£92m centres of excellence 'could transform UK rail industry'

 

Global technology company Siemens has teamed up with universities and rail industry businesses to establish three linked world class centres of railway excellence.

The firm said the new centres will bring together the UK rail supply industry and academia to undertake world-leading research and innovation in rail, ‘supporting the UK’s ambition to be a leading player in the global rail market’.

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Artist's impression of UKRRIN infrastrcture innovation centre

The partnership between the rail industry and British universities - part of the newly-created UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) - has been awarded £28.1 million of funding by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), following a successful bid led by the University of Birmingham.

Paul Copeland, Siemens’ managing director of rail automation, said: 'By bringing academia and industry expertise together, the creation of these centres of excellence holds transformative potential for railway services in the UK.

‘Cross-industry collaboration is already driving innovation in UK rail but with the recent establishment of UKRRIN supported by this funding, the possibilities are even greater.’

Siemens and 16 other rail industry businesses will contribute a further £64m towards the total £92.1m cost.

The company said it worked closely alongside the eight universities when developing the bid submission for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which manages the RPIF.

Its funding will be in the form of PHD studentships, training and continuous professional development and membership fees. Siemens’ cash will also go towards access to facilities, equipment and staff time to support collaborative project activity.

Areas of research in the UKRRIN that will be focused on at the centres of excellence will be:

  • Digital Systems, located at the University of Birmingham
  • Rolling Stock, led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and Loughborough University
  • Infrastructure, led by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and Heriot Watt University
 

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