On the occasion of InnoTrans– the International Trade Fair for Transport Technology held in Berlin – the IRRB decided to organise its plenary meeting. Chaired by Mr Boris Lapidus from RZD VNIIZhT and moderated by Mr Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department, members from South Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey and France met to discuss the progress of the implementation of the 2014 – 2016 Strategic Document.
The first topic on the agenda was the development of the Global Rail Technical Strategy Document (GRTS). The second draft document prepared by a small team of experts led by Ralph Mueller of Deutsche Bahn is structured around the core themes set out in the strategic documents issued by the UIC Regions and the European Rail Research Advisory Council ERRAC such as the Rail Technical Strategy Europe (RTSE), Strategic Rail Research and Innovation Agenda (SRRIA), Challenge 2050, Asia-Pacific Regional Strategy and the strategy paper of the African Region, Destination 2040. Recently, good progress has been made in the development of this important document which will possibly be presented during the next General Assembly in Paris.
As a logical next step and closely following the development of the GRTS is the work progressing to define the global research priority areas and related needs for global standardisation, a task ably led by IRRB vice-chairman Mr Andy Doherty of Network Rail. The aim is to base a number of future cross-regional studies and research and innovation cooperation projects on some of these common priority areas.
When dealing with research, scientific cooperation, information exchange etc, it is of great importance to know the location, capabilities and capacity of the scientific expertise needed to support the implementation of the Global Rail Technical Strategy and rail system innovation. Under the responsibility and driven by the enthusiasm of the vice-chairman Mr Jaroslav Grim of CD-VUZ – the research institute and test centre of the Czech Railways – and his team, much work has been carried out on the IRRB’s “World class research capacity plan” and related funding sources. During the meeting the latest developments were presented and agreed upon.
Another crucial part of the IRRB Strategy – Dissemination and exchange of knowledge & information – is being managed in a cross regional cooperation by the Australian and the Turkish vice-chairpersons, Mrs Vicky Brown of ACRI and Mr Guven Kandemir of Turkish State Railways (TCDD), who prepared a jointly developed presentation of their activities and planned next steps. This topic was supported during the meeting by the project manager of SPARK – the global rail research database for the UIC Research Portal – Mr Rob Curtis of RSSB, see www.railway-research.org. Members can find a wealth of research-related information and are also invited to upload their data.
Finally the state of affairs of the 2016 edition of the UIC Global Research & Innovation Awards was presented. About 60 submissions from all UIC regions have been received, about 20 of them competing for the Young Researchers Award. The Awards ceremony will take place on 2 December 2014 in Paris, linked to the UIC GA.
Unfortunately, UIC Director-General Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux was unable to attend this meeting. The reason for this was that on the same date the UIC had co-organised, in partnership with the United Nations, a High-Level Event dedicated to rail transport as a solution to climate change in New York. He had also been requested to participate in a number of important sessions during the UN Climate Summit and also representing our members at a special committee, as one of 12 people selected exclusively by UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon, to advise on global action to develop sustainable transport.
The next IRRB Plenary meeting is planned for 2 December in Paris.