Europe needs to redefine its transport system for the 21st century. Performance and cost-efficiency of the system need to be improved to meet future challenges. This means there is an urgent need for effective innovation for all components of the system; including vehicles, infrastructure, logistics etc. Transport ministries across Europe are facing ever tougher challenges to cope with the need to accommodate increased traffic growth, minimise congestion, maintain services in face of increasing climate change effects, as well as deliver on environmental and societal objectives.
Now is the time when innovation for road infrastructure is an absolute imperative to reduce costs without compromising on quality. To deliver this objective on a transnational basis, the ERA-NET Plus action on infrastructure innovation - Infravation - has been initiated, enabling national bodies to take on tasks collectively that otherwise could not be taken forward. This scheme will allow for uniting the efforts of member states, EC and industry.
The 'Infravation call' has been launched in January 2014 and will be supported throughout the FP7 2013 Work Programme.
Infravation comprises 11 European countries, one region and the EC. For the first time, the USA will contribute funding to an ERA-NET Plus. The total pot available for R&D funding amounts to 9,025 M Euro.
The topics addressed reflect the needs of researchers/industry, road infrastructure owners and operators and EC for joint research on road infrastructure. Infravation will pave the way to a new quality of transnational research funding cooperation by applying a real common pot that merges national and EC top-up funding into one funding pot. This approach allows for a coordinated, common governance structure for funded R&D projects, enabling the best expertise to be used regardless of nationality, thereby minimising programme management and allowing maximum use of resources for transnational research cooperation.