There is a new kid on the block. Amid the fanfare of last week's World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR), the Commission proudly displayed its latest web-service for raising the visibility of transport research solutions emerging from EU and national programmes.
With its specially designed ‘reporting scheme' encouraging the user community to contribute, this new web portal – aptly named the ‘Transport Research Knowledge Centre' – has set its sights on becoming a vital link between the major transport stakeholders in the European Research Area (ERA). It aims not only to raise awareness of the outputs of transport research at European and national levels, but also to show how these can be better used to shape European sustainable transport policy.
|European transport researchers find a new route to information and results|
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On the road, by rail, in the air and by water, the transport sector is a diverse and complex one affecting a huge range of people in professional, private and commercial settings. It is vitally important, especially for the enlarged Union, that Europe's whole transport system runs safely, smoothly, efficiently and sustainably. By supporting transport research projects, the EU helps maintain its high standard of transport which is a major driver of its much-envied high standard of living.
But, as the European Commission recognises by creating this new website, the vast knowledge being generated in this area is not always put to its best use. Lack of coordination between national research initiatives, overlapping research topics and poor diffusion of the end results are some of the difficulties that Member States – rallying under ERA's umbrella – have been working to overcome since the Lisbon Summit, in 2000, first called on Europe to become an economic powerhouse of knowledge.
Drive home the message
The Knowledge Centre, prepared for the Transport and Energy DG, was launched during the week-long WCTR, held this year in Istanbul, Turkey. The Commission, supported by a web-service management consortium called EXTR@Web, went to great lengths to involve senior policy-makers and stakeholders during the site's development in order to ensure their full commitment to the site once it went live, and to make sure it caters properly to the transport research community across the ERA's almost 30 member countries.
Among the tools and services provided by the portal to achieve this goal are a short list of forthcoming events, a searchable database of European and national projects with updates on their status, their mission and some analyses, a comprehensive glossary, as well as a ‘what's new' section which is currently promoting a new pan-European compendium of national transport research programmes.
It also helps those new to the EU domain learn more about European and national programmes, and to find information about research funding mechanisms related to transport within the ERA. Together with the family of transport research websites offered by the Research DG, including the Aeronautics Research, Sustainable Surface Transport Research and the European Space Policy sites, the Knowledge Centre drives home the message that, through better information sharing, the Union is determined to achieve its ERA ambitions.
EU and press sources