European railways and industry, within the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programme (FP5/FP6), have focused on integrating and building-up their research resources and competences for strategic priorities of the rail sector vision. They benefited from the strengthening of the European research Area as clustered in the Railway Technology Platform – ERRAC (European Rail research Advisory Council). That has resulted in flag projects like MODTRAIN or EURNEX among others numerous and valuable EC-funded projects and initiatives. Some non-EU partners participated, but with limited impact. There is the need to bring railway international co-operation into a sustainable practice. GLOBAL VIEW Specific Support Action aimed to address this need.
GLOBAL VIEW was the first and thus the pioneer project of its type in the rail sector, fully funded by the International Cooperation Programme of European Commission. The major objectives of the project were to disseminate the results of selected EU projects carried out within the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programmes (FP5 and FP6) and to learn from similar projects of the international partners in order to identify needs and priorities for joint future international rail research projects, with a particular focus on the participation within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The objectives for the work performed during the project were as follows:
- Project coordination activities such as Project Coordination Meetings and frequent contacts with the regional project partners about their contributions to the project database as well as about the planning of the regional workshops, setting of the agenda for the workshops and the actual organisation thereof;
- Minutes of Project Kick-off Meeting;
- Minutes of Project Coordination Meetings;
- Setting up and upgrading of the Global View website and Communication Platform;
- Briefings on Political Framework for Rail Innovation in Europe and Emerging Railway Markets;
- Clustering Contact Data Base of International Rail Research Experts and Facilities;
- Programme for International Workshops in Russia;
- Programming and organising the International Workshop in India;
- Programming and organising the International Workshop in South Africa;
- Programming and organising the final concluding Workshop in Berlin;
- Preparing the different presentation on EU funded railway research projects for the regional workshops as well as for the concluding workshop. For this workshop, a series of presentations were given to the project partners as well as to other interested parties during the course of several days of the INNOTRANS exhibition.
The work carried out in the EC project Global View by the project partners was structured as follows:
- WP1 - Project Management and Steering Committee
- WP2 - The Global View Website
- WP3 - Programme for International Workshop s in Russia, India and South Africa and reporting
- WP4 - Concept for the On -site visit of Third Country Experts to Europe
- WP5 - Web-based Knowledge Management System
The three project partners worked closely together in organising the workshops and setting up the database with the three international partners, being VNIZHT from Russia RDSO from India and Transnet from South Africa.
The first workshop was held in Moscow, 20 –21 June 2007 along the industry exhibition supported by UNIFE and General Assembly of UIC held at the same time in Moscow.
The second workshop was organised in cooperation with the RDSO, the research institute of the Indian Railways and was held at the RSDO premises in Lucknow on 26 and 27 March 2008.
The 3rd and last regional workshop was organised in cooperation with Transnet, the biggest South African railway operator and was held on June 30 and July 1 2008 in Johannesburg in South Africa.
The subjects for the programme of the workshops differed per workshop and depended on the priorities of each region. More information was given in the Global View Periodic Activity Reports 1 and 2 and this information can also be found on the project's website.
The three workshops and technical visits held in Moscow, Lucknow and Johannesburg were quite successful. Besides learning from each other and discussion, many bilateral contacts were made for exchange of information and possible future research cooperation. Also – except for the Moscow workshop – at least a start was made to come to research priorities of the region. These research priorities were finalised in a later stadium of the project. However time prevented to compare all regions priorities and discuss them. This had to be limited to a 'paper' exercise. But, nevertheless, we arrived to these research priorities which could lead to common future research projects on a number of issues and problem we all have in common. On the other hand it also became clear that where for example in Europe we need much further technical development, other regions sometimes have systems in place, we only wish for. One of the reasons for this could be that the organisation of a railway system in a certain area is completely different from the way we handle this in Europe with the many borders and many different systems and the many different authorities with power of decision. Some regions have separate rail systems for freight and passenger transport, which also make quite a difference. Concluding we can say that there are a number of options for future research cooperation but also many issues where we can learn a lot from each other. Within the UIC – which is a global organization – we plan to organize a global research database for the railway undertakings. This issue came up recently in one of the meetings of the UIC IRRB (International Railway Research Board).
International Rail Research Contact Database
This activity concerned the clustering of the Contact Data of International Rail Research for the benefit of the database. Three especially designed questionnaires have been prepared during the project and sent out to the associated international partners. These are: Questionnaire 1 - Research projects and Researchers, Questionnaire 2 - Characterisation of Railway Sector General Questionnaire and Questionnaire 3 - Railway Infrastructure Management, Operators and Manufactures. Complete results of the questionnaires have been received from VNIIZhT (Russia) and RDSO (India). There were no results from South Africa despite many repeated requests and promises.
Finally, using the information that was made available, the International Rail Con