UK: new railway research partnership between universities and industry

A partnership between the rail supply industry and a consortium of eight universities has secured £92 million (EUR 103 million) to fund research aimed at establishing the UK as a world-leading centre of railway excellence.
The partnership – part of the newly-created UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) – has won £28.1 million (31.4 million euros) funding from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It follows a bid successfully led by the University of Birmingham. The funding will be boosted by £64 million (71.6 million euros) with the support of 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.
The UKRPIF funding will be used to create three linked world-class centres of excellence, forming the research heart of UKRRIN, which will focus on: Digital Systems (University of Birmingham); Rolling Stock (University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and Loughborough University); Infrastructure (University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and Heriot-Watt University).
These centres of excellence, together with existing UK Rail Test Centres, are the foundation of UKRRIN, bringing together the UK rail supply industry and academia to undertake world-leading research and innovation in rail. The UKRRIN will support delivery of the ambitious Rail Technical Strategy and is aligned with the aims of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
The initiative is being supported by a range of clients and stakeholders including Network Rail, HS2 Ltd, Transport for London, Rail North and the Department for Transport. IBM, Unipart Rail, SMRT, British Steel, RSSB, Thales, Hitachi, AECOM, Aggregate Industries, Atkins, Pandrol and Progress Rail are also among the 17 industrial partners supporting the partnership over a 10-year period.


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