Information published on 25 April 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 545.

The UIC Rail Research Portal

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Part of UIC’s Mission is to “Develop and facilitate all forms of international cooperation among Members, facilitate the sharing of best practices (benchmarking)”.

Dissemination and knowledge exchange
Based on this idea of sharing best practices and information, the UIC’s IRRB – International Rail Research Board – has defined “Dissemination and Knowledge Exchange” as one of its five working areas. The aim is to promote the use of the UIC Research Portal set up by the IRRB and to stimulate and facilitate its members to cross-member knowledge exchange and dissemination of their research and innovation results based publications.

It is good practice when setting up a research project to first make sure that one is aware of the present state of the art, to try and gather all available knowledge from previous research projects and studies and to search for information about project running in this specific area. This will avoid overlap and saves money and helps to focus the research in areas where there still is information lacking.

However, this was always easier said than done. The UIC Rail Research Portal was designed to do just this: avoid overlap of research and save money by providing information gathered from the UIC members as well as from research institutes, academia, researchers and other stakeholders from all over the world.

SPARK – RSSB’s interactive webtool for the rail industry sector to share knowledge, reduce duplication and speed up innovation

SPARK is a free, interactive web tool for the rail industry to share and find key information and help drive innovation. SPARK users create a community of professionals working together to reduce duplication, speed up innovation and maximise value.

At the heart of SPARK is a library where users have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and find something new. This helps the rail industry and its research community in particular to understand what we know and who knows it, and creates opportunities for networking and cooperation. SPARK helps the user to understand what is known and who knows it and creates opportunities for networking and cooperation. SPARK also incorporates the RSSB Human Factors library.

It is easy to navigate and to browse by topic, such as infrastructure, human factors, operations, rolling stock, technical system integration, weather and climate change etc., all directly rail related. Each topic contains thousands of documents, the topic ‘infrastructure even well over 12,000!

Every topic then has many detailed subtopics. For instance, under ‘rolling stock we find sub topics such as: train design components, testing, traction and train-born energy sources, barking systems, condition monitoring and inspection, train control and on board diagnosis and many more. Besides this one can also check for a specific content type such as publication, research project, etc., or check for publication year, type of organisation where the information originated or check by country of origin. One can also search all papers presented at the various WCRRs – World Conference on Rail Research. For more than 22.000 rail research & innovation related documents please check out and register at SPARK through the link at the UIC Research Portal

ACRI Austral-Asian Railway Knowledge Bank – the online resource of rail knowledge

Part of the Austral-Asian Centre for Rail Innovation is to provide innovative solutions to improve productivity and support the competitive position of the Australian and New Zealand rail industry. Using and contributing to this data base will also be equally beneficial to the railway industry and stakeholders from other regions. ACRI work closely together with the RSSB and exchanges information with SPARK. It is a member of the UIC and recently has signed an MOU for cooperation in the area of knowledge exchange and dissemination. ACRIs General Director Mrs. Vicki Brown is vice-chairperson of the UIC’s IRRB and is leading the above mentioned working area “Dissemination and Knowledge Exchange”.

The Railway Knowledge Bank can also be reached through the UIC Research Portal and is also easy to use. One can browse by conference – to view the scientific documents or by subject, such as environment, freight services, ITS, operations, management, passenger services, safety, security, rolling stock, infrastructure and history. Through the Knowledge Bank one can also access the Indian Railways Knowledge Portal!

Another initiative of the UIC’s IRRB is the set up a database of the world´s major research institutions providing information about their professional focus and about their most important results in the field of railway research. Part of the WORC database contains information about professionally oriented capacities of the institutions - focused both on individuals or whole teams - and their laboratories and test and research centers with the description of the technical facilities, performed tests and certifications.

The database provides not only an overview of the world’s top research institutions, but also other information from the field of railway research with links to the world’s major sources of information. At the same time the WORC is a marketing tool for the implementation of services capacity and research institutions in the market of railway research and testing.

In order to access the WORC database, it is necessary to request a password which can be done directly from the WORC homepage. Registration is free of charge and once registered one can access the database of information or add information about one’s own rail research institute, test facility or railway specialised academia.
WORC is a relatively new tool and still under development but already operational. It can also be accessed through the UIC Rail Research portal

The famous British photographer David Bailey once said: “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading”. As far as the innovation of the rail system is concerned, we could perhaps translate this wise saying into something like “Knowledge is power as is learning from each other and sharing information”. Through the UIC Research Portal we can find the knowledge we need within SPARK, the Rail Knowledge bank, WORC and other facilities. On the other hand the UIC strongly stimulates and facilitates the sharing of knowledge. We gladly receive any information, documents, articles or summaries of your innovative work which we will facilitate to introduce into the above mentioned research & innovation data bases. An easy template for this is also available upon request.

For further information about the UIC – International Rail Research Board – IRRB and the UIC Research Portal, SPARK, the ACRI Railway Knowledge Bank and WORC, please contact Dennis Schut: