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EU and Russia sign Joint Statement on rail transport research co-operation

A ‘kick-off’ workshop on EU-Russia co-operation on rail transport research took place in Moscow on 20-22 April 2006. The result was a new ‘EU- Russian Railway Research Joint Statement’ and an ‘Action Plan’ aimed at establishing an operational platform for EU-Russian collaboration in this strategic transport arena.

Image of Russian trains

The groundbreaking event took place at the VNIIZhT test centre and OAO Railways, under the joint patronage of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Education and Science and the European Commission, Research Directorate General (DG RTD). The aim was to open the way for new co-operative initiatives between the principle European rail transport stakeholders and prominent Russian rail research institutes

Participants included members of European flagship projects under the EU’s Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6), and representatives European rail associations UIC, UNIFE and FAV, as well as the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC), and Russian railway research institutes VNIIZhT, VNIIAS and VNIKTI.

Who’s who in Russian rail research:

VNIIZhT – Russian Railway Research Institute
Contact: Alexander Kassay; mnt@vniitzht.ruexternal link

VNIIAS – National Research Development and Planning Institute for Railway Information Technology, Automation and Telecommunication
Contact: Dmitriy V. Schalyagin; nii@vniias.ruexternal link

VNIKTI – Russian Institute of Research, Design and Technological Studies in Railway Rolling Stock
Contact: V.S.Kossov;  sekretar@vnikti.ruexternal link

Luisa Prista with Russian colleagues
Luisa Prista with Russian colleagues

According to Luisa Prista of DG RTD, the specific aim of the workshop was to inform Russian rail researchers about important FP6 railway projects, including MODTRAIN, INTEGRAIL, INNOTRACK and EURNEX. They were also briefed on ERRAC and on identified priorities for FP7. About 25 Russian technical experts were present. Solid grounds for potential research

Possible topics for future co-operation were discussed, including:

  • Protecting the environment, with particular reference to the Kyoto Protocol and regulations on local emissions, noise and vibrations;
  • Measures to reduce energy consumption and the use of alternative energy sources;
  • Advanced construction materials;
  • Applying nanotechnologies to rail transport;
  • Safety and security, including particular risk analysis;
  • Regulation, standardisation and harmonisation of requirements for rolling stock and infrastructure;
  • Research for low cost infrastructure components and systems;
  • Freight transport and logistics;

Priorities for EU-Russia research co-operation under the upcoming Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) was also presented, and Russian experts also learned how they could contact and meet representatives of European organisations that coordinate EU projects of particular interest, with a view to possible ‘lateral entry’ into already existing FP6 projects.

Real progress made

The meeting was organised in response to an invitation by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Education and Science, requesting assist in exploring ways of promoting the participation of European and Russian Railway Research Institutes. The outcome was an operational and technical ‘EU-Russian Railway Research Joint Declaration’ and an ‘Action Plan’ between DG RTD and JSC ‘Russian Railways’, in line with the EU-Russia Co-operation Agreement of November 2000.

Also, ERRAC and VNIIZhT agreed on the need to develop a European-Russian rail research dialogue aimed at identifying more clearly areas of potential common interest within the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013).

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