ERA-NET Plus Infravation 2014 Call

Transport ministries across Europe (and globally) are facing ever tougher challenges to cope with the need to accommodate increased traffic growth, minimise congestion and maintain services in the face of increasing climate change effects, as well as deliver on environmental and societal objectives. In the current economic climate, this is the time when innovation for road infrastructure is an absolute imperative, to reduce costs without compromising on quality.

Many innovative technologies are under development in laboratories around the world. Sometimes claims are made about how these technologies can bring about enormous benefits. In other cases, the possible consequences for road construction and maintenance have not been assessed. Admittedly, it is difficult to fully assess the possible impacts of really innovative techniques. Infravation supports developments and encourages the examination of all emerging technologies on the road to implementation.

In order to deliver the full benefits of research and development activities carried out in the transport infrastructure sectors, Infravation brings together funding from the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, USA and the EU into one common transnational Call framework, in order to fund joint research projects.

The ERA-NET Plus Infravation 2014 Call has been initiated as a pooled research fund to develop transport infrastructure innovations which address the challenges identified in the European Commission’s White Paper on Transport: Smart, Green and Integrated transport. Its objective is to enable a high quality infrastructure offering high service levels to the user/economy/society through solutions for both new and existing infrastructure. For this Call, the available budget for co-financing is 9 million euros.

To help identify the key topics and further inform the development of the call for tenders and subsequent evaluation and negotiations, an Infravation scoping study was completed by the end of 2013. This study, coordinated by FEHRL, involved international experts to determine the priority areas in advanced materials and systems and resulted in an Infravation Scope document published in February 2014. The project team was chaired by Finn Thogersen of DRD with Dr. Johan Jonsson of the Swedish Transport Administration (TRAFIKVERKET) as Secretary.

The ERA-NET Plus Infravation 2014 Call is aimed at cost-effective advanced systems, materials and techniques in road infrastructure construction and maintenance, including repair, retrofitting and revamping. The solutions called for include materials technology, methods and processes, and supporting systems, such as for monitoring, communication and energy.

The Call falls under the scope of SST.2013.1-3. ERA-NET Plus “Advanced systems, materials and techniques for next generation infrastructure“. The European Commission and Infravation will liaise closely to avoid funding duplicate research (in Horizon 2020 and FP7) and make sure research projects will be complementary.

The word “infrastructure” is used as an umbrella for the different constituting parts (i.e. pavements, bridges, tunnels). The Infravation scope is divided into the following seven challenges – each holding a clear focus:

A. Advanced predictive infrastructure performance processes
B. Enhanced durability and life-time extension
C. Rapid and non-destructive methods for routine quality and performance checks of materials and construction
D. Keeping freight routes open through zero-intrusive maintenance
E. Ensuring infrastructure performance under all weather conditions
F. Resource and energy efficiency in road construction and maintenance (eco-design)
G. Virgin material reduction by substitution or recycling