University of Birmingham opens new rail research centre
The Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems is set to unite existing academic and industry capabilities to innovate and support transformational change within the rail technology sector, globally.
A new purpose-built centre designed to deliver specialist research in digital railway engineering has been opened at the University of Birmingham.
The Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems showcases successful collaboration between academia and industry, as the university has partnered with the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) to commission the facility, with £16.4 million in funding from Research England.
The centre sits within the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) and is set to unite existing academic and industry capabilities to innovate and support transformational change within the rail technology sector, globally.
Procured through the Constructing West Midlands framework, the 3,000m2 facility offers a variety of contemporary and flexible design and research spaces that act as an incubator for innovation, strengthening teaching and building research partnerships. Open offices, meeting rooms, seminar rooms and event spaces will enable industry partners to come and work directly with University experts and researchers.
The facility also has project labs, light labs and state-of-the-art equipment – including cab simulators, a signalling control centre and a cyber-security test lab, along with electronic fabrication and technology assets to enable high quality, fast-paced research, through to proof-of-concept and testing.
The centre will house specialist research in digital railway engineering, focusing on railway control and simulation, data integration, cyber-security, condition monitoring and sensing and improved methods for technology introduction.
“The completion of this exceptional facility is a major step forward in our longstanding partnership with UKRRIN,” commented Professor Clive Roberts, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. “We are looking forward to using the facility to deliver outstanding collaborative research with long-term, real-world impact.”
The development aims to improve student experience, allowing engineering undergraduate and postgraduate students to get involved in cutting-edge research and ensuring students graduate with a strong connection to the industry.
This project completion follows the announcement of the University of Birmingham’s involvement in a collaborative consortium being led by Transport for West Midlands to transform the University Station within the city.