The main aim of the project NEAR2 will be to build a rail research network along the Trans-Eurasian land bridge and to establish an efficient cooperation among the rail research centers in order to promote railway transport research and development. The NEAR2 Research Network will exploit the complementary strengths of the collaborating institutions and experts to build coordinated integrated research capacity to support the railway industry at a strategic, tactical and operational level. NEAR2 will establish a unique, international (with a special focus in the Trans-Eurasian land bridge region), interdisciplinary research capacity with the goal of contributing in advancing a major sector of the regional economy, as well as broadening the knowledge basis of the railway research sector. To achieve this, the relevant stakeholders will be identified and engaged in cooperation so as to contribute in the investigation of key issues to be addressed.
The project will capitalize the existing rail research network of EURNEX, which has successfully turned from an EC funded project (2004-2008) into a self-standing legal entity by 2007. It comprises 48 scientific institutes in the area of transport and mobility all over Europe. EURNEX is the first and only research cluster of excellence to underpin the European
Research Area in the rail sector in EU27 and Russia, while it has also proved its capability to enlarge, with the participation of non-EC country partners.
Apart from the establishment of the Rail Research Network, the project partners will also proceed in the formulation of 10 Concept Documents in line with the 10 Poles of Excellence of EURNEX. These Documents will include a current situation analysis in the existing corridors connecting EU to Asia, with specific emphasis on technology needs and knowledge gaps, transport policy collaboration, systematic understanding of market needs and interoperability issues. The Documents will hence be validated by representatives of both the research community and the industry.
The structure of the WPs foreseen in the Project’s methodology will be as follows:
WP1: Consortium Management
WP2: Building a Rail Research Network along the Trans Eurasian Land Bridge
WP3: Investigation of the current situation of research gaps, needs and priorities
WP4: Validation of the Concept Documents