The railways and their staff are facing crucial changes that will determine the future of this important sector. These changes have implications on technological, demographic, structural, legal and regulatory domains.
FUTURAIL dealt with making railways a more competitive and innovative sector. Rail Transport is therefore striving to improve its attractiveness, and be an affordable, safe, clean, competitive and reliable transport mode. FUTURAIL is oriented towards the future. To be competitive, there is a need for training and education programmes to support this vision.
FUTURAIL focused on the developments of the sector. It matched demand and supply of the required skills and competencies. Rail transport is important in Europe. European rail needs to upgrade its knowledge, skills and competencies by attracting new talented and skilled staff to face the challenges of the sector.
Main objectives of FUTURAIL were the dissemination of social, economic and industrial benefits of education and research in the railway sector.
FUTURAIL's goal was to make railways a more competitive and innovative sector. The aim was to offer an even more attractive, affordable, safe, clean, competitive and reliable transport mode. To be competitive, the focus was on training and education programmes to support this vision. Demand and supply of the required skills and competencies need matching. Attracting new talented and skilled staff able to handle the challenges of the sector.
FUTURAIL relies on the experience and objectives of the EURNEX network, with its extensive data collection available in its knowledge centre. FUTURAIL transformed this material into valuable inputs, like:
- Disseminate the social, economic and industrial benefits of education and research in the railway sector and promote the idea that society needs advanced technologies and further education as applied to a highly innovative and technological developed sector.
- Identify and develop actions promoting and supporting women participation for the benefit of outstanding railway transports research.
FUTURAIL was managed in a decentralised way, yet keeping a high degree of transparency and accountability. This is possible due to the extensive experience of all partners in the previous research projects and platforms. The management was divided in two streams: a vertical one linking the overall project coordination with the WP leadership, and a horizontal stream ensuring the consistency of objectives between the work developed in all WPs.
Activities are concentrated in WP1 'Science, research and innovation: Dissemination', in WP2 'Mainstreaming Gender Balance as a resource for railway transports research' and WP3 'Railway and economics sector for the future'.
Operators and Industry share information and provide feedback to each other. However, there is insufficient information sharing and/or feedback with Training Programmes and Education Programmes. The FUTURAIL project closed this gap. The increase in competitiveness with other transport modes, requires mutual exchange of information. This results in training/education programmes to support the sector, thus matching the required human resources needs in order to make railways a more competitive and innovative sector.
The following processes have been set in motion:
- raise awareness of the on-going transformation process of railways, with the aim to contribute in changing the public image of railways;
- dissemination of good practices, to transmit/share knowledge and to motivate the present and future railway staff;
- demonstration and dissemination of advanced technologies in the future of railways;
- demonstration and dissemination of additional knowledge (i.e. economics, management, sociology) to complement engineering.
FUTURAIL makes the railways a more competitive and innovative sector. This is done by fostering a better match between human resources needs. To enable that, the necessary skills/expertises for future jobs have been identified, and have been communicated. Closer links between demand (railway industry, operators) and providers of academic education/training (i.e. Universities) have been promoted.
In this context, the project did not aim to develop new research. FUTURAIL focussed on developing a match between knowledge/expertise and needs, to make railways more competitive and innovative.
None, as the project did not aim at developing new research. The project focussed on matching knowledge/expertise with needs/requirements.
In the European railway system many individual railway companies run cross border train operations. They run this under their own responsibility, from origin to destination. To improve their overall service, railway companies are building alliances: within the railway sector, and with other transport modes. Major efforts are being developed, through research and development to implement uniform procedures have been implemented. Also standardisation and modularity, with the aim to provide conditions for repair and maintenance activities to be carried out everywhere in Europe.
Women represent today the majority of the European population (ratio: 105 women to 100 men for EU27, see EUROSTAT 2005 data). About 18 out of 1 000 men are graduated in science and technology, versus 8 out of 1 000 women. The share of women researchers in the railway transport field is roughly 15% (see EURNEX NoE). This is less than in other technological fields. The reasons for that are divers.
Gender balance in shaping the railways of tomorrow: this is more an opportunity than an issue. Attracting adequate human resources also implies exploring the added value of gender diversity and supporting women's participation. Therefore the FUTURAIL also focussed on:
- Identifying and developing actions to promote and support women's participation in railway transport research and railway industry;
- Disseminating the potential of gender diversity as an added value in research fields like: (a) greening of surface transports, (b) development of intelligent, sustainable and accessible mobility, (c) improvement of transports security, and (d) enhancement of railway transport competitiveness;
- Raising awareness of high skilled job opportunities for women in railway science, research and innovation. This is done through seminars, media, workshops and events organised in conjunction with relevant Work Packages;
- Disseminating best practices in promoting and supporting women participation in railway transport research.
By creating a better match between demand (rail industry, operators) and providers of academic education/training (i.e. Universities), the railway sector will become a more competitive transport system and a more innovative transport system. Therefore the necessary skills/expertises for future employees have been identified, and have been communicated.
Actions have been undertaken to to raise awareness of job opportunities in the railway sector. Especially women have been encouraged and supported to participate in railway science, research/innovation, seminars, etc. in order to pursue a 'gender balance'.
The necessary skills/expertises for future jobs have been identified, and have been communicated in order to tighten the (current) gap between demand and providers of future employees. Closer links between demand (rail industry, operators) and providers (i.e. Universities) have been promoted.