Cross-sectoral collaboration

Cross-sectoral collaboration was already in the very first Industrial workshop identified as one of the most promising and important topics for future policy options. In this Industry workshop the research area was identified, discussed and the clear necessity and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration for the European transport manufacturing industry was expressed by industry experts.1 In the second Industry workshop at the Through-Life-Engineering Service Conference this topic was further elaborated and barriers and opportunities of cross-sectoral collaboration were identified. In a concluding session, it was elaborated how policy framework, funding instruments and political initiatives foster cross-sectoral collaboration and which specific key aspects they should target on.2 The topic was also reflected in the expert survey with several specific questions3 and is reported in detail in D4.2 “Report on future perspectives regarding framework conditions for the European transport manufacturing industry.”

During the course of the project, several barriers and opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration were identified.



For automation technologies spanning from Driver Assistance Systems to the fully autonomous vehicle, are an essential research topic in all sectors. Irrespective of the branch, companies invest large amounts to achieve global technological leadership and try to make use of the opportunity to influence upcoming standards.


Digital transformation is one of the top priorities identified. Digital technology accelerates and enables new business models, creates new value through servitisation (adding a service to a product or replacing it), and rapidly increases innovation speed. Future challenges are e.g. proper data management, constant connectivity including communication channels and establishing a sufficient level of cyber-security.

Material research

Synergies in material research should be further intensified. There is a huge potential to optimize the development of materials as well as the production processes themselves.

Knowledge transfer

Efficient and effective knowledge-sharing between different industry sectors is still not sufficiently institutionalized yet and many companies (especially SMEs) are more or less silo-oriented. Potential for knowledge transfer considers topics like best practices, methodologies, applications, processes and technologies.

Circular economy

The environmentally sustainable approach to effectively and holistically consider all utilized resources for the whole lifecycle including the design phase via manufacturing, usage, repair and recycling is getting more and more in the focus of attention. This is mainly due to environmental aspects and sustainable approaches all around the globe.


Innovation cycles

The considered industry segments follow diverging time lines for the qualification and implementation of new manufacturing technologies. This issue becomes a little weaker with Service Innovations in the ICT area, but still holds true for general technology developments.

Regulatory structure

Different regulations massively impede collaborative structures between companies and academia working in different industry sectors. This is due to their high complexity, gaps between Technology Readiness Levels or sector-specific industry standards.

Value chain structure and business models

Although various papers and approaches proclaim Multimodality or Mobility-on-Demand as essential aspects for the future, most of the work procedures and established value chains are still more or less silo-oriented.

Work culture & ethics

Different working environments, skill requirements and labour conditions become manifest in a fundamental diverging working culture, language and atmosphere which hinders an efficient collaboration across industry sectors.

The main conclusions derived from these assessments are:

  • Cross-sectoral collaboration is getting more and more important for all industry sectors. Not only because of the user-driven concepts of Mobility-on-Demand and Multimodality but also to leverage synergies between the different transport modes regarding aspects like best-practice sharing and structured or institutionalised technology transfer between industry sectors (e.g. for key technology trends like automation or cyber-security).
  • Barriers for cross-sectoral collaboration should be further lowered & technology transfer across different industry sectors fostered. This could also be implemented by joint workshops of funded projects of the European Commission.
  • As already stated, the creation of a cross-modal European Technology Platform to foster European Research, Development and Implementation would be beneficial to increase the future competitiveness of the industry and fundamental to achieve cross-sectoral collaboration.

Concluding the above, there is a strong necessity to work across sectors in the future. To achieve this, suitable funding and policy instruments need to be established, such as the creation of a cross-modal European Technology Platform to foster European R&D&I. It is seen as desirable for increasing the future competitiveness in the industry and for achieving cross-sectoral collaboration, strategic partnerships are the preferred industrial collaboration model.