European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI)

The European Railway Clusters Initiative (ERCI) is the rail sector’s largest dedicated b2b networking organisation and is all about bringing customers, suppliers and supply chain opportunities together.

ERCI EU rail clusters logoERCI is the leading meta-cluster of the railway industry in Europe uniting 16 innovation clusters from 17 European countries (Italy, Poland, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Austria, Germany). Together, it connects the ideas and interests of over 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the industry.

ERCI helps their member companies to grow – through improved access to European partners and customers, accelerated technology transfer and joint marketing in- and outside of the EU.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) is an active member of ERCI. We support the following projects within ERCI:


S-ACCESS aims to strategically strengthen European small and medium-sized enterprises for participation in non-European markets through tender procedures. EU’s Executive Agency for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) recognises the difficulties that SME sector faces in accessing foreign markets, and has, as a part of COSME program, started a call for projects that aim to strengthen SME capacities for internationalization through strategic approach. The project will be conducted in two phases, preparatory and implementation phase, during which the analysis of SMEs gathered in partner clusters will be conducted, as well as the markets and tender procedures and public procurement processes on the target markets.


 This unique opportunity will multiply the impact of the demonstration and learning-by-doing activities run by the Technology Centres, as well as of the “Hack & Match” events organised, so that the SMEs within the Strategic Alliances and beyond will actually touch first-hand the technologies applied to their use-cases. The project has the support of 30 key relevant European organisations, among which the EU JU Shift2Rail, several DIHs, several EEN contact points and members of EITs/KICs. The activities developed for the SMEs will include support to the organisational/cultural change based on innovative models, support to a better understanding of investment aspects and return-on-investments (ROI) related to the adoption of Advanced Technologies, training and assistance on funding opportunities for investments along with support for upskilling and reskilling.


PERES stands for “Promoting European Railway Excellence outside of the EU” – the consortium consisting of five European clusters was set to strive for successful promotion of European SMEs of the Railway industry and their products to markets outside of the EU, specifically in the United States and India. PERES is a European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP) that was established in the framework of the COSME Call “Cluster Go International”. Within phase 1 (now completed), the EU Commission supported the creation of a strategy and an implementation plan of the participating clusters for the promotion of European rail technology products beyond the EU. The focus was on the products and services of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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