At the same time as the way we live and travel is changing, our mobility system, particulary the automotive sector, must adapt to global realities such as digitalisation and overcome multiple challenges such as climate change and transport safety for its citizens. In road transport alone, 25,500 people lost their lives in accidents last year and 135,000 people were seriously injured. Transport remains heavily dependent on oil, which means that, on current trends, CO2 emissions from transport would only decrease by 11.4% between 2005 and 2050, making transport the largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the EU after 2030.
Intensified research and innovation activities in all modes of transport and in line with society’s needs and preferences are therefore necessary for the EU to achieve its policy targets for net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This in turn will lead to significant safety, economic and societal benefits by reducing accidents caused by human error, reducing traffic congestion, reducing energy consumption and increasing the efficiency and productivity of freight transport operations.
In this sense, transport transformation is a key focus of the current EU R&D&I funding framework programme, Horizon Europe. In particular, Cluster 5 – Climate, Energy and Mobility aims to combat climate change by better understanding its causes, evolution, risks, impacts and opportunities, and by making the energy and transport sectors more climate and environmentally friendly, more efficient and competitive, smarter, safer and more resilient.
The Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2021-2024 identified two expected impacts in the mobility framework:
To achieve the first impact, within the work programme for 2021-2022, Cluster 5 will allocate €94M in 2021 and €103M in 2022 to address activities that improve the climate and environmental footprint, as well as the competitiveness, of different transport modes. To achieve the second impact, €74M in 2021 and €88M in 2022 (01/22) will fund activities addressing safe and smart mobility services for passengers and freight. The publication of the work programme for 2021-2022 was made effective on 16 June and the opening of the first calls is scheduled for 24 June, with the cut-off dates for the mobility calls being between September and October 2021.
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Senior International R&D Grants Consultant