) to be participated.
The working meeting started with the presentation prepared by the Rail Alliance cluster, and then the difficulties and experiences of SMEs in the innovation adaptation were shared with the contributions of the participants. In the afternoon session, a survey was prepared for SMEs in order to determine the roadmap of the project.
The second day of the meeting started with the presentation of the Technological innovation analysis prepared by the French research center Railenium and the exchange of ideas with the stakeholders.
In the afternoon session, the host Italian LINKS Foundation listed its recommendations regarding the establishment and management of the Advisory Board. For ARUS Advisory Board, it was recommended that Ostim Teknopark, Odtü Teknopark and Tübitak RUTE institutions represent Turkey. Finally, he introduced the blockchain technology to be established by Apuana company for SMEs within the scope of the project. In the project, studies will be carried out for ARUS members to benefit from this technology.
In this pilot project, an innovative methodology will be developed and tested to increase the uptake of Advanced Technologies (AI, Blockchain, Photonics, IoT, Advanced Materials, etc.) by Railway Supply Industry SMEs. The project also has the support of 2 European institutions such as JU Shift30Rail, research centers specializing in railways and mobility, various EIT-European Innovation Societies, several Digital Innovation Centers and the EEN-Enterprise Europe Network.
With a budget of over 3 million Euros, the project will run from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2023, and will help strengthen the capacity of regions to support their members through actions on a regional-national scale, as well as the 2.000-plus projects represented by the members of the ERCI-European Railway Clusters Initiative. It will contribute to support services for European SMEs.
During the two-day meetings, ARUS presented the problems and solutions on behalf of the Turkish railway industry. Thus, the ARUS Cluster started the second COSME project with the STARS project after the EXXTRA Project.