Globalisation is accelerating, and this has an impact on the way we produce, share and use knowledge. Major global challenges such as climate change, energy supply, security of the citizen, etc., highlight the need for effective global S&T cooperation to promote sustainable development. Nowhere is this more important than in the area of Transportation R&D because an efficient and effective transport system is a fundamental prerequisite for economic growth. Furthermore,challenges transportation systems face such as congestion, security,energy efficiency and environmental problems are global concerns.
The HERMES project aims to develop a closer and more effective communication, between researchers working in the field of transport technologies in the EU, and their counterparts around the world by facilitating the exchange of information and developing a framework for long term collaboration. This will be achieved through the establishment of a common portal for accessing information from databases of past and ongoing research projects worldwide, in collaboration with database managers worldwide.
A second aspect of the HERMES project is to engage the major players in transport research worldwide and bring them together in round table discussions to address the obstacles and concerns that restrict closer international collaboration in transportation R&D and provide a list of recommendations that will allow the creation of a truly global transport research community.
This will be achieved through the establishment of a common portal for accessing information from databases of past and ongoing research projects worldwide, in collaboration with database managers worldwide.
As part of these activities HERMES will seek to obtain agreement for a harmonisation of database architectures, so that information can be accessed easily by researchers word-wide. The major benefits will be, a more efficient use of resources through avoidance of duplication of effort, flow of ideas so that lessons learnt in one region can be applied in another, encouragement of the incubation of innovative solutions to transport problems and identification of topics for future collaborative research.
International collaboration in transportation research
An EU team has undertaken a study of the factors inhibiting closer international collaboration in transportation research and as a first step in facilitating closer collaboration established a portal providing easy access to research databases in the field of transportation technology worldwide.
Transportation technologies are a key factor in economic growth and scientific advancement. International collaboration in the particular field may benefit from efficient systems allowing the free sharing of information, enhancing efficiency, speed of development and innovation.
Such was the goal of the EU-funded project 'Establishing a comprehensive transport research information management and exchange system' (http://hermes-project.net/ (HERMES)). The five-member project aimed to foster communication and collaboration between EU transportation researchers and their counterparts worldwide. Doing so required establishing a transportation research database portal, enabling easy access to information on past and current research conducted worldwide.
In addition, the group aimed to engage major research players in discussions about removing obstacles to international collaboration, and to suggest recommendations for activities and policies that would facilitate the development of truly international collaborative transportation research programs. The project ran between November 2011 and April 2014.
HERMES achieved its aim of creating an international database access portal by first compiling a list of relevant research databases from the EU and several other countries, and engaging in discussions on accessibility with managers of those databases. The workers faced and overcame numerous technical and other difficulties, eventually leading to the establishment of a test server. The project presented the portal in a live demonstration at the “HERMES Workshop on International Collaboration in Transport Research” in April 2013.
The researchers addressed the improvement of collaboration between related groups, including the EU-funded Transport Research & Innovation Portal (TRIP), the Japanese transport research database – Jstage with which an MoU has been signed and the United States-based Transportation Research Board's (TRB) TRID. The latter is an integrated database combining records from the TRB's Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) and OECD’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD).
Following the HERMES International workshop in 2013, the project identified numerous recommendations to facilitate international collaboration on transportation research. The team also undertook considerable dissemination work.
The http://www.intransport.eu (HERMES portal) will remain online for at least five years beyond the project's timeline, and the website will remain active for three years after project end.
The portal fosters international communication and networking among researchers, as it includes a researchers database aimed at creating a community of ideas exchange and networking between transportation researchers in all transport modes and industry.