The number of EU co-funded projects where the UIC participates has constantly increased over the last years. This meant that the UIC has been progressively recognised as an EU professional platform and a reliable representative and contributor in the discussions and negotiations regarding technical / research issues bound to railways as well as transport in general.
Since 2004, the UIC has been involved in 25 EU projects, the last of which ended in December 2012. Currently the UIC is involved in 23 EU funded projects. In these projects, UIC is responsible of organising the participation of its members as well as organising the information flow from ongoing EU projects to UIC experts and collecting their feedback for input to the projects (UIC Innovation Board) and dissemination of project results as a service to members. The UIC is the coordinator of 7 of these projects and is involved in the 16 others as a partner within consortia.
In December 2011, 10 project proposals for EU funding with UIC involvement have been submitted to the European Commission for evaluation.
Through its participation in EU funded research projects, UIC members have been given direct access to 130 million worth of research currently being carried out in the FP7 projects.
The EU projects carried out by the UIC are part of the 7th Framework Program (FP7). It has lasted for seven years from 2007until 2013. The programme has a total budget of over € 50 billion. The FP7 bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment.
The broad objectives of FP7 have been grouped into four categories: Cooperation, Ideas, People and Capacities.
For each type of objective, there is a specific programme corresponding to the main areas of EU research policy. All specific programmes work together to promote and encourage the creation of European poles of (scientific) excellence. In order to complement national research programmes, activities funded from FP7 must have a “European added value”. One key aspect of the European added value is the transnationality of many actions: research projects are carried out by consortia which include participants from different European (and other) countries; fellowships in FP7 require mobility over national borders.