Rail industry and universities partner to deliver £92 million Centres of Excellence

Posted: 21 February 2018 | | No comments yet

Four Centres of Excellence will include high quality facilities, research, application and technology testing, helping the development of the rail sector…

Rail industry and universities partner to deliver £92 million Centres of Excellence

The UK rail sector has launched the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN)- a partnership between the rail industry and eight universities to deliver four Centres of Excellence covering rolling stock, infrastructure, digital systems and testing.

UKRRIN gives the rail sector access to purpose-built facilities and skills in a range of areas to support research, development and innovation for new technologies and products.

The four Centres of Excellence are supported by industrial partners to deliver a wide range of research for both the UK and global markets. These Centres will enable faster delivery of new products and technology to the market, using advanced development, simulation and testing facilities. They will also help the UK maintain its global position as a technology leader in rail.

Jo Johnson, Rail Minister, said: “We are investing in delivering what passengers want – more frequent trains and quicker, more comfortable journeys. In doing so, we are utilising a range of new technologies across the network and Britain is now at the cutting edge of digital signalling, high-speed transport and railway infrastructure.  

“New centres of excellence, bringing together experts, universities and the wider rail industry will be essential in achieving our ambition to get all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040 as well as delivering the advanced railway network that passengers deserve.”

The key objectives of UKRRIN are:

  • Support and build UK rail sector capacity and capability to develop, deliver and deploy new technologies
  • Deliver a step change investment in rail innovation through a world-leading network of UK- based research and testing centres
  • Radically increase UK rail productivity and performance by delivering transformational innovations and accelerating its uptake
  • Develop new strategic relationships with the small – medium sized enterprise supply chain, rail industry and wider transport sector.

UKRRIN was established because of a successful £28 million bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to create four rail Centres of Excellence, backed by commitment from the rail industry to invest more than £60 million in research, development and innovation activities at these Centres for the next 10 years. 

Jo Binstead, Head of Innovation at Siemens Rail Systems and Chair of the UKRRIN Steering Group, stated: “The launch of UKRRIN marks a ground-breaking partnership for innovation in UK rail and a step change in industrial research investment. By bringing together leading UK universities and industry, we can ensure that developments being made through academic research can be commercialised to deliver transformative changes across our railway network.”

UKRRIN is being launched at an event in the Houses of Parliament where representatives from the industry partners and universities will meet Members of Parliament and officials from several Government departments to brief them on their plans for developing UKRRIN and projects currently under way or in development for forthcoming innovative railway products and services.