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‘GLOBAL VIEW’ bringing railway world closer together

The Specific Support Action GLOBAL VIEW is disseminating the results of selected EU projects and learning from similar projects in India, China and Russia, identifying needs and priorities for joint international rail research projects.

Russian rail transport
Russian rail transport

Under successive EU Research Framework Programmes, the European railway sector has focused on integrating its research resources and targeting strategic rail sector priorities. The European Technology Platform ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council) has played a key role in this process, elaborating its groundbreaking Strategic Research Agenda based on the ‘2020 Vision’ report. The result has been a new wave of flagship projects and initiatives such as MODTRAIN and EURNEX, with international partners beginning to contribute in more substantial ways.

More needed now

“We are seeing increasing participation in European research initiatives by non-European Union partners,” says EC project officer Susana Martins, “but so far they have had limited impact. There is a real need to develop a stronger and more sustainable process of international co-operation in the railway sector. GLOBAL VIEW is addressing this need.”

This pioneering project, she says, represents an important step in co-operation on railway research, bringing together international undertakings, the supply industry, rail operators and infrastructure managers, as well as academia. Initially, GLOBAL VIEW will focus on the dissemination of results of previous and ongoing research projects under the Union’s Fifth and Sixth Research Framework Programmes (P5 and FP6), including MODTRAIN, INNOTRACK, MODURBAN, INTEGRAIL, RAILENERGY, among others. This will then pave the way for more fruitful joint projects under FP7 (2007-2013).

“GLOBAL VIEW is targeting specific emerging regions relevant to European railway stakeholders, namely China, India and Russia,” explains Martins. “The end result will be a stronger and better integrated ‘International Railway Research Area’.”

Getting the rail word out

GLOBAL VIEW will mount a two-pronged dissemination campaign, including communication of FP5 and FP6 results and identification of needs and priorities for joint research under FP7. But GLOBAL VIEW is more than a dissemination action. It is expected to deliver immediate results on:

  • Cross-fertilisation between international rail researchers and industry, fostering more rapid two-way transfer of technologies and knowledge.
  • Increasing visibility of European technology solutions, aimed at wider acceptance of European standards and more rapid industry response to needs in emerging markets.

A new website and contact database will provide support tailored to the needs of specific countries. Some key issues have already been identified. In China, for example, signalling, long distance freight transport and the GALILEO satellite radionavigation system are all priorities. In India, infrastructure, signalling and GALILEO are of particular interest. In Russia, high-speed rail transport, safety, modularity and long distance freight are the key issues.

GLOBAL VIEW is an initiative of the worldwide International Union of Railways (UIC). It includes relevant European FP5 and FP6 partners from industry, represented by the Association of the European Railway Industries (UNIFE), and from academia, represented by the European Rail Research Network of Excellence (EURNEX). To implement GLOBAL VIEW, coordinator UIC have relied on local experts – in India, the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), in China, the Academy of Railway Sciences (CARS), and, in Russia, the Russian Railway Research Institute (VNIIZHT).

Into action

Specific GLOBAL VIEW actions are set to include three workshops in emerging markets. The first will be held in June 2007 in Moscow, in conjunction with a major industry exhibition supported by UNIFE, UIC and RailTech. The second workshop will be held in October 2007 in Beijing, within the framework of the EC-China Scientific and Research Days (CESTY). The third workshop will be held in New Delhi in February 2008 and will mark the 50th anniversary of India’s RSDO.

A final conference, featuring technical visits to European rail research sites, will be held in Brussels in autumn 2008. A very successful first GLOBAL VIEW meeting took place at UIC headquarters in Paris on 4 December 2006, underpinned by a strong European Commission presence and concluding with an agreement on short-term actions.